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Spectrum Auction Caps Would Mean Wireless Competition Abandoned by Government

OTTAWA –The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) noted today that the rumoured structure of Canada’s 700 MHz wireless spectrum auction (capping wireless companies’ total spectrum) would be an abandonment of the Government’s commitment to improve competition in the wireless market. Spectrum was set aside for new entrants to bid on in the last auction and it is even more important to continue with set-asides in this key part of the available wireless spectrum, according to PIAC.

“Only set-asides can ensure new wireless companies can offer the latest handsets with wireless data, which are what consumers are demanding,” said John Lawford, counsel for PIAC, an Ottawa-based non-profit organization that provides legal representation, research and advocacy on behalf of consumers. “Caps do not solve the issue of dominance by the big three wireless carriers because Bell, TELUS and Rogers can afford to pay to keep all new competition out of their markets.”

PIAC made submissions to Industry Canada calling for set-asides to ensure competitive choice for Canadians in cellphone service. “The new entrants, WIND, Mobilicity, Public Mobile and Vidéotron are very concerned about the continued viability of their wireless service,” added Lawford, “the Government should see this red flag and change course if necessary to protect competition and choice for consumers in wireless.”
For more information:

John Lawford
Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre

(613) 562-4002×25
(613) 562-0007 (Fax)

jlawford@piac.ca

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