OTTAWA – Industry Canada’s announcement today of the upcoming auction of “AWS-3” spectrum with rules requiring a large “set aside” for new entrant wireless companies is good news for consumers, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC).
Canada’s “big three” cellphone companies, Bell Mobility, TELUS Mobility and Rogers already control more than 90% of the retail cellphone market and 90% of Canada’s spectrum and have moved aggressively to foreclose the possibility of a fourth national wireless competitor. However, today’s announcement means competitors can acquire spectrum and offer competitive services – especially superfast “LTE” data service – to more Canadians once the auction is completed, late this year or early in 2015.
“Wireless competition is lacking in Canada,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC. “The set-aside of AWS-3 spectrum provides an on-ramp for competitors to get on the wireless data highway with smartphones” he added.
“New entrants” are defined for this auction as wireless carriers with less than 10 percent national and 20 percent provincial/territorial wireless subscriber market share. In addition, these companies will have to be actually offering wireless service to Canadians in areas they wish to bid on in the auction. This means companies such as WIND Mobile, Mobilicity, and regional carriers such as Videotron (outside of Quebec) will be able to bid on the set-aside where they already have committed by providing service.
“Canadians are waiting for a fourth national wireless company,” said Bruce Cran, President of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. Added Cran: “Prices won’t fall and wireless competition will not really work until Canadians have another choice.”
For more information:
John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×25
Bruce Cran
Consumers’ Association of Canada
(604) 418-8359