Canada’s upcoming 700Mhz spectrum auction next year is an important one, probably more important than the 2008 auction that brought in over $4 billion for the Government. The reason is because this spectrum, which some call the “Cadillac” and “beachfront” spectrum, is cheaper to rollout and also provides a better experience as it can penetrate through thick walls within buildings.
Majority of all the carriers have spoken up about this anticipated auction, some are wanting it to be completely open, while others are requesting the Government to set aside a portion of the 700Mhz for the new entrants (WIND, Mobilicity, Videotron). Bell was very vocal during the Canadian Telecom Summit where President and CEO George Cope stated that an “Open auction ensures roll-out of rural and urban LTE”. Rogers on the other hand has taken to their dedicated LTE site, encouraging customers to sign an online petition, which would then be directed to their local politician:
“I respectfully urge you to allow free and open access to the 700-megahertz spectrum by allowing all companies to participate in the upcoming auction. Excluding any provider would only serve to slow down Canadian innovation, damaging our growing and vital digital economy. Worse yet, it would adversely impact Canadian consumers like me and the nine million Canadians who rely on Rogers for wireless services. LTE will offer us access to truly revolutionary wireless experiences, enriching our lives and growing our economy. Having an open auction will unleash the power of Canadian innovation; a closed auction will erect barriers to national growth. For these reasons, I ask you to support a fair and open auction for the 700 spectrum. It’s best for our economy. It’s best for Canada.”
Today, upon hearing the news of this Rogers petition, new entrant Mobilicity has spoken up again. They once called the Big 3 “squirrels preparing for a 50-year winter” on how they “hoard spectrum”, COO Stewart Lyons said that “The future of affordable wireless rates is at risk, not the future of long-term evolution (LTE) networks… Mobilicity has helped bring down the cost of wireless in Canada significantly and we need to augment our limited amount of spectrum to ensure affordable pricing continues. Big 3 wireless carriers have more spectrum than they need and will stop at nothing to dress up and misrepresent their hidden agenda of eliminating competition so they can raise their rates back up again”.
To solve this problem, Mobilicity stated in a press release that they’d like to see Rogers change the verbiage in the petition, creatively doing the work for them by inserting words such as “Don’t raise my rates”, “put consumers’ needs first” and ending it with “I want to see our country have competitive, fairly priced wireless services from companies that put consumers’ needs first”, “real value” and ending it up with “I ask you to support the growth of the new entrants by not allowing the incumbents to hijack the auction in order to shut out competition . It’s best for our economy. It’s best for Canada. After all, the incumbents already have more spectrum than any other operator anywhere in the world. How much is enough?”
The 700Mhz spectrum auction is expected to start late 2012.