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Canadian government to hold 700Mhz spectrum auction on November 19th, will reinforce domestic roaming agreements

christianparadis

Industry Minister, Christian Paradis, held a press conference early this morning to outline the series of events that will lead up to a November 19th auction for the highly-coveted 700Mhz spectrum. Already in use in the United States, the 700Mhz band will facilitate wireless signals that more easily penetrate walls and deliver faster speeds in rural areas.

Citing renewed need for a competitive marketplace, Paradis ensured that all Canadian provinces will have at least four companies for customers to choose from. Similarly, at least four companies per region will be able to bid on the sought-after spectrum in November thanks to new rules around foreign investment.

The Canadian government will redouble efforts, he said, to “reduce cellphone proliferation,” by ensuring incumbent providers share towers with new entrants; no Canadian should be left without a cellphone signal, regardless of where they are in the country. WIND and Mobilicity, two of recent entrants to the national stage, currently roam on Rogers’ 2G EDGE network when outside so-called “domestic home zones,” differentiating between those areas, usually in larger cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, and “domestic away” zones.

This announcement, and promises of “greater wireless coverage at lower rates for consumers,” according to the Minister, come after consultations and public hearings around a proposed “Wireless Code of Conduct.” The Code, the final draft of which has yet to be completed, argues for more accessible unlocking plans by the carriers, less penalties when cancelling a three-year contract — often lambasted as the longest in the world — and discounts for users who choose to bring their own phones.

When the auction begins in late November, there are expected to be more companies fighting over less spectrum than the 2008 AWS auction that raised $4 billion for the Canadian government. Estimates put the 700Mhz spectrum between $2.9 and $3.5 billion, with incumbents Rogers, Bell and TELUS making up the majority in most large markets. Companies like Quebecor, Eastlink, SaskTel, MTS, Mobilicity and WIND Mobile, many of which emerged from the 2008 auction, have launched regional or national wireless networks, but few of them, especially the latter two, don’t have enough spectrum to launch LTE. It’s likely, especially based on WIND Mobile’s parent company Orascom’s poor quarterly earnings, that there will be an “in-market merger” with a company like Mobilicity, largely seen as a necessity in a market unwelcoming to new entrants.

Source: Gov’t of Canada
Via: The Globe & Mail

  • Dr.Hugo

    Why wait until November , lets get it done now

    • Netguru

      The government has to give the carriers enough time to get their financing in place to make their bids.

    • Adam

      Common sense and financial know-how are not two things MS users are best known for.

    • Tom

      But let’s get the enforcement “done now” (as Hugo says). The gov’t says it doesn’t like that the incumbent haven’t abided by the rules on domestic roaming and tower sharing so they will enforce those rules for the new spectrum.

      How about enforcing those rules now.

    • Ontario Teacher

      We teachers need more money. Why is the Government wasting time on this nonsense.

    • aliwhatsit

      80 grand per year with 20 sick days and 3 months vacation not enough?

    • Ban 3yr Contracts FIRST!

      FIRST BAN 3yr contracts. That will bring up the Canadian Wireless industry on par with the rest of the world.

      Then we talk about more spectrum, insane rouaming fees, unlocking the phone for freen when people Buy the phones outright, and bringing foreign telcos ( it will make all of the above happen like in….3days! with ZERO $$ spent enforcing it by the CRTC)

  • ThurnisHaley

    Even though EastLink was very late to the game, at least they were smart enough to go with LTE off the bat.

    Orascom should just buy Mobilicity and repurpose their AWS spectrum for LTE.

  • Haxor99

    promises of “greater wireless coverage at lower rates for consumers,”

    BULL!

  • MBCrunch

    wasn’t this suppose to happen last year?

  • Jim Jones

    I’m starting to see a merger between Wind and Mobilicity more imminent. Additionally to all the people commenting on whether to stay or leave Wind based on acquiring LTE, you’ll have to wait 10 more months (good luck toughing it out), and even if they do deploy LTE it’ll likely be end of 2014/beginning of 2015. Wonder how many people will stick it out..

    But I see a merger between the two companies much sooner.

    • abc123

      I’ll stick it out. Even if Robellus matches Mobilicity’s or Wind’s current plans ($40 unlimited everything), I’ll probably keep the plan open because I know when those two go bankrupt, those Robellus plans will disappear and rates will go back up.

  • Arthur

    Ending the shameful 3 year contracts must be the top priority instead of selling more spectrum to milk Canadians (we are the only one in the world with the 3 year long contracts!).
    Interestingly that most countries even bad selling locked phones in addition to capping the early contract termination fees to somewhere $50.

    • comp22

      Actually spectrum is much more important than the the 3 year contract issue. Spectrum is the foundation for competition in Canada’s wireless market. If new entrants can’t secure appropriate spectrum they can’t offer competitive services. They are the ones offering better plans/rates and forcing down the prices of the Big 3. 3 year contracts are such a small issue relatively speaking. A more competitive market means that you don’t have to sign up to a 3 year contract because there are other options. Real competitive pressure will do away with 3 year contracts without even the need to regulate that.

    • steve k

      Shut up with your three year contracts. You can cancel the contract anytime by just paying off the phone balance (what you saved signing the contract). You’re going to be using service for longer then three years so who cares. 3 year contract complainers are laughable jokes.

  • speedbump

    to have true competition all towers/spectrum/equipment should be shared between all companies.

    funding should be use based and and instead of 4 companies having the same overlapping regions, they could easily afford to expand the regions of coverage

  • ughh

    “Paradis ensured that all Canadian provinces will have at least four companies for customers to choose from.”
    Yeah… the big three, and a single regional carrier per province. This changes nothing.

    What a joke. Even Clement wasn’t this clueless.

  • Hal

    Lets just hope that everyone can come together on what part of the 700mhz spectrum they will use. I don’t want to have to buy different phones for different suppliers and it would be really nice if we could roam on AT&T’s network when travelling in the US. The 700mhz spectrum is a confusing spectrum and needs to be done right which will require cooperation from everyone involved. That’s asking for a lot!

  • Reags

    Arthur what you fail to realize is that service provider is lease charging you the cost of a handset in that three year term. You can always purchase your phone retail. What you also fail to see is that were are also the only country with nation wide lte coverage. The united States is behind us. Canada continues to lead in wireless technology.

    • KeithH

      Reags writes “Arthur what you fail to realize is that service provider is lease charging you the cost of a handset in that three year term. ”

      That is true in most markets but not in Canada. If I try to take my own smart phone to Rogers, Bell, or Telus, I can’t get any appreciable discount on my data service. The plans in Canada are structured so as to penalize me for not trapping myself into a three year contract.

      Along the same topic, consider this: when I travel to Stockholm, I can wander into a corner store an get a sim card with time for about $20. I can then phone home to Canada for *less than half* what it costs to make a local cell call on a pay-as-you-go plan here.

      Any way you cut it, we’re being robbed in Canada.

  • The Spaniard

    I am with Wind. I will stick it out no matter what happens.
    Service is solid, speeds are from 5 to 10 Mbps. Why the hell would I jump ship for LTE speeds. I have a 100Mbps connection at home. I dont need it on my phone as well.
    Music, Pics, Websites, it all loads fast at 5Mbps. I dont need any more and any one who “needs” 25Mbps on a cell phone is probably quite mis informed as to what kind of BW they really need.

    The Spaniard
    IBM Network Engineer

    • T1MB0T

      LOL good luck windies. Looks like wind has come out again and said they will not bid! This time it is right from the owners mouth! I do wonder how the talks are going between Wind and Rogers. What I think is sad is how much kool aid you windidiots drank. Look at you all now.. out of money out classed and out of time.

    • OgtheDim

      You know T1MBOT, if I could find your source for that bit of stuff about the owner, it would be nice.

      But I can’t.

      Just like the other 8 times you’ve claimed this.

      Link please?

  • Tom

    Agree with the Spaniard – I rarely have a situation where 3G is not fast enough for me.

    Even at home, what matters is not the maximum speed – which is way more then I need even to stream video – but the minimum: those times when the network is busy and I can’t do the basics.

    Give me a reliable and consistent 3G connection over an inconsistent LTE or broadband connnection any day.

  • MrMastodonFarm

    The most exciting thing about LTE is it’s ability to reach further and penetrate thick walls. That’s the most exciting thing, I really don’t care about the speed at which I browse reddit.

  • filhul

    Ontario teacher, selling spectrum is a federal matter whereas your contract negotiations are a provincial one. Instead of crying about money maybee you yourself should go to school. I for one wouldnt want my child taught by someone that doesnt know the structure of their own damn government.

  • Tanooki

    I’m perfectly happy with my lowly 3G right now. I have a Nokia and the only app i use on the road is Nokia maps… which is entirely offline (you download the map). I check Hotmail email once in a while, but, i dont need 6G for that.

  • Curtis

    You should probably get off the big three shitty carriers then and go with someone like WIND. $30/mo for unlimited text, talk, and data with no contract.

    Did I mention you can get a Nexus 4 for $310 unlocked?

  • Curtis

    To the commenter talking about leaving WIND over LTE, are you serious? Who gives a s**t. 3G is PLENTY fast for browsing/YouTube videos. I don’t know what you do on your phone, but it’s definitely not worth $80+ a month and an a*s-raping 3 year contract to get better data speeds than 5mpbs.

  • george

    Few things. 1- 700 will be deployed late 2014, early 2015, no new entrant can survice till then unless they consolidate.
    2-Vimpelcom does not want to stay, they will sale to Robelus mid 2014 or get picked up this year by a big private equity firm.
    3- Mobilicity is on a their last leg…they wont pass June
    4- the only viable option is a merger of 3-4 new entrants (Wind/Mobi/PM) and that new entity goes for 700.
    5- Conservative have failed to make it a true competitive landscape
    6- Foreign providers dont see any valuable opportunity in Canada

  • David

    Spectrums should only be rented, not owned. No company should ever own public resources.

    • KeithH

      David writes: “Spectrums should only be rented, not owned.”

      That’s why they call it a “lease”. Additionally, spectrum is leased for specific applications and there are often terms applied which compell leasees to use the spectrum – hence the complaints about spectrum “squatting” levelled at Rogers in Canada.

  • Groagun

    I’m not confident the CRTC will do the right thing. I watched some the hearings over the wireless code of conduct and came away with one conclusion: The CRTC is playing both sides of the fence.

    What I mean is this, the CRTC is taking the position of being both consumer advocate and industry protector. I believe they can no longer play that game of fill that role. Be one or the other and as it’s a government organization, they simply need to be a consumer advocacy group with legislative powers.

    Now, they should not do harm too or create a negative business environment but trying to please both sides has simply left us, the customers and constituents, out in the cold.

  • rogue17

    “at least four companies per region”

    This looks like it will still be Rogers,Bell,Telus and Videotron in Quebec. Videotron is just as bad as the Big 3 if not worse. I beleive Videotron is worse.

  • jesse

    Also what’s the point of LTE if your cap for it is 5GB? You don’t need the extra speed for video streaming so the only benefit is to download things and with a cap at even 6-7Gb you can’t download much.

    For LTE to be attractive to me I’d need at the very least 10gb, its the same thing with the big three’s home internet what good is 150mbps if your cap is under 500GB a month.

    Hoping to see a merger with wind/mobilicity mostly for expanded coverage and better ability to purchase 700mhz nationwide.

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