Update: Industry Canada denies TELUS’ spectrum license transfer, Mobilicity deal not moving forward

Daniel Bader

June 4, 2013 8:38 am

christianparadis

The Conservative government’s Industry Minister, Christian Paradis, has announced his intention to deny a license transfer request from TELUS to purchase Mobilicity’s AWS spectrum before the appointed due date.

In statement this morning, the Minister said, “Our government has been clear that spectrum set aside for new entrants was not intended to be transferred to incumbents. We will not waive this condition of licence and will not approve this, or any other, transfer of set-aside spectrum to an incumbent ahead of the five-year limit.”

During the 2008 spectrum auction, during which the government raised $4.25 billion, it was codified that no spectrum set aside for new entrants — those that would eventually form WIND Mobile, Mobilicity and Public Mobile — would be transferable for five years. This approbation expires in early 2014, but Paradis implied that a spectrum transfer of this nature — from a new entrant to an incumbent — would be disallowed indefinitely.

The move, ostensibly to ensure a competitive wireless market throughout the country, will be further clarified in the coming weeks, but the statement claims that “proposed spectrum transfers that result in undue spectrum concentration-and therefore diminish competition-will not be permitted. This policy will apply to all commercial mobile spectrum licences, including the 2008 AWS licences.”

As for the TELUS-Mobilicity deal, it looks dead — at least for now. There is no value to the country’s second-largest carrier in moving forward with the $380 million deal if the spectrum is not included.

We’ll wait to see what TELUS says later today, but without the company as a lifeline it looks like Mobilicity may have to voluntarily enter bankruptcy or go through with a major restructuring deal — if their debt holders allow it. Mobilicity is reportedly losing around $1.5 million every week, making for a seriously hard sell. Especially now.

Update: TELUS has issued the following statement on their proposed, but denied, acquisition of Mobilicity:

“Today’s decision is unfortunate for Mobilicity’s 250,000 customers, 150 employees and debtholders, who now face considerable uncertainty due to the pressing financial challenges facing the company. TELUS will drive on with our proven strategy that has served us so successfully over the years. We will continue to focus on our sustained investment in wireless infrastructure, broadband data services and putting our customers first.”

Source: Marketwire

  • lusky3

    Boom. Good to hear.

    • TrDxIt

      why would it be good to hear that Mobilicity will have to file for bankruptcy? They could instead say that the spectrum can be sold, but not transferred until 2014.

    • lusky3

      I’d rather have the spectrum not used and available for a future entrant than go to the Big 3.

    • alphs22

      And who exactly would come in after this?

      Like NotARogersEmployee pointed out, this is the gov’t telling any future foreign investors that if things don’t work out here in Canada, you can’t sell your spectrum to the 3 entities that would be most interested. Makes it a more risky proposition to any investor.

    • lusky3

      So you want to give the big 3 more power? That make sense. They should just close the market at make it illegal for any company except Bell, Rogers and Telus to exist in Canada.

    • alphs22

      Nice straw man. Where exactly did I say we should give the big 3 more power?

      Like I said, preventing the Mobi spectrum transfer is detrimental to the consumers because all it would do is discourage foreign investors from entering in the future.

    • lusky3

      Alright so let them buy it. Let all the spectrum be purchased by the Big 3. Now foreign investors can’t even enter if they want to. Doesn’t that discourage foreign investors?

    • Me Ted

      “Like I said, preventing the Mobi spectrum transfer is detrimental to the consumers because all it would do is discourage foreign investors from entering in the future.

      Nice red herring.

      Sorry. Not buying it. First of all, you have to actually open up the Canadian market to foreign investors before this even becomes a problem. I’m talking about the gov saying to the likes of T-Mobile for example: “We’re open for business. Make a bid.” Until then, it’s all smoke and mirrors and only furthers the incumbents’ agenda.

    • motivotto

      they have the subscribers to justify it don’t they? Just saying. When in a democracy did the minority always get so much preferential treatment and hand-holding?

    • jon campbell

      They can sell their spectrum, but not until at least 5 years have passed since it was purchased Mobilicity knew the rules when they purchased the spectrum. Changing the rules because they took a risk and havent been able to make a profit defeats the purpose of establishing the rules in the first place.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      Ottawa is letting Mobilicity die, that much is clear, you said so yourself. What “future entrant” would be interested in competing where they have to fight Ottawa, the CRTC, and the big 3?

    • lusky3

      Again, who cares if they do or don’t? Handing more power to the 3 is not the answer.

    • Me Ted

      I think you mean “what future DOMESTIC entrant”. There are plenty of foreign competitiors that could and would like to come in and mop up the place with all three. If only they were allowed to do so.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      I was responding to lusky3′s comment above where he specified “future entrant”.

    • jroc

      You are delusional if you think after this , someone else is going to want to swoop in and throw hunfreds of millions into spectrum. Grow up buddy, and try to grab some common sense while you’re at it.

    • lusky3

      Common sense dictates you don’t give more ammo to the enemy.

    • jroc

      The enemy? You are something else. How do you not realize that no one is going to want to invest in this market if there’s no chance they can recoup losses if/when the business begins to fails You would rather have spectrum sitting there, unused, because of some irrational hatred for an entity that probably did nothing to you. Like I said, grow up.

    • lusky3

      It was a metaphor. You allow the spectrum to be bought up by the big guys, there’s nothing left for anything else. All you are saying is you want the Big 3 to have the ability to buy all the spectrum. For what reason do you want to feed a monopoly market?

    • jroc

      Monopoly = 1. This is an oligopoly market. Now that your grade 10 business lesson is out of the way, let’s get to back into it. I am not saying I want the big 3 to buy it all…what I am saying is that no current new entrant can afford it, and no newer entrant is going to want to buy it after seeing this. I think it is pretty petty that you would rather see it go unused than see it put to work.

    • lusky3

      And I think it’s weird that you would want it used by the Big 3 to 100% block out the chance of that spectrum being used by another company, even if it’s a 1% chance that another entrant takes it, 1% is better than 0%.

    • Me Ted

      Seeing as you’ve already blown your load and in your fit of panty rage, completely neglected this little tidbit:

      ‘The move, ostensibly to ensure a competitive wireless market throughout
      the country, will be further clarified in the coming weeks, but the
      statement claims that “proposed spectrum transfers that result in undue
      spectrum concentration-and therefore diminish competition-will not be
      permitted. This policy will apply to all commercial mobile spectrum
      licences, including the 2008 AWS licences.”’

      The jury ain’t out on this yet so take a pill. They’re most likely looking into other options that may include allowing the sale to continue minus the spectrum; for now anyway.

    • jroc

      I don’t see where I was in a fit of rage, but, whatever you say boss. Everyone knows they want to spectrum, that’s the only valuable part of the company. While you may think the jury is still out, I think they reached a verdict on that a long time ago. No spectrum, no deal.

    • Stylinred

      Sale and transfer isn’t being denied what’s being denied is sale and transfer to the big 3 you forget there are other players

    • Jerrik Nordlee

      Your comment makes no sense. The big 3 are the enemy? How so? Because they’re profiting off of our business to them? How else are their employees going to live? You do realize that well over 100,000 people altogether work for these companies, right? If these 3 big companies end up going out of business (I know, it’ll never happen) then that’s a HUGE hit to the Canadian economy. I don’t understand how you can sit there and call the big 3 the enemy just because they profit off our bills. Sure, our bills could be cheaper. However, no matter what the prices are for our plans, people are still going to complain no matter what. Things cost money to operate. Grab some business sense.

    • lusky3

      They are not solely “profiting”. They are extorting. They are making back room deals to keep their prices high, their customer service lousy, and their pockets full. No one wants them out of business. Things do cost money to operate. But you shouldn’t be making billions (2.6b for Bell alone) in pure profit and still treat your clientèle like garbage. Or taking massive steps to circumvent laws to take over any competing companies and drive them out of business, instead of offering a better product or service. For the 3 TelCo, it’s not about the customer, but about the number of activations they get. Upgrades mean nothing. Work for one of the 3 even just 5 years ago and you’ll see how unimportant your fellow Canadian is in their eyes, although the new 3 forced them to smarten up. I have no problem with the Big 3 existing and making money. I have 2 Bell lines myself. It’s their practices that bother me. It’s the fact they charge $1.45 roaming on something that costs them $0.30, or a (<)$0.01 text message that they charge $0.15. Markup is fine and expected, but not by the over 100% margins the Big 3 use.

    • Jerrik Nordlee

      I can’t say much for Bell’s and Roger’s customer service but TELUS’ customer service is better; at least, in my opinion it is. The roaming charges that you’re speaking of are the same across the board because that’s what the big 3 agreed to with companies like AT&T.

    • Me Ted

      Nice rebuttal. You must be the brains of the outfit. Douchenozzlery at its finest.

    • Mark

      Companies often cry financial difficulty when they want to get government to approve a merger. They are in financial difficulty, that’s true. But there are other options. Now they actually have to do some hard work rather than find an easy buyout.

    • TrDxIt

      Ah, I guess that makes sense. Government bailout anyone?? lol

  • Mark

    Glad to see this. Glad to see the spectrum auction delayed too. It will give every one a chance to breath and reassess the market. If the Telus-Mobilicity deal went through then the possibility existed that the other new entrants would be gobbled up in the coming weeks. No doubt Rogers and Bell are equally disappointed this morning.

    I think ultimately if the new entrants are going to survive they will need to consolidate, but I hope that is with each other rather than the existing giants.

  • MBCrunch

    DE-NIED!

  • NotARogersEmployee

    While Ottawa verbally insists it wants competition in our wireless market, this action makes it even more difficult to take the plunge for foreign investors. The government is effectively saying, “Please invest hundreds of millions into Canada’s wireless market to spur competition! We’ll open the door, but you’re on your own once you walk through”. Ottawa dangled a carrot for these investors and left them out to dry for the past 5 years, why would anyone want to take such a gamble again?

    • Anonymous501

      What was the other option? Let the big 3 gobble up the spectrum. There would be 0 chance of competition if there wasn’t any available spectrum for upstarts.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      You’re oversimplifying a complicated situation and forgetting that Canada is trying to generate more competition with the 700 Mhz auction. Stop trying to make it so black and white.

      Ottawa’s decision today makes the Canadian wireless landscape look very unfriendly and reluctant investors will remain so after this.

      I understand your question was rhetorical, however, the other option was to take a short term loss (Telus getting the AWS spectrum) for a long term gain (investor confidence in the upcoming 700 Mhz auction).

    • Anonymous501

      I disagree. If the only way to make it look more friendly is to give new telco’s a comfort blanket which says “If all else fails you can sell your spectrum to to the big 3 when you’ve failed?”

      I still think the CRTC did the right think. Certain parts of the spectrum should be reserved for startups. If the startups can sell that spectrum to the big 3 after a short period of time, then it defeats the purpose.

      You might also start getting investment that comes in, tries to get the spectrum, just to sit on it, and resell it 5 years later.

      Maybe the government could try other methods like setting aside spectrum and selling it at a discount to new entrants.

      Allowing the big 3 to continually absorb all the spectrum isn’t a good idea.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      I’ll respond to each of your points individually:

      1. I don’t understand your first paragraph.

      2. The CRTC had nothing to do with anything here, nor were they responsible for the set-aside in 2008.

      3. There are plenty of rules in the auction to prevent this, including a minimum % of the Canadian population that must have wireless coverage from you in the region you purchased.

      4. This is exactly what they did in 2008. An auction where you don’t compete with the big 3 gets you spectrum at a discount.

      5. I agree with this statement, which is why I disagree with the decision to block the acquisition.

      Your argument starts off very weak when your sentences start with “I still think…”, “You might….”, and “Maybe…”.

      What you don’t realize is we’re on the same team, and yet you are disagreeing with me with your uninformed opinions.

  • Louis

    Great decision, Mobi will not disappear , someone will pick them up for 150M …. Within 4 months Wind/Mobi/Public will be one entity

    • very depressing

      What kind dream land are you people living in?

    • Mark

      The one Ottawa has been strategically working toward for a number of years. The whole point of this is to have a 4th national player. The big 3 gobbling up the little guys doesn’t accomplish that.

  • very depressing

    This is terrible for business.

  • Brett

    thumbs up for Industry Canada to prevent monopoly by Big 3!

    • jroc

      Really? Thumbs up to them for essentially forcing mobilicity into bankruptcy? No matter which way you look at it, that company will probably not exist in the not too distant future.
      So ya, thumbs up for showing foreign investors that they can’t recoup/mitigate losses if their investment is failing! Yay!!

    • Mark

      You’re gullible if you believed Mobilicity’s merger-or-bust PR ramblings. Every company seeking regulatory approval trots out those old excuses. There are always other alternatives. Ottawa sent a firm message that they didn’t fall for it, nor bow to the lobby of the big 3. The message is that they need to find other options for survival rather than let the big players buy their way out of competitive markets.

    • jroc

      I guess we will see, eh? Everyone knows that they are losing money hand over fist.

    • Mark

      Hey, maybe they will. Bankruptcy IS often a viable business alternative that allows a company to SURVIVE and fight another day. They come out clean and restructured and ready for a new start. Wind/Public picking at Mobilicity’s carcass is better for Canada than Ottawa letting competition die.

    • jroc

      If they can afford it, I’m all for it.

    • Me Ted

      They’ll just have to look for another buyer that doesn’t happen to be one of the big 3.

    • Me Ted

      Wow jroc. You post so much on here I’d say that you have a vested interetest in this deal going through, unaltered.

    • jroc

      Says the guy commenting on all my posts…And for the record, I don’t have a vested interest in it going through. I sold my telus shares after the stock split.

  • iPhone’s Bro

    Looks like Mobi’s investors lost out big time.

    Mobi will have to enter bankruptcy as no one is willing to buy them. This will also hurt Wind’s investment prospects as no one will want to invest knowing that it will be hard to get a return from them.

    • Me Ted

      Not true at all. Find another buyer and ask the gov to relax foreign investment restrictions.

    • Stephen

      Poor millionaires :(

  • Josh Brown

    What wind needs more than aws is some low end spectrum like 700 or 900 mhz. They should have worked in some kind of trade.

  • silver_arrow

    Damn this is a good week for Canadian consumers and it’s only Tuesday. The government effectively got rid of three year contracts and they are letting Mobilicity live.

    • lusky3

      They aren’t letting them live. They are letting them die in a fire. But they are protecting the spectrum.

    • Mark

      “They are letting them die in a fire”

      Not necessarily. There are other options. Bankruptcy itself is an option. I’d argue that the death of a new entrant was the intended consequence of opening up the market anyway.

      Ottawa didn’t intent for there to be half a dozen viable providers. I think that idea is a little impractical. They wanted several to compete and one to rise to the top. The development of an industry is like evolution: the strong survive, the weak don’t. Ottawa is either giving Mobilicity a chance or prevent the the biggest three predators from being the ones to rip the flesh from its bones. They’re also signaling that Bell and Rogers don’t get to do the same to Wind/Public in the next 72 hours.

    • alphs22

      Letting Mobilicity live?

      Mobilicity is over $450m in debt and losing $30m a month. If not sold it’s going to go down under. A company going bankrupt is good for the consumer?

      Like NotARogersEmployee pointed out below, the gov’t is basically telling foreign investors not to come here.

    • jroc

      Although I agree with most of your post, $1.5mm a week doesn’t exactly equate to $30mm a month.

    • alphs22

      Apparently I can’t post links without being moderated.

      Anyway, I got my numbers from a Financial Post article Dated May 23.

      “Mobilicity, which is known formally as Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Holdings Inc., is at least $450-million in debt and losing $30-million a month, according to court documents.”

    • jroc

      Fair enough, just going by what is stated in this article as that is what most people will refer to for info.

    • alphs22

      Good call. I didn’t even realize the article quoted their monthly losses, but that is some huge discrepancy there.

    • Swordfish

      But as has been pointed out already, how would foreign investors ever be able to come here is the big 3 owned all the spectrum? It’s dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.
      If you remember, when the spectrum all went on sale, the government reserved a portion for new investment. If they simply allowed the big 3 to buy it up, wouldn’t the goverment then have to admit its plan failed? Don’t think that’s going to happen.

  • Buttocks

    All of this just delays the inevitable. Mobilicity is losing too much money per week and is losing new subscribers weekly due to this news. The same is happening to Wind as well as more people become informed that these two companies are looking to be bought. Would you buy product for a company on the verge of being bought out? What kind of support would you get once you are subscribed?

    At the moment, this is a very unstable market with more subscribers leaning towards the discounted brands from the Big 3 rather than the 3 new entrants. At the end of the day, if you are an existing subscriber to Wind, Mobilicity, or Public Mobile, you will be alright but the feeling of new subscribers is being very heavily swayed. Combine that with lower signal quality, speeds, and a very high phone purchase it makes it hard.

    I’m not for the Big 3 but I’m just speaking on realistics.

  • DangerMan

    So what does this imply for the Telus/Shaw & Rogers/Videotron spectrum deals?

    • silver_arrow

      Nothing. Shaw backed out and i think that was OK. Rogers and videotron they are just sharing none of them are going to buy the other in the immediate future

    • Accophox

      Rogers has an agreement with Shaw for “first-purchase” rights to their unused AWS spectrum for a cool $50M. Under the current government, if what this article is saying is true, there’s no way that this spectrum transfer will be allowed in 2014.

    • Carl Hall

      not that, the government is saying they won’t shorten the 5 year wait on the licenses (which expires in 2014), so the shaw purchase is going through next year

    • Accophox

      “Going forward, **proposed spectrum transfers that result in undue spectrum concentration-and therefore diminish competition-will not be permitted**. This policy will apply to all commercial mobile spectrum licences, including the 2008 AWS licences.” — Christian Paradis, press release regarding the denial of Mobilicity/Telus spectrum transfer.

      Most relevant part starred – the Rogers purchase of Shaw spectrum isn’t going through. Ever.

  • Mark

    To an extent I agree. There is value in eliminating competition. This move by Telus was like dipping its toe in the water. If this was approved then Bell and Roger would also swoop in and buy up the others. Competition would be eliminated, and any overpayment made by the big 3 would be made up when they increased prices.

    This had to be done.

    • ToniCipriani

      But it seems like as long as we still have those rules around, we’re screwed either way, merger allowed or otherwise.

  • IJustGotaTan

    This will just make Wind and Mobilicity go back to merger talks again and Wind will end up getting a better deal than last time. Wind will be a stronger 4th national carrier after all this.

    • kls75@hotmail.com

      Why would Wind want these guys. they already haev freq and towers in the same area. They need to expand their coverage not add more towers to their exsting area

    • IJustGotaTan

      Its the spectrum that’s of value. The towers would also help augment Wind’s network and especially help their slow data speeds.

    • deltatux

      That’s not entirely true, WIND needs to densify their network at the same time that they’re expanding. There’s still a lot of dead spots in their current zones. They shouldn’t expand faster than they can densify.

    • Me Ted

      Precisely. Finally someone who doesn’t have stock in Telus, also known as a voice of reason.

  • mr javier

    honestly the gov should buy that spectrum back and start its own network and lease that out to a new entrant. this would make the tax payers money go to work and create jobs and keep the spectrum in the hands of the people who actually use it.

    • Ajanu

      Public utilities?? Some people will hate you for saying that, but I really with all cable and phone lines were public so we could have real competition in this country. If the government owned the spectrum it would set a hard floor on the price, no more firesale deals to get your company off the ground but would certainly help keep costs to the lowest possible.

    • mr javier

      i could really care less what hate i get for saying that at this point. i mean what other options are there at this point? the incumbents are so well dug in the only ppl who can do anything and should be doing something is the the government. we don’t need more regulation in favour of incumbent interests anymore we need the government to step in and do what the people ask and want and if some new player cannot do it alone the government should help with that at all costs.

    • kls75@hotmail.com

      Do have an yidea of the cost of that. The govt cant afford that. Add to that how govt overspends on everything an nothing works right then that would be a tremendous waste of my tax dollars all to save $5-$10 on my cell bill. My taxes would go up much more than that

    • mr javier

      at the amount of money the incumbents make on these networks i would have to disagree. would you rather pay 800% more then the rest of the world for telecom, broadcast and internet services compared to teh rest of the world every single month? think about it. i mean the network does not need to be operated by the feds but if it controlled it that would definitely set the bar on the playing field.

    • Philosoraptor

      Public funds helped build the infrastructure.

      I don’t want a public wireless provider. I’ve seen them in Europe and they’re usually the worst option. But, I’d love for the spectrum to be owned by us, the taxpayers. Isn’t it our air? Then, have the telcos rent it.

    • mr javier

      that is exactly what i am saying.
      we already owned the airwaves. we have companies who want to help us with competition. so why the hell are we making hard for them to do just that?

  • heyman

    An oligopoly means there are market inefficiencies, and whenever there are market inefficiencies, there is opportunity for profit to be made, and more competition will enter. If the big 3 purchase the remaining spectrum we will NEVER EVER have a 4th “competitor” as the government promised. Why would they go against what they just said? There will always be another startup willing to try and wedge their way into the market if there is spectrum available.

    • jroc

      That is not correct, sorry. Oligopolies imply a high barrier to entry (check), small hand full of competitors (check), can lead to collusion (check), and non-price competition (check). The fact of the matter is that it is too hard for companies to come in an make a dent at this point.

    • heyman

      Go to school bud. Anything BUT perfect competition implies there are market inefficiencies. All the checks you just listed are market failures which have led to/are a result of the inefficiency in the cellphone market.

    • jroc

      Go to school…good one “bud”, I’m a CA/CBV that works in M&A (feel free to look those up chump).

      So these inefficiencies you speak of, that’s what’s driving the competition to enter, right? That’s why we have so many people beating down the doors to get into the market. Or, could it be that the oligopoly is so strong it’s causing mobilicity to look for a buyer, and wind to reportedly look for one as well?

    • Philosoraptor

      I love internet credentials. And “professionals” that call others “chumps”.

    • Guest

      Feel free to meet me at FCP for lunch today, we can discuss my “internet” credentials.

    • Philosoraptor

      Why is the word internet in quotation marks? Are we not really online?

    • heyman

      He’s trolling. The guy doesn’t even have microeconomics 101 under his belt which is evident. Internet credentials + I know a few CA, CFA, CGA (some are even close friends) and a lot of them can’t think for themselves or see the forest for the trees.

    • jroc

      You got me! Back to work as a janitor I go.

    • heyman

      I obviously did. You don’t even understand simple concepts that you would’ve learned first year undergrad.

    • Me Ted

      No. It’s too hard for smaller startups to try and compete. Players like Verizon and AT&T, whose subscriber bases are 2-3 times the population of Canada, could easily compete especially if any of them were to simply swoop in and buy up both Mobilicity and Wind for their pocket lint. But that can’t happen. Wanna know why? Because they aren’t permitted to do so. How’s that for a punch to the balls. Brutal.

    • jroc

      I agree, the reality of the situation is that is the only way we would see true competition. These smaller players can’t do it because the regulations were in favour of the big three for far too long.

  • lusky3

    You let this go through and they can’t invest to even being with. And they aren’t stopping a buyout like you keep saying. They are stopping the spectrum sale. I’m sure Telus will be allowed to purchase Mobi’s assets and employees to take them out of debt, but we all know what Telus really wants. And the fact that you’ve dropped down to personal attacks makes my point that much more valid.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      The AWS spectrum that is up in question runs on the 1700 Mhz+ band. The point that jroc and alphs22 are making in regards to investment, speak to the 700 Mhz spectrum auction in January. We’re saying that Ottawa could have let this AWS spectrum be sold (as an exit plan for the failed new entrants) to make investors feel safer in joining in January’s auction so we could see long-term competition in the next 5 years or so. A small loss for a long term gain. Ottawa did not do this and has now deterred investors from joining the 700 Mhz auction. I hope this makes sense.

      Also, you’re right, Mobi’s assets and employees can be sold, but that will not take them out of debt. Mobilicity must look like poison to Telus now as the spectrum was their most (and maybe only) valuable asset.

    • jroc

      It really doesn’t make your point more valid, at all. Everyone knows what they want, you’re correct in saying that. They do not care about their assets or employees. You just can’t seem to wrap your head around the fact that no one is going to want to invest if there isn’t a viable exit strategy for them.

    • lusky3

      Their exit strategy was to merge with Wind and Public earlier on. Mobilicity’s downfall was their lack of coverage. And I get what you are saying, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think it’s a viable reason to block out competition by selling all spectrum to Bell/Telus/Rogers.

    • jroc

      Nor do I want that to happen, trust me.

    • PAmos

      You are on some serious drugs if you think that Mobilicity’s 250k customers (ARPU of approx. $25) and “handful” of employees are worth $380,000,000. Mobilicity’s value is in the spectrum they hold, not their customers.

      Let’s face facts, the government turned a blind eye to a lot of things to let Wind get up an running, and I’m sure if T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Vodaphone, or any other major carrier wanted in the government would bend the rules again. Heck they’ve already announced they’re going to lift the foreign ownership restrictions.

      Do you really think if there was a foreign company ready to jump in they wouldn’t give them the “pass” on the restriction to let them in early? Also, where were all these “knights in shining armour” for the last auction? Reality is that most of them (if not all of them) aren’t interested in setting up shop in Canada, because at the end of the day whatever company they setup needs to be a profit generator, not a siphon on the mothercorp’s wallet.

  • hardy83

    This is “competition” in the eyes of the Conservative party.

    Make some hokey half-arsed rules and auctions to make it seem like there’s competition when in reality the underlying problems with the industry all but completely kill of any valid competition from taking place.

    Until the fundamental flaws of the Canadian telecommunications industry is fixed (cough cough the telecom act), this country will NEVER have good internet or wireless that competes at a global level.

  • Swordfish

    Are you kidding? Telus would have laid all of these people off once they had control of the spectrum. That was all Telus wanted in this deal.

    • ToniCipriani

      Sarcasm, my friend. Sarcasm. Granted a /s would’ve worked better than the :P.

    • ToniCipriani

      Word of advice, don’t take everything on the Internet so seriously. Will stay a happier person.

  • jmasterfunk

    With that same reasoning, should Rogers be prohibited from acquiring the Shaw spectrum, too?

  • pvanb

    I guess now we’ll see how much Telus really cares about those 150 employees.

  • magesnz

    I just had a thought?, if mobilicity, wind and public mobile merge, the entity has a 1900mhz network and an aws network? so they could use their 1900mhz network to create a national network and aws for city overflow ? maybe?

    • p_lindsay

      I think that’s the only chance we have. I doubt a merger would happen though, I think someone would have to come in and buy all of the small companies and turn them into 1.

    • Carl Hall

      public doesnt have much 1900 mhz spectrum only Quebec city to Windsor corridor

    • magesnz

      they could still use it in the quebec windsor corridor to be able to have a network in quebec and ontario outside the major core cities?

    • Carl Hall

      not really, most AWS phones don’t support the 1900 band, it would be pointless

    • Carl Hall

      Wind has everything but southern quebec, adding the G band wouldn’t give any benefit to Ontario

  • Bryan Hamon

    There are positive and negatives to look at. Yes Telus won’t get to suck up one of the smaller players and make us one step closer to going back to the Big 3 but then again if Mobilicity’s only option is bankruptcy then where else does that leave things.

    I’ve always thought that if any of the new entrants came into trouble there should be a merger between the new entrants. I personally think that Videotron should buy them up. Quebecor has the money and it would give them expansion outside of Quebec and could cut the costs involved with roaming agreements they have to sign now to give customers service outside of Quebec.

    I know this is not a likely scenario because I don’t think the Quebecor has the want to expand into the rest of Canada. At least I’d be able to have service outside of Quebec that I didn’t have to pay for :)

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    I am glad this did not happen now Wind can buy them

  • beyond

    YEAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eat spectrum, Telus.

    • deltatux

      Ummm… that’s exactly what TELUS wanted…

    • beyond

      ooops, sorry I mean… PUKE Spectrum Telus!!!!!!!!!!!

  • neodoru

    Best news I’ve heard regarding mobile industry in Canada! I’m really surprised!

  • CADDMan71

    If the government was so serious about creating competition in the cellular industry they should not use the same model that the NHL uses to find owners. IMHO the only new carrier that would have had any long-term success was Shaw, but they pulled out less than a year after they starting building their network in the west. Wind & Mobilicity were both so poorly run from the get go that it’s amazing that they’re still around today. If they were to combine their efforts (which many Kool-Aid drinkers here have suggested) they would be simply creating a single company that would have debts nearing, if not already well above, a $1Billion which show no sign of being paid off ANYTIME soon.

  • Khristopher Ranger

    I would really like to see Wind buy Mobilicity!

  • Liberal Phone Person

    My hope: mobilicity declares bankruptcy. large corporation scoops up wind and mobi at a discount, merges the two carriers (and their spectrum) into a fourth national player. Uses extra AWS spectrum to create an AWS-HSPA and AWS-LTE network.

  • ginobili1

    Another great step from the Gov’t and another win for the consumer.

  • Anonymous501

    I think this is a good thing. There is a limited amount of spectrum. Certain parts were reserved in order foster competition. Allowing the big three to absorb the spectrum would wipe out the ability of new players to try again down the road?

    I don’t think mobilicity going bankrupt is a good enough excuse to let Telus buy it. If mobilicity does go bankrupt, then allow the spectrum to return to the government, so another startup can take a try (or maybe an existing startup can expand).

    It would seem the Canada doesn’t have enough room for 6 or 7 cell phone providers, but I think we have room for more than 3. Maybe a 4th company (Wind) or a new startup can consolidate all the remaining spectrum and take a shot.

    I was completely against letting Telus buy it. Letting any of the big three buy it would competely prevent anyone from taking another shot in the future.

  • undino

    TLDR all the extensive debate people are having about letting mobilicity die. Whats bad about mobilicity dying is that it is a minor deterrent for foreign investors to spend money in such a fortified telco market. If new entrants cant survive in such a short 2-3 year life time foreign investors are unlikely going to invest. What’s good about Ottawa willing to let mobility die is that they DO mean to promote for competition, so that does help in a sense to get people interested.

    if mobilicity bankrupts, thats 250k subscribers that new entrants like wind could or will likely pick up (since the phones are compatible) and that does help to build a stronger 4th carrier. But thats if wind can survive in the first place, they are pretty much withering away.

    • Xfour00

      foreign telecoms find it near impossible to prosper in canada because the big 3 have a stranglehold on the market and spectrum what needs to happen is for the government to break up the big 3 and allow foreign companies a level playing field

    • undino

      I agree, but we should also consider that allowing investments from foreign companies is really meant to stimulate competition in the market. Leveling the market for foreigners will divert capital out of Canada (when it becomes profitable), so it will not be what Ottawa wants.

      I think the only way to really break the stranglehold the big3 has on canadians, is for canadians to limit their reliance on those 3 companies.

  • Willy

    Great news! Now, Wind Mobile, do something.

  • Outspoken

    Now this leaves the opprotunity for Wind and Moblicity to merge

  • PT

    My hat is off to you sir. Finally that someone who has the ball to said NO to Robelus.

    • Carl Hall

      Clement did too….he gave Wind the chance to operate

  • asianz

    I think government should take over it if it goes bankrupt.

  • EvanKrosney

    Imagine, we could have the Big 4: Rogers, Telus, Bell and WIND. Except people would actually like WIND, and they could drive prices lower and bring more competition to the Canadian landscape.

    WIND needs to gobble up Mobi, Vimplecom clearly has the funds necessary. Gaining more spectrum would mean more expansion, better coverage and speeds, and less whining from their customers about spotty service.

    This could finally mean that we’ll finally get a fourth choice viable for all Canadians. And while there are other solutions that I may have preferred (ie: government owned spectrum, but tough luck getting that with the Cons), this isn’t too bad.