Industry Minister says ‘A dynamic mix of Canadian companies are competing in the 700 MHz auction’

Ian Hardy

January 14, 2014 11:12 am

As you know, today marks the beginning of the 700 MHz wireless spectrum auction. The government’s goal is to bring wireless carriers and Canadians “improved, high-speed wireless services on the latest technologies” by using the spectrum to enhance LTE performance on existing networks and, perhaps, build infrastructure for new ones.

James Moore, Canada’s Industry Minister, says his government has been clear in their mandate to bring “more choice, lower prices and better service in the wireless sector.” As stated before, today marks the start of the auction and “no further information on the auction’s progress will be publicly released until after the auction is over.” Estimations are that the auction could last between several weeks to a couple months, depending on the bidder activity.

In total, there are 10 bidders, which Moore states are a “dynamic mix of Canadian companies.” Bell Mobility, Eastlink Wireless, Feenix Wireless, MTS, Novus Wireless, Rogers, SaskTel, Tbaytel, TELUS and Videotron are deciding our wireless future. But originally, 15 bidders qualified, and recently WIND Mobile, Catalyst Capital, and Birch Hill dropped out, mainly due to lack of available financing.

Moore said in a press release this morning, “The 700 MHz spectrum auction is an important milestone for Canada. Soon, this high-quality spectrum will be accessible to Canadian consumers for use on the latest smartphones and tablets. The rules for this auction were designed to support more choice in our wireless market while putting the interests of consumers first.”

His government has also scheduled the 2500 MHz spectrum auction to begin on April 14th, 2015.

Source: IC

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    Losing wind now where do people go the big 3 I’d rather go back to land line

    • Jason

      Do you guys agree that you cannot expect unlimited everything and expect to pay $30 a month. To me it makes sense but to the average Wind subscriber/ government it does not. And now you wonder why Wind does not want to/ cannot afford invest in the 700 mHz

    • Super_Deluxe

      They can but not at that price. I’d still pay 50-60 for unlimited everything and a good coverage. Most people tend to forget the amount of fees that come with running a Telco. It’s not a problem to the big 3 because they make a good amount of revenue and not just from wireless. It’s like getting a massive head start in a race and then expecting to catch up but your competition isn’t slowing down at all. Wind is great and it’s just their coverage that’s hurting them a lot which I can understand since they don’t have the amount of capital the big 3 have to throw at expanding and upgrading their towers. The government should’ve excluded the Big 3 from this action because it’s unfair to the younger Telcos, it should’ve been new entrants only so they can catch up a little more with the big 3 because we all know that the big 3 will end up swooping all or most of that spectrum which will continue to hurt any type of competition in Canada.

    • Delphus

      The only problem with excluding the big Telcos is that then the smaller players are just playing catch up and you don’t actually develop the network, leaving the country in a technological backwater because the small players won’t have any capital for R&D and advanced solutions….

    • Jason

      And the government would lose billions in revenue (from auction proceeds, R & D and expansion) and consequently thousands of jobs.

    • Super_Deluxe

      If they don’t use the spectrum then by all means take it away from them but I’m assuming they will and have more capital or borrow more money for R&D and advanced solutions.

    • ScooterinAB

      Why would successful companies, who can afford to buy the spectrum license and deploy it, and who have some 90% of Canadian business, hurt Canada? Why should successful carriers be punished because Wind doesn’t have any money? And why should the vast majority of Canadians be punished because they chose carriers who can actually provide the services they are advertising, instead of choosing a carrier who’s parent company doesn’t want to operate here?

      Wind is failing because they have no money. Period. This isn’t about David vs. Goliath. It’s about a company that has no money looking for handouts, and a minority of Canadians supporting such reckless and immature actions. The actions of Industry Canada and the PC government, if they continue to try and micro-manage the wireless industry, risks damaging the Canadian investment portfolio and making Canada an undesirable destination for tech investment and development. Such damage could also move through every other industry in Canada like a flash fire due to a lack of confidence in our government and it’s likelihood of meddling in everything.

      Unlimited everything at no price is never a reality. It’s never something we are going to see and it’s not something that we deserve. Excessive data use impacts the network, causing dropped calls and reducing data speeds and reliability. Wind already knows this and Videotron will learn it very quickly. Unlimited data isn’t sustainable, nor are rock bottom prices. Just because you are mad about it isn’t going to make it a reality.

    • jlouren

      how much did rogers pay for their spectrum when they started out???????????? nothing,nada,nil they were given it for FREEEEE

    • Delphus

      Yes because when wireless started the government had a hard time giving it away!

      The initial investment to implement a national network is enormous and not many companies had the backbone to do it.

      BTW this was the same the world over, so not as if this is a Canadian thing.

      Times change and strategies evolve.

    • malingerer

      Wind/Mobilicity Et Al have received implicit subsidies over the last several years (they were allowed exclusive access to and block of our airwaves at an ‘effectively’ subsidized pricing scheme). Additionally, they were allowed to use another carrier’s service at a reduced rate.

      Re initial wireless telco buildouts… how many wireless networks were there in Canada at that time (none; Ted took a big risk, even if the airwaves came at a negligible initial cost)? What was the actual value of those airwaves then? Has Rogers paid taxes since then? Does it employ Canadians who pay taxes on their income? Has their stock (and Canada’s as a whole) increased since then (this increasing the value of my RSP or stock portfolio). That was then this is now. Should they be punished for being successful? Has Wind etc been mandated to provide service in Timbuktu like the encumbents (not just Rogers, Telus, Bell; but every major provincial Telco) where there will NEVER be a viable ROI?

      We used to think ‘if we could just get unlimited voice and text for 50 or $60/month we’d definitely be flush’, now we expect unlimited data on top of that? All these services cost money. I often think, when I read through this site, that many of the posters just don’t understand that.

    • ScooterinAB

      Irrelevant, because that was a different time and a different circumstance. Simply handing Wind millions of dollars of high-value spectrum is different from Rogers getting some unused and otherwise valueless spectrum.

      Wind has gotten handouts as well. All of this coddling and rule changing has happening in favor of Wind and other new entrants, even though all are failing because their revenues are too low. Wind has gotten their free right. It’s time that stops.

    • Thr1ve

      How much was that spectrum worth at the time? Nothing, nada, nil… No one wanted it, because no one wanted to pay for the infrastructure to deploy the service, Rogers took a huge gamble and in the end, they won big… Had Wind been around at the time, they would have been offered the spectrum for free as well… How many handouts, subsidized pricing, preferred treatment and other stuff has Wind (and other new carriers) gotten since they started? Now compare that to what any of the big 3 received during that time period, not much of a comparison, because the big 3 didn’t get a damn thing without paying full price… Wind et all didn’t pay to set up their own infrastructure, towers, hardware and so on, they piggybacked on the infrastructure that was already there, built and paid for by none other than the big 3… And even with all those handouts and leeching off of others, they STILL failed, businesses shouldn’t be rewarded for being failures, period…

    • TrOuBLeDbOy

      you have to protect our amazing canadian companies from foreign devils , communism FTW!! (lol jk )

    • kilowiko

      FYI, operating costs when stripped to purely technical points (ie: cellular infrastructure) are only a very minor subset of overall expenditures that a carrier delves out. Marketing alone is the single biggest expense (along with exec saleries and bonuses). Its complete bs and you’re clearly stupified to it.

    • 0defaced

      wind can’t invest because Vimplecom backed out.

      EVERY carrier CAN offer unlimited, they just profit more. This is just a shitty move from Vimplecom due to the amount of dramatics and the profit margin in Canada.

    • It’s Me

      I would agree that you cannot run a carrier on AWS only for years and expect to have turned a profit. If your prices are too high, no one will pay for AWS. If they are too low, you don’t have the revenue to drive network improvements. It’s catch 22 and it is largely the fault of the crap spectrum they had to work with.

      Could the big 3 offer unlimited for $30? Maybe not $30, but certainly over $100 is not necessary.

    • JTon

      Yeah, OK. I think you’re overeating a tad, no?

    • d a

      I think the best we could have hoped for is for wind to get get it for the sake of competition and quality of product. I think we will all be screwed, perhaps as soon as this year if the big 3 get in which is most likely.

  • silver_arrow

    Rub salt on the wound why don’t you…

  • jackjiarocks

    My Ass…………….

    • It’s Me

      is going to hurt a lot in the coming months with the big 3 running the show.

    • WP74Life

      hahaha

  • Tpickles

    Just a prediction, Bell, Rogers, and Telus get their blocks for the minimum price, Videotron gets Quebec, Eastlink gets the Maritimes, T-bay gets Northern Ontario, MTS gets Manitoba, Sasktel gets Saskatchewan, Novus gets BC and the rest will go to “Feenix” all on the cheap… I doubt there will be much fighting as the only one that would want nationwide spectrum other then the big 3 is Feenix and who knows how much money Bitove was able to raise.

    • ScooterinAB

      I thought Feenix was intending to be a regional carrier. Could be mistaken though.

  • D Kup

    How DYNAMIC is that? Like Rogers, Bell, Telus, Fido, Chatr, Koodo, Virgin…. seven brands? Oh… need to add Public Mobile because it is now Telus…

  • Acer12345

    What he meant:

    “A dynamic mix of 3 companies are ‘competing’ in the 700MHz auction.”

  • iphoneee’s bro

    “dynamic mix” – this is pretty hilarious.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    without any real bidders on the national scale other than ROBELUS, we all know we are gonna get screwed again.

  • WP74Life

    Oh please, you don’t even have to fake. We all know it’s a huge lie. You’re being paid by Robelus. There is NO competition. Big 3

  • hardy83

    It’s like that Iraq minister who said the US hasn’t invaded when a US tank is going by in the background.

    Obviously nowhere near as serious in terms of people dying, but the same level of ignorance and irony showcased in this statement from the Conservative government.

    • TrOuBLeDbOy

      Baghdad Bob :D

  • graze81

    I was planning on joining Wind this Spring. That plan is dead. No much competition when everyone is charging the same price for the same services =/

    • ScooterinAB

      In fairness, rates are not the same thing as service. Every carrier has something different to offer. Wireless services are more than the plan you are paying for. Just pay attention to carrier advertising (though take it all with a grain of salt, since all twist and some lie).

      What we need in Canada is a clearer and more publicly disclosed overview of what each carrier has to offer. While the Big 3 charge similar prices, there are other benefits that they desperately need to market.

    • HeyYoWL

      I’m asking because I’m genuinely curious, not because I’m being sarcastic, but what exactly do the Big 3 offer individually in addition to just what they advertise?

    • ScooterinAB

      I’m still piecing that together right now for each of the major carriers. Some of what I’m referring are the qualities of their network, exclusive services, and other details (some of which are even advertised).

      For example, Rogers has a greater degree of device exclusivity, as well as their LTE Max speeds in a handful of place (which I think is garbage and not a real thing). By contrast, Wind’s big thing is prepaid services, which differ from other carriers is that the features and rates are not different from postpaid.

      What I’m getting at is that there is more to a carrier than just their prices, and that carriers really could do a better job of positioning themselves as being different from the competition by showcasing those differences.

  • JM

    As it is now, I have no hope for any rural client to ever receive service from a competitor to the big 3. Of course every new brand would want to bid for the cities with the biggest demography, but if Wind already is that “competition” and still only have 650K subscribers instead of the million they were aiming at… Why would they want to bid for more spectrum? The cost vs revenue just isin’t there.

    • expat

      Agree! But there is much more at stake, then just data packages. M2M communications are developing fast, and they will require constant coverage on a single network. The transmitters used in M2M, are small, and must remain inexpensive. They may not have the ability to switch between bands, as you drive along. This is really where the future customers are. Other countries are pioneering M2M, and it is set to soar in the next 10 to 20 years. We are talking about appliances, cars, farm equipment, and even livestock!

    • kilowiko

      The only logical thing that can happen is they force the big three to allow third party carriers onto their infrastructure just like they did with wired line. Crosses fingers for that to happen before I leave this place.

  • expat

    The 700 MHz will be very useful in rural ares, because it can cover greater distances.Higher frequencies cover less, but can accommodate a higher traffic density. Since the big 3′s are the ones operating outside major centers, they will have more use of this frequency. What confuses me, however is why would all telecoms want all frequencies? In the US, telcos use different frequencies. As most phones use quad band radios, they can be used with more than one frequency.

  • TrOuBLeDbOy

    Any idea how long it will take for 700 to implemented after the auction and ready for consumer use?

  • hoo dat

    “A dynamic mix…….” Dynamic only if you ignore the fact that the 3 companies the government set out to protect and created special auction rules for are not even involved in this auction. The government’s protectionism has proven to be an abject failure.

  • D Kup

    MR. Moore, left hand competing with right hand is not true competition by the way!

  • Sgtyuro

    It’s not a coincidence that the spectrum bid started today and the prices on the premium packages rose 5$. 75$ for 500mb? No thanks.

  • Columbo

    I live in Vancouver. In my province there are a total of 3 companies bidding for this spectrum, and I don’t think it’s necessary to name which ones. James Moore is full of it.

  • Canadianman23

    There is a real simple reason why Wind backed out, Vimplecom looked at the true cost of becoming a national telco company and saw it wasnt worth it. Look how expensive it is to deploy in the city, let alone the country. Plus you have all the people with the NIMBY attitude towards towers and such. It is not cheap to build a network like Rogers, Bell and Telus have, you take for granted the fact they spend a lot of money covering a lot of areas, and maintaining the towers in those areas, keeping them connected and powered on can not be easy nor cheap. There has to be huge stretches of area that is covered that gets very little use. I have always said Wind will fail to become a national carrier. Only because that means covering where most Canadians live. They cant afford it, even if a foreign backer were to pour billions, they would be pouring it down a drain. If the government wants competition they should open the networks up and force them to give reasonable rates to MVNO, like they do now with cable and phone lines. Allow companies to set up, sign a deal with one of the big three, and the big three be legislated to provide a fair price for access.

  • delumen

    I will never go back to Rogers, unless they have a $50 unlimited plan.