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Bell: If You Don’t Sell Us the Frequencies, We’ll See That Rural Canada Gets Nothing

Bell this week brought out its saber collection for a little rattling in Ottawa over the Canadian government’s consideration of a plan to set aside certain mobile spectrum for new competitors.

A mobile spectrum auction, expected later this year, will increase the number of 700Mhz frequencies available for wireless communications.

Some of Canada’s largest cell phone companies are well-positioned to outbid the competition, but not if Industry Canada decides it needs to set aside some of the frequencies for an auction among smaller competitors.

BCE, Inc., the parent company of Bell, has little regard for that plan and has now joined Rogers in a lobbying effort for an “open and transparent” sale, which effectively means the highest bidder takes all.

If Canada doesn’t follow Bell’s advice, the company is threatening to withhold advanced mobile Internet services in Canada’s lesser-populated regions.

“An auction for this spectrum that isn’t open and transparent would limit the amount of spectrum available to Bell, forcing a focus on more densely populated centers in order for Bell to compete with new carriers,” the company said in a news release.

In response, Wind Mobile, one of the newest entrants in the Canadian mobile market, said it would sit out of a spectrum auction that favored deep-pocketed incumbents with winner-take-all rules.  In short, it could not afford the prices players like Rogers and Bell will be able to bid for the new frequencies.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis was unwilling to set an exact date or format for the 700MHz spectrum auctions.  Observers suspect if he waits much longer, the auction won’t take place until 2013.

Just three major wireless companies — Bell, Rogers, and Telus, control 94 percent of the Canadian wireless market.

Currently there are 4 comments on this Article:

  1. Alex Perrier says:

    Rogers is currently using the 1700, 2100 and 2600 MHz frequencies to provide LTE. They claim that this allows “typical LTE download speeds of 12-40 Mbps, compared to 12-25 Mbps for [1700 and] 2100 MHz connectivity only”. So they don’t have a “spectrum problem” if they can deliver such speeds with the current frequencies they have. Let the new providers get a set aside for the upcoming spectrum auction. WIND is already targeting at least a dozen of urban and not-so-urban cities.

    • Everyone wants 700MHz because it means fewer towers and better building penetration. Those higher frequencies just don’t get very far indoors. Clearwire subscribers know what I am talking about. There are some in Texas who got almost no signal at all just a few feet into a room. Even worse are some of those shielded film window coatings which blocked the signal almost entirely.

      I always tell people the best way to explain the difference is to make a cell phone call before walking into a grocery store. By the time you are a few yards from the front register, you’ll understand. The 700MHz systems should hold their own throughout much of the store. The higher frequency systems simply don’t and the call breaks up or gets dropped.

      If Rogers and Bell get winner-take-all auctions, they’ll split the proceeds with Telus and independent competition in Canada might as well throw in the towel.

  2. Robert says:

    I had mobile wimax service. Rogers an Bell both pulled it. First we received a letter stating that the service would end March 2012. It stated we had an alternative which was a cellular solution. There were no specs on this new service but that we could get a free modem hub. We received the first phone call regarding the service transfer and the person could not answer the most basic questions. I asked if there was a contract I could see before deciding to go ahead. Response was no. I wanted more information so I politely hung up. Now since that call I have received three additional calls. Each of these calls I ask for a copy of the contract. I cannot get it. I am told that everything relative to the plan will be advised and that it is simple. On each occasion I let the caller tell me everything about the plan. Each time they advise me the plan is better than what the wimax plan was. I then start my questions after they conclude what they express is the terms of the service and the entire contract. Question one. —- is there a limit on the monthly bandwidth?
    Answer,.. No. (all three bell employees respond with a simple no)

    ?2—-I could agree on going ahead if I could get a contract with the terms you just stated. Can you send me the agreement?
    Answer.. No

    ?3 — I want to pay for a year in advance for this service based on your description of it.
    Answer.. No you cannot do this as the rates may change.

    In the interest of brevity step by step instructions find out that after 60 days the service goes from unlimited to a cap of 2gb. Per month.
    + if I download 50 mb. I am agreeing to a year term.
    + after 14 days I am agreeing to the service contract I can’t see for a year
    + if I passed the two aforementioned points and wish to cancel that I would get a cancelation fee of 400.00.
    + 10.00 for each additional. Gigabyte

    There’s more but you get the idea of how far we Canadians are bent over. Are we suppose to be treated like this from one of the most protected companies in our country? What am I going to do with two gigabytes per month? The entire scheme deployed for a two month honeymoon period followed by a month 3 shock and gaping hole in my wallet. Our school kids need the Internet for research and studying. What will a family do with 2 gb? The rhetoric of trying to be the noble corporation giving service to rural Canadians and getting a further monopoly with the 700 mhz makes something deep in my bowels churn.

    We have clearly with our passive Canadian nature allowed the crtc to get away with too much. Tax incentives have paid for the services to give rural areas Internet.

    I run my business from home. Now I will run it from a wifi area hotspot. When I was in the USA I saw some companies services that are all inclusive and included calls within Canada. Thanks for the wake up call bell and rogers and Canadian government. These tactics of misrepresenting services should be punished. The threats to cut services and having protected corporations misrepresenting their services in an effort to diminish my ability to earn an income, my daughters cannot do there schoolwork, and also our social and educational abilities affect my charter of rights to get those services in a competitive market. These are mafia tactics deployed and enabled by our government. We have four cell phones, a land line, satellite service that I am going to cancel and get the services from the USA.

    • Richard says:

      > There’s more but you get the idea of how far we Canadians are bent over. Are we suppose to be treated like this from one of the most >protected companies in our country?

      No, of course you don’t need to be continually bent over… support Youmano, Tecksavvy, Adanac, etc… I don’t have any cap with Youmano. Google “Canadian ISPs”, find an alternative… NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give your money to the big guys, the more money you allow them to make, the more strength they have, and with that money, the more strenght they have to afford to lobby against your interest at our government levels, the more they collude amongst themselves to swindle, gouge, and abuse you (well, the whole country actually).

      Say NO to the big guys, refuse to purchase or use their services, if enough people did this, instead of continually bending over again and again, then they would very quickly begin treating you with respect again, they would be reasonable again.

      As things are now, Canadians are just “begging for it”. The Canadian sheeple are such sad sacks.

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