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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.

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Alex Perrier
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Alex Perrier

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.

Robert
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Robert

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… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

> 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… Read more »

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