Wind Mobile Sings Its Old Song, Threatens To Boycott Spectrum Auction Again!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on March 16, 2012

In a potentially game changing announcement for Canada’s wireless industry, the Industry Minister Christian Paradis yesterday announced that the ‘Big Three’ – Telus, Rogers, Bell – will be limited in the upcoming spectrum auction when it comes to how much of the “beachfront property” they can buy.

While it was expected that such a move will probably not sit well with Canada’s telecommunications giants, it was expect that fringe players would applaud the government’s decision. And that’s what Mobilicity did, albeit in a muted manner – it says the outcome will help sustain competition and lower wireless pricing for consumers.

However, Wind Mobile isn’t amused with the government’s efforts because it claims the rules will not guarantee smaller players enough spectrum to launch LTE. Slamming the new auction rules, Wind Mobile is now singing its old songthreatening to boycott the auction.

Slamming the new rules as a “total disaster”, Wind Mobile claims it would ruin Canada’s wireless industry. Although the carrier will benefit from the lifting of foreign investment restrictions for companies with less than 10 per cent market share, it claims the new auction rules will mean smaller carriers won’t get the airwaves they need to compete. Wind says the proposed 10 MHz blocks of spectrum would not be enough for the company to build a long-term evolution (LTE) network to compete with dominant industry players.

“The announcement creates the illusion that the government has gone all-in to create a competitive wireless landscape, when they’ve only done half the job,” said Anthony Lacavera, CEO of WIND Mobile. “Delivering on foreign ownership is only half of the equation. We’ve spent countless months telling the government that caps will destroy our ability to compete with the incumbents in the next auction, thereby crippling wireless competition in Canada.”

While Wind Mobile has a valid argument – without LTE, it doesn’t stand a chance to compete against the ‘Big Three’ despite being “Canada’s fastest growing carrier” last year. Analysts believe the new auction rules might trigger a round of mergers or acquisitions as upstart carriers consider a Plan-B to get a share of the beachfront property.

Though the Big Three may have lost several important lobbying battles as a result of the changed rules, Wind Mobile says it’s won nothing out of it.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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