Industry Minister calls for foreign wireless investment

by Andrew Roach on February 27, 2013

The Canadian wireless market has grown considerably in the last couple of years with companies such as Rogers and Bell becoming household names across all of North America.

However, this has stifled competition within the wireless industry and this has led to Industry Minister Christian Paradis to look overseas to help keep the industry prosperous.

Paradis is currently attending the Mobile World Council exhibition in Barcelona, Spain amid hopes that major companies from Europe or Asia can perhaps step in and help shake things up in the wireless world.

MWC often attracts many of the biggest names in the electronics industry to appear and display their new products which makes the event a perfect place for governments to try and attract new business to their country.

Paradis’s comments are reflecting upon the struggles faced by smaller, independent retailers in the wireless sector as they try to compete against the big three providers of Rogers, Bell and Telus.

In his speech, Paradis believed that international companies would be just as welcome in Canada as home-grown firms. During the address, he said that “Let’s hope by the end of this event we can entice some of those international players to become Canadian players as well.”

The comments come as the fate of one of Canada’s largest independent wireless companies hangs in the balance. Wind Mobile has been the source of much speculation over the past few as the company look for a buyer or a merger with a larger firm.

It wasn’t just Paradis’ comments that put the Industry Minister into the spotlight though as he also announced plans for the next auction on wireless frequencies.

The auction is set to be based around the unrolling of the new 700MHz spectrum which is set to be much more powerful than some of the other frequencies that providers are able to access to.

It’s expected that the auction will take place at some point later on in the year however the government and CRTC has yet to set out guidelines and rules surrounding the use of the new frequency once it’s in place.

Paradis’ visit to the Mobile World Council has certainly caused some shockwaves around the wireless industry and whilst his comments may be a way to help make the market more competitive, his plea for foreign investment may not settle too well with many wireless firms back home.

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