Ottawa tweaks wireless rules to boost competition

by Andrew Roach on March 8, 2013

It was only just last month when Industry Minister Christian Paradis was at MWC calling for greater competition in the Canadian market and inviting foreign comeptiiton into the country.

However, Ottawa has now looked to tweak the current wireless laws in a bid to try and help smaller firms break down the duopoly of Bell and Rogers.

The new tweaks are hoping that it will make life easier for the smaller firms to increase their network coverage and get a bigger share of the market.

However, the law changes have failed to ease concerns about the state of competition in the market especially when the auction for the new 700MHz is set for November.

Many of the new changes announced in Ottawa re aimed to try and push resources in a bid to try and provide an equal playing field in the wireless sector.

For example, providers will be required to share cell towers where possible whilst it may also force larger networks to provide roaming network connections to their rivals when need be.

It’s hoped that some of these new changes will mean that each province will have at least four providers competing for a wireless connection.

The government are also looking to try and offer more support to smaller firms by restricting the possibilities of the big three providers (Bell, Rogers & Telus) from purchasing frequency rights from smaller carriers.

However, many industry analysts are worried that many smaller carriers are going to be unable to complete financially with the larger firms when it comes to expanding their possible coverage.

With only 4% of the entire market covered by the independent markets, many people feel that the fate of these firms hang on the upcoming 700MHz auction in November.

If the auction is dominated by the big three, it could prove to be the final blow to independent carriers from competing against the major companies who would then own the rights to much of the new wireless connections.

The new rules will certainly look to help provide a window of opportunity to smaller firms to make their mark but it will need co-operation from both the larger and smaller network providers for any changes to have a true effect on the industry.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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