Internet providers accuse major telecom companies of hoarding spectrum

by Andrew Roach on May 13, 2013

With more people choosing to use mobile devices to access the web, it has meant that telecom companies have managed to earn a bigger slice of the internet market.

However, this has placed the firms into competition with internet service providers and the ISP’s are not happy with the way that mobile providers are conducting their business.

Internet providers believe that mobile firms are hoarding their spectrum and getting an unfair advantage against other companies.

The spectrum battles are based on the 3.5MHz frequency which focuses on the high speed internet connections that are now common in many cities and towns and is being introduced for both homes and businesses.

In a few weeks, the licenses for the 3.5MHz frequency will be reviewed which means that many internet and telecom providers will be looking to get their chance to make an impact in the internet market.

Whilst competition is certainly going to be fierce for each license, some internet providers are already commenting that some of the major telecom companies have an unfair advantage through satellite companies that own spectrum but don’t use all of their resources.

Much of the focus is seemingly aimed towards Inukshuk Wireless which is a joint venture between Rogers and BCE. At the moment, Inukshuk owns around 75% of the total spectrum in Canada but has only focused its products in select areas.

This has angered several ISP’s including Xplorenet Communications who have submitted a formal complaint to Industry Canada in a bid to open up the market.

Xplorenet’s report featured several damning statements about Inukshuk and accused the company of stifling competition. In their report, the company said that “to allow carriers to continue to hold large amounts of spectrum licences without proper deployment by the end of their licence term simply endorses spectrum hoarding strategies.”

At the moment, Xplorenet only owns 5% of the available spectrum and having used nearly all of its available limits, they are hoping that their reports will open up the door to further investment for both the company and other ISP’s.

BCE and Rogers have defended their Inukshuk venture believing that the lack of compatibility with mobile devices on the 3. 5MHz frequency is the reason for not using all of their potential. In a statement, Inukshuk said that “Canadians will be more effectively served by the implementation of the most innovative and advanced technologies such as LTE, even if this means that the deployment requirements must be extended again.”

With no decision yet to be made on the spectrum licenses, it’s likely that the matter will rumble on for weeks to come. But Inukshuk will need to show that they will make good use of their share if they want to stop rival ISP’s such as Xplorenet getting a firmer foothold in the market.

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

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