Canadian Government Opens Up Wireless Space…. Sort Of…

Today things might have changed in the wireless space in Canada. You can read the full details in this Globe And Mail story, but let me hit the highlights:

  • Telecom firms from outside Canada can own up to 100% of firms operating inside Canada. The catch is that the companies can’t have more than 10% market share.
  • The 700 Mhz spectrum auction that is supposed to take place in 2013 has some rules. Rural Canadians will have access to the same advanced services as everyone else within five years. Also the government said it would limit purchases of prime spectrum by incumbents (read; Bell, Telus, Rogers). About 25% will be available to smaller players.

This should be a good thing. It is to a degree. But the government could have gone further. It could have let foreign companies set up shop regardless of market share. It could have set aside more space for the smaller players. That would mean more. But even this step is forward movement. Still, there are no guarantees that consumers will get lower prices and better service than they do now. The government should remember that and act accordingly.


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