The Canadian government in order to bolster mobile competition in the country has announced two significant moves, an auction for the 700Mhz spectrum and second the lifting of foreign investment restrictions for smaller telcos. Canada currently has operates on the 1.7GHz and 2.1GHz AWS frequencies. With the auction, the country switch from analog to digital over-the-air TV signals last August allows for greater building penetration and has less signal loss over long distances. The spectrum will be auctioned off as four blocks, means each bidder including the country’s three big providers — Rogers, Bell, and Telus – will able to get quarter of it. The second announcement was the government plans to lift all restrictions on foreign investment in Canadian telecom companies that have less than 10 percent marketshare. Allowing up to 100 percent foreign ownership of these companies will hopefully make them more competitive with the major players. Earlier, foreign investors were limited to owning 46.7 percent of Canadian telcos.
Minister Paradis announced that:
- The Telecommunications Act will be amended to lift foreign investment restrictions for telecom companies that hold less than a 10-percent share of the total Canadian telecommunications market. This will help telecom companies with a small market share access the capital they need to grow and compete.
- The government will be applying caps in the upcoming spectrum auctions to guarantee that both new wireless competitors and incumbent carriers have access to the spectrum up for auction.
- The government will apply specific measures in the 700 MHz auction to see that rural Canadians will have access to the same advanced services as everyone else in a timely manner.
- The government will improve and extend the existing policy on roaming and tower sharing to further support competition and will improve transparency and information sharing to facilitate agreements between companies to slow the proliferation of new cellphone towers.
- A portion of the 700 MHz spectrum will be reserved for public safety users such as police and firefighters across Canada.