The forthcoming Canadian wireless-spectrum auction is expected to see several new
entrants take part in the bidding. This phenomenon is due to the bidding framework
established by Industry Canada. New entrant participation has been encouraged by the
Canadian government by the provision of frequency set-asides where only companies
new to the wireless business will be allowed to bid, and through mandated tower
sharing and roaming. Of the various interests expected to participate in the auction, a number of companies that have expressed an interest appear to have more complementary than competitive (with each other) interests.
This has led to speculation that the various companies
might bid together as a consortium; a Rebel Alliance of new wireless providers.
But a consortium approach isn’t the only means of achieving many of the objectives of a
consortium bid. And consortia interests are not best served, possibly, by forming a
formal bidding group.
Much could be done to establish infrastructure standards, operational protocols and responsibility sharing after an auction award instead of forming a formal infrastructure/auction bidding company.
We don’t feel that March 14 will see a Grand Alliance announcement pitting challengers against incumbents. No, cooperation will evolve as business needs present themselves and the elegance of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” precept suggests beneﬁts in cooperative discussion
and approaches to the challenges of building a new national wireless infrastructure.
We are both encouraged and excited by the prospects for new entrants – especially if
they ﬁnd a way to coordinate the necessary implementation and operations tasks.
Industry Canada has set the stage well. Its now up to the challengers to show that they
are worthy of the challenge.