Industry Canada is asking Canadians for input on what it should do with the block of spectrum that it wants to make available to the rapidly developing mobile communications industry. The object? The government wants more Canadians to benefit from competitively priced mobile services. The Industry Canada consultation is focussed on the 700 MHz frequency block – a frequency that shares many transmission characteristics with the original Cellular services block (800 MHz) that was given to (and is still used by) Rogers, Bell and Telus.
This paper will make the point that the new 700 MHz spectrum and the older 800 MHz spectrum are part of the same spectral family and that, therefore, the new spectrum should be allocated to the more recently launched wireless companies. These companies have already made a significant difference in the marketplace by introducing competitive products and services in urban Canada. Allocating the new spectrum to these recent entrants would enable them to make the same compelling deals available to more Canadians. Moreover, it would also remove some of the significant spectral advantages the country has afforded to incumbent providers and bring more balance to the marketplace.
Our paper will show that Canada’s incumbent carriers already have more frequency spectrum than most of their international counterparts, and that on what they do have, there is far less of a load.
We shall also make the point that the achievements of the new wireless companies – which are considerable – will be in jeopardy if further action is not taken by Industry Canada to balance the incumbent advantages. Such action would benefit all Canadians.