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Publications & Presentations
 March 2015 - Moore's Law
 June 2014 - Get it Wholesale!
 December 2013 - The Quest to Drive Consumer Benefit
 August 2013 - Why Canada? Why Now?
 April 2013 - Withering on Vine
 February 2013 - Mad as Hell!!
 March 2012 - Visiting Martians Shop for Broadband!
 February 2012 - Long Term Evolutionary Challenge: Limiting Wireless Carrier Gluttony
 November 2011 - Aide-Memoire: Foreign Investment in Canadian Telecommunications
 September 2011 - Pirates of the Arctic
 July 2011 - Some Notes for Canada’s Newest Industry Minister – An Open Letter
 May 2011 – A Tide in the Affairs of Men
 April 2011 – The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep: The Case for a Remote-Rural Exception in Frequency
 March 2011 – Hertz Much? Canadian Wireless Spectrum Valuation
 February 2011 – Over the Rainbow: Thoughts on the Canadian 700 MHz Discussion
 December 2010 - Strategic Air Commands: Mobile Carriers Embrace On-demand Activation
 October 2010 - There be Dragons: Canada’s Xenophobia in Telecoms Ownership
 July 2010 - Death Grip
 March 2010 - Wind in the Willows
 December 2009 - Gone with the Wind? Wireless Entrant Faces Arctic Reception in Canada
 November 2009 - Herding Cats: Managing a Wireless Community
 October 2009 - It's In The Air: Wireless Delivers the Promise of Broadband – Without the Wait
 August 2009 - Heart of [Wireless] Darkness: A SeaBoard Look At Wireless International Roaming
 April 2009 – A Giant Step Backwards: Canada’s CRTC Moves to Re-Monopolize Communications Marketplace
 March 2009 - Canadian Wireless Stakes:The Shape Of A Market To Come
 January 2009 - Paradise Lost
 December 2008 - Internet Hot Like Laval's
 October 2008 - Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse: Exploiting the Potential of the G-block
 October 2008 - Reason, Not Romance: A Better Internet in the Balance
 September 2008 - Start Your Engines:Canada’s Wireless Challengers Hit The Road
 May 2008 - Champagne Tastes: Beer Budgets
 March 2008 - So, You Want To Become A Wireless Services Provider?
 February 2008 - It Isn’t About Paying Paul Without Robbing Peter:Reflections on the CTF Debate
 February 2008 - The Race is On! Toronto Hydro Puts Toronto Hydro Telecom on the Block
 SeaBoard Group - 2007 Year End Review
 November 2007 - Wireless Data Prices, How do Canadians fare?
 August 2007 - SeaBoard Market Update & Outlook
 March 2007 - Lament For A Wireless Nation - A Cross-National Survey of Wireless Service Prices
 January 2007 - Looking Back Looking Forward
 November 2006 - Whither MVNOs
 September 2006 - Communications Pricing for Consumers 2006
 July 2006 - Knowing Me Knowing You
 June 2006 - Avoiding the Tragedy of Dorothy
 May 2006 - SeaBoard Sentinel - Knowing Thy Neighbour
 April 2006 - Escape Velocity- Videotron Pushes the Limit for Canada
 March 2006 - Leaving Jurassic Park - New Era in Mobile Services
 February 2006 - Coming to a Screen Near You: Telco TV
 Brace Yourself! 2006; Year in Preview
 November 2005 - Vox Populi: The People Speak
 October 2005 - Mobile Instant Messaging: Power of Presence
 September 2005 - Arming the Contenders
 August 2005 - Top of the First - The VoIP Battle Begins
 July 2005 - Lessons for Canada; Wireless Pricing - A Cross National Survey
 April 2005 - The Anarchist Cookbook
 March 2005 - God's Machine
 January 2005 - An Exciting Year Ahead
 December 2004 - The Medium is not the Message!
 December 2004 - Old Bottles, New Wine
 October 2004 - Billing - Beyond Feeds and Speeds
 Sept 2004 - Cabled Canada
 July 2004 - It's Your Call
 May 2004 - Field(s) And Stream
 April 2004 - Through The Portal - Smartly
 March 2004 - VoIP across the Enterprise: Proceeding Cautiously - the CompUSA story
 Feb 2004 - Get Shorty! - Canada's Wireless Market
 November 2003 - The Importance of Being Ernestine
 October 2003 - Wireless Wonderland
 October 2003 - Behind the Veil of Convergence: Lauding Logistics
 Sept 2003 - Beyond Ernestine - Your Call is Important To Us
 August 2003 - Not Your Parents' Phone
 July 2003 - Canadians Cut Their Wires
 May 2003 - Communications Pricing for Consumers
 January 2003 - Catharsis of Penury
 January 2003 - No Worries!
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Withering on the Vine:

Some gardening tips for Industry Canada


April 2013 - IGB Grant +1 514 849 3508, Amit Kaminer +1 416 413 1636 and Lindsay Shaddy




Competition in Canada's wireless industry is in danger of dying on the vine. How could this be happening? In 2007, with an eye on a moribund wireless services marketplace characterized by high prices and low consumer adoption, Canada's federal government took some bold measures to create an environment where competition could flourish. New competition was to be the instrument to shift the marketplace dynamic. There was early promise: New companies entered the marketplace. New choices were offered to consumers. Service improved. New technologies were deployed by incumbents and challengers. And, most importantly, prices came down. The Harper Government's fecund touch appeared to have the desired result.

However, as any gardener knows, new plants need time and the right conditions to take root and grow, and so do new companies. It is difficult enough for a new entrant to get established at the best of times, but breaking into the telecom market in Canada was even more challenging because the old, incumbent companies, with their decades-long head start, had already snapped up the best spectrum bands – for free, no less – leaving new entrants to purchase expensive-but-less-effective spectrum. Furthermore, the same incumbents were also sitting on vast infrastructures that had taken decades to build. Yes, the government took steps to compel these established carriers to share their infrastructures with the new entrants: the terms, conditions and prices for sharing were "to be agreed." Sadly, however, agreement was hard to reach, conditions were onerous and prices were high – the process, was not as as smooth as the government had hoped.

Yet in spite of these challenges, the new entrants were off to a promising start. They offered exciting new plans at attractive new prices, forcing the stodgy old incumbents to get with the program and compete.

But new companies need time to get a foothold and expand, and this can be an uphill battle when established companies also already had a hammerlock on most of the existing pool of customers through rigid business practices. In the case of the Canadian telecom industry, that means draconian three-year service terms. Many Canadians would like to try the new carriers, but the old ones have made it awfully hard for them to switch.

Today, we are at a crossroads. Thanks to the Harper Government, we now have a competitive marketplace, but the new entrants are wondering whether the struggle is worth it. One new entrant is now for sale, and another one is restructuring. 1 This is worrisome indeed, because if the competition withers and dies, the incumbents will just revert to their old ways. Canadians will pay the price.

The result? Higher consumer prices and poorer service for consumers. The solution? Reinvigorate the marketplace. How? One idea: Allocate the new 700 MHz spectrum that the Crown will offer at auction in November to the new entrants exclusively!
Yes, the government has done a great deal to foster competition in the Canadian telecom garden. New plants flowered and started to grow, but if we want them to bear fruit and multiply, we must ensure that they are not blocked by older, bigger plants. If we want competition to continue to thrive, Industry Canada must continue to tend its garden by tying back the big plants just a bit so that the new ones can catch some rays – of the 700 MHz variety.



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