Canadian Carrier Says Auction Can Correct “Imbalance” by “Big 3”

Shaw Communications, a mid-tier Canadian carrier, voiced its strong support for the federal government’s proposed spectrum policy that trumpets a “competitive and dynamic wireless landscape.”

“The 600 MHz spectrum auction provides a unique opportunity for the government to correct the huge imbalance in spectrum holdings between the Big Three and real competitors like Shaw,” said Shaw Communications President Jay Mehr.

Over 90 percent of the available, highly valuable low-band wireless spectrum in Canada is currently controlled by the largest three companies that dominate the market – Rogers, Bell and Telus. These companies, through their primary and sub brands, leverage these holdings to maintain control over 90 percent of market share.

“This is the last foreseeable opportunity to make more low-frequency spectrum available,” Shaw says in its filing, and the government “has appropriately proposed a set-aside to ensure that new competitors have the opportunity to bid on the spectrum they need, to invest in robust networks and provide real, sustainable choice in the wireless market over the long term.”

Mehr said the “Big Three” have the chance to block strong competitors from the market.  “This would destroy the prospects for a truly competitive wireless market that is capable of meeting the evolving and escalating needs of Canadians. A substantial set-aside is the only protection against this outcome. It will help break the status quo and end the game where the Big Three win and Canadians lose.”

However, the Big Three continue to dominate. “This isn’t surprising given the spectrum advantages of the Big Three,” Mehr said. “More innovative and affordable services for consumers will only come through investment in leading alternative networks and sustainable competition without compromise, and that’s exactly what Shaw will continue to work hard to provide.”

November 7, 2017 

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