Canada to review all wireless spectrum transfer deals

Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:03pm EDT
 
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government will review all sales of wireless airwave licenses and reject any deals that would lead to undue concentration, it said on Friday in its latest move to weaken the dominance of the country's three big wireless carriers.

The new rules come after two of Canada's biggest telecom companies - Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp - tried to acquire spectrum owned by smaller operators.

By making it tougher for the dominant three - Rogers, Telus and BCE Inc's Bell - to buy additional airwaves, the rule changes could help clear the path for U.S.-based Verizon Communications Inc as it considers entering the Canadian market.

Ottawa has sought to break open the once-cozy Canadian telecom industry by keeping some spectrum out of the hands of the three biggest operators and making it easier for foreign companies to enter the market.

Canada's Conservative government has said it wants four viable wireless options for consumers in each region of the country.

The spectrum holdings of Rogers, BCE and Telus already dwarf those of newer, smaller entrants.

BLOCKED BIDS

The government effectively blocked Telus' C$380 million ($362 million) bid for struggling wireless upstart Mobilicity earlier this month by rejecting the transfer of its spectrum licenses.   Continued...

 
A student uses his mobile phone as he walks inside the Engineering building at the University of Waterloo, located beside the Blackberry maker's Research in Motion (RIM) headquarters in Waterloo April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch