Canada signals unhappiness with Shaw over spectrum sale plan

Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:09pm EDT
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* Shaw plans to sell prized spectrum to industry giant

* Canada industry dominated by three major players

* Government wants to boost competition, cut prices

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, April 15 (Reuters) - Canada's industry minister signaled on Monday he is unhappy with Shaw Communications Inc's plans to sell wireless spectrum to rival Rogers Communications Inc, a move that would add heft to Rogers, already one of three dominant players in the market.

In 2008, Shaw, based in Western Canada, bought some of the spectrum the Conservative government had set aside for new entrants in the mobile telephony market as part of a plan to encourage more competition for the big three: Rogers, BCE Inc's Bell Canada and Telus Corp.

"The intent of the policy was not to have this set-aside spectrum to end (up) in the hands of incumbents," Industry Minister Christian Paradis told reporters on a conference call when asked about Shaw's plans.

Consumer and advocacy groups want Paradis to block the sale.

All spectrum license transfers must be approved by the federal industry ministry, giving Ottawa an effective veto.   Continued...