- Bell is ready to compete with any wireless carrier on a level playing field
- But 3 loopholes in federal regulations give special benefits designed for wireless startups to major US wireless players like Verizon
- Advantages include special access to Canadian infrastructure and our national airwaves
- All Canadians will be paying to help a giant American carrier - 4x bigger than Canada's wireless sector combined - get benefits denied to Canadian companies
- Ottawa gets nothing in return - Canadian companies can't get the same subsidized access in the US or any other country
MONTREAL, July 25, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell Canada today called on the federal government to immediately close loopholes in its wireless policy framework that favour major US wireless carriers at the expense of Canadians and our country's world-class wireless industry and network infrastructure.
"Federal wireless policies intended to help small startup competitors unintentionally give the same advantages to major US wireless companies that want to enter Canada - advantages paid for by Canadians and denied to the country's major wireless carriers. With the potential impact on the country's airwaves and infrastructure, it's an unprecedented situation that affects all Canadians," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE.
"Bell is ready to compete with any wireless company. Our national team takes pride in delivering world-leading networks, the best mobile devices and competitive pricing to customers in cities, small towns and rural locations throughout Canada. We can succeed against US giants in a fair marketplace, because we'll invest more in Canada. But our federal government is unintentionally underwriting the success of US companies in Canada. We ask that Ottawa allow Canadian wireless companies a fair chance to compete by closing these loopholes."3 loopholes in the rules US giant Verizon Communications has already indicated it is poised to exploit the federal regulations originally designed to assist competitive startups. These 3 loopholes in the rules would allow Verizon to:
- Buy twice as much new wireless spectrum in the upcoming auction of Canada's 700 MHz airwaves as Canadian carriers at a lower overall price. Canada is getting ready to auction 700 MHz spectrum - the best airwaves for carrying your future mobile calls and data. Able to operate equally well in both rural and urban areas, 700 MHz is the most technologically advanced spectrum ever auctioned by the Canadian government. There are 4 prime blocks of this spectrum available. Canadian carriers like Bell can only buy 1 each - but big US carriers like Verizon can actually buy 2. The way the auction is structured, American companies would pay less and get more spectrum, reducing the government's auction revenues at the expense of Canadians. As well, one of Canada's own major wireless carriers could be shut out of the auction for our country's airwaves entirely.
- Get a free ride on the world-leading networks funded and built by Canadians. Government rules give a company like Verizon the option to offer wireless service simply by riding on the networks of Canadian carriers, world-class wireless infrastructure funded by Canadian investors and built by Canadian workers over the last 30 years. Verizon would not need to build its own network throughout Canada, invest in rural communities or support job growth as Canadian companies do. Verizon can easily afford to build its own networks and should do so if it wants access to Canada's airwaves.
- Acquire smaller Canadian wireless companies at fire-sale prices. If wireless start-ups are financially distressed and looking for buyers, government rules prohibit them from being sold to Canadian carriers large enough to buy them like Bell, Rogers or TELUS. That depresses the value of the startups - and lets a US company like Verizon acquire them at cut-rate prices and gain all their assets, including their existing wireless spectrum already subsidized by Canadians.
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