The upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction is expected in happen late 2012 and all the carriers are going to be gunning for this prime so-called “Cadillac” and “beachfront” spectrum. This auction is happening because TV broadcasters are transitioning from analog to digital. The 700 MHz spectrum is important for many reasons: build-out of LTE, its ability to penetrate thick walls within buildings and also it’s more cost effective to cover rural areas.
Over the past few weeks there has been talk from the new entrants that the spectrum should be reserved just for them because Rogers, Bell and TELUS already have enough. On the WIND company blog Chairman Tony Lacavera stated that “the Big Three don’t need it, and we do, and they will do anything, and pay anything, to keep us from getting it. The Big Three are among the most spectrum-rich operators in the entire world and are already sitting on vast amounts of unused spectrum (we call it warehousing). The Big Three acquiring and sitting on all this spectrum doesn’t do you, the consumers, any good. In fact, it hurts because it is yet another way they seek to limit competition.“.
Today the government released the comments from the Big 3 and other parties that are planning to participate in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum. Basically they say they need more and deserve more. In a press release today comes a quote that takes the cake. Mobilicity Chairman John Bitove said, “For years, Canada’s Big Three ‘tri-opoly’ have been acting like squirrels preparing for a 50-year winter. They hoard spectrum to keep others from giving consumers an affordable choice and Canadians have been paying the price for their self-serving interests for far too long.”
This quote above even beats what Mobilicity’s VP of Marketing Sara Moore said about signing a contract: “Giving someone a mobile phone with a contract is a lot like giving them a pet rat”.
So it looks like there will be another all out war for spectrum in a couple years.
What do you think the outcome will be?