Videotron on the upcoming 700 MHz auction: “Ottawa must fix the spectral imbalance that favors Rogers, Bell and TELUS”

Videotron’s 4G network has a subscriber base of 143,600 and they have some solid handsets: Nexus S, HTC Panache, BlackBerry Bold 9700 and the PlayBook. Today at the 2011 Canadian Telecom Summit President and CEO Robert Depatie that “the last time we spoke, I said that Videotron would offer attractive mobile products and services and a lot of value. I am proud to report that we have done just that. We promised lower prices on the mobile bill. We delivered. We promised better and more flexible offers to our customers. We delivered on that front, as well”. All true, especially on the monthly plans with their “infinite” offerings. Depatie took the time to note they are changing the landscape of rate plans in Quebec by stating they “take full credit” for Bell and Public Mobile offering unlimited plans.

Depatie said that “Wireless accounts for a significant part of the incumbent businesses. By contrast, wireless represents only 2 percent of our business. I can assure you that it will not stay at 2 percent for long. We can’t predict the future for everybody, but, to borrow a familiar phrase, we certainly think that our future is friendly”. However, parent company Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau stated that “the roll-out of the new mobile services network negatively impacted net income in the first quarter of 2011″.

Regarding the upcoming 700 megahertz auction, Depatie boldly stated that “Ottawa must fix the spectral imbalance that favors Rogers, Bell and TELUS. These three incumbents hold far more spectrum than the new entrants. Moreover, there were awarded their initial spectral allotments without auction, without upfront payments. A twenty-five head start. At no cost. Free… What I am proposing… is a fair shake… we propose the use of an in-band spectrum cap for the upcoming 700 MHz auction”. The cap would basically limit the bidder who currently has spectrum in a specific region to purchase one new spectrum block only, and any bidder who doesn’t currently own spectrum in a region would be limited to to 2 spectrum blocks.

Depatie offered a message to the new Industry Minister Christian Paradis that “In 2008, Industry Canada set aside a portion of the AWS spectrum for new entrants. It was a wise move that helped to foster a new era of competition in the Canadian marketplace… Now with the upcoming 700 megahertz auction, the Government has the opportunity to cement true wireless competition”.