Lacavera on spectrum: Bell, TELUS and Rogers should watch the TV show “Hoarders”

Tony Lacavera was the keynote speaker today at the Canadian Telecom Summit and he bluntly started his presentation that their entrance into wireless has not been pretty. After gaining approval to launch their wireless service across Canada they have been hammered down by the incumbents with a flurry of lawsuits over the issue of over foreign ownership. Lacavera stated their “reality of being a new entrant in this market” is not a Cinderella story and that “it’s been a battleground laden with accusations about our Canadian-ness. A regulatory game playing by the incumbents and wrought with tactics to prevent our success… it is time for competition to work in this country. It’s time for the fear-mongering about foreign capital to stop and for the incumbents to focus on developing a thriving industry that can effectively compete on the world stage.”

There were a few choice quotes and we have video too (will upload later). They are all below and Lacavera says that the carriers should watch the TV show Hoarders as they simply just “squat on large unused spectrum holdings in order to limit competition”. In addition, it was just a few weeks ago that WIND stated they added 39,000 subs in Q1 which took them to an estimated 271,000 (WIND ended 2010 with 232,000 subscribers). But now WIND has confirmed they “reached the 300,000” subscriber milestone.

Lacavera on the WIND Mobile subscriber numbers:
“we are starting to penetrate. In fact, in Q1, WIND emerged as the fastest growing carrier in the country. We have reached the 300,000 customer plateau, we are distributing in over 500 locations nationally and roaming to over 200 countries internationally. And Canadians are responding and feeling the early benefits of competition.”

Lacavera on the upcoming 700Mhz auction:
“With the debate about the upcoming 700Mhz auction in full swing, let me toss my opinion in the ring. The government should create rules allowing the new entrants a chance to bid for access to spectrum in upcoming auctions and ensure incumbents do not acquire it at any price to stave off further competition. And don’t be fooled by the claims that the incumbents should have unfettered access to new spectrum for rural build-outs. They will build out in rural areas only when there is a positive business case and this is no different than the situation for new entrants.The incumbents are calling for a level playing field. Ironic. These are the same companies that control a whack of sub 1 ghz spectrum. There’s a very simple principle we learn as children. If you can’t eat what’s on your plate, don’t ask for more! I’d like to take this opportunity to ask my friends at Bell, TELUS and Rogers to check out the new hit TV show called ‘Hoarders’. Take in a couple episodes and hopefully you’ll gain some insights. This auction represents the battleground for future competition in Canada. The wrong policy decision could pave the way for the incumbents to hoover up supply and leave new entrants struggling with insufficient bandwidth.”

(Video after the break)