Canada’s Wireless Spectrum Rules to Come ‘Soon,’ Minister Says

Canadian consumers are holding their breath waiting for the official wireless spectrum rules to be released as these rules will have a major impact on the country’s future in the rapidly growing mobile data space.

The last auction for wireless spectrum, back in 2008, spawned startups like Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, who have subsequently offered consumers much cheaper mobile plans and somewhat successfully pressured incumbents Rogers, Bell, and Telus to provide more competitive products. However, the newcomers were only able to buy spectrum because the government set some aside for them in an effort to boost competition in the sector, at the time an oligopoly.

The Big Three are saying one freebie auction was enough and that no more spectrum should be set aside for the startups. But consumers argue in a fully open auction, the major telcos—with vastly superior financial resources—will gobble everything up and once again eradicate a competitive market.

Canada’s industry minister, Christian Paradis, said the federal government will deliver these rules “soon,” insisting that the delays are only to ensuere the auction is done correctly. Christian says the rules are “a priority” but that they must be done “properly,” noting that with any luck the guidelines will be released “before the end of the year.”