Wind Mobile and Public Mobile Threaten to Boycott Upcoming Wireless Auction

If the government doesnt set aside any spectrum for the startup carriers in its upcoming wireless auction, they’ll simply skip the event.

Wind Mobile is threatening to sit out the auction if the government fails to allot a slice of spectrum for the newbies. Wind chairman Anthony Lacavera stated yesterday that his company isn’t “going to go out and try to bid on something we have zero chance of winning.”

Public Mobile agrees. The Big Three oligopoly of Rogers, Telus, and Bell can easily out-bid all of the discount carriers in a free-for-all auction. Bruce Kirby, vice-president of strategy and business for Public, says ” it’s not worth spending the money to go into [the auction]” if the rules “are structured in a way that you can’t reasonably compete and have a fair chance of winning spectrum.”

Critics say that without spectrum accessible to the newcomers, innovation and progress in Canada’s laggard telecom industry will come to an abrupt end. Rogers vehemently opposes the idea of government setting aside spectrum, while Telus suggests caps so that no one can acquire too many new waves.

The government has continued to delay announcing the official rules. Originally they were to be announced by the end of last year. The auction itself may be delayed as a result—it was originally slated for this year but may be pushed to 2013.