One of the smaller players in Canada's telecom industry has slammed Ottawa's attempts to increase competition in the sector.
“The reality is that consumers will face higher prices, fewer choices and a return to the era of incumbent dominated wireless," Globalive Wireless Management Corp. said in a release.
Globalive is the parent of Wind Mobile.
"The announcement creates the illusion that the government has gone all-in to create a competitive wireless landscape, when they've only done half the job," said Wind Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis on Wednesday announced the government would be placing limits on the coming wireless spectrum auction of radio waves in the 700 and 2,500 MHz frequency bands for large players and the lifting of foreign investment limits for small telecom firms.
Paradis said Ottawa will lift restrictions on foreign investment in firms with less than 10 per cent of market share by revenue.
Smaller players had said they couldn’t compete with the financial weight of the big firms — Bell, Rogers and Telus — without access to capital from foreign investors.
Paradis also announced Ottawa will limit how much spectrum the largest players can buy through the auction.
It will set aside one of four blocks of the new spectrum for new entrants and regional providers.
The changes to the auction rules will let at least four companies obtain spectrum in each of Canada's 14 licence areas.
But Lacavera said it will mean companies won't get the airwaves they need to compete.
"The government is prepared to take credit for creating a level playing field in the upcoming auction, when all they've really done is stack the deck in favour of the incumbents" — a reference to Bell, Rogers and Telus.
"To build out an LTE network, 10 MHz of spectrum is necessary. This decision only allows new entrants access to half that amount and will prevent any carriers, other than the incumbents, from building faster networks and keeping up with the increased consumer demand for the best available smartphone technology," said Lacavera.
LTE refers to long-term evolution networks, which can handle faster and more advanced technology, and accommodate the latest smartphones.
"Delivering on foreign ownership is only half of the equation. We've spent countless months telling the government that caps will destroy our ability to compete with the incumbents in the next auction, thereby crippling wireless competition in Canada," he said.
Wind slams wireless auction changes - Business - CBC News