Friday, September 23, 2011
Rogers Communications Inc. is taking public lobbying efforts to have an auction of key airwaves set up in the telecommunication giant’s favour, the National Post's Jamie Sturgeon reports. Rogers, the country’s largest mobile operator, has quietly launched a campaign asking Canadians to email elected officials to ask for an “open and fair” auction of the all-important 700Mhz radio spectrum band Ottawa has slated for sale next year.
The move is tied to broader efforts among all three sector incumbents Rogers, Bell Mobility and Telus Corp. to convince new Industry Minister Christian Paradis and bureaucrats in his department that the three should not be excluded from bidding on any portion of the band, which is ideal for mobile Internet use and hence critical to the carriers’ long-term wireless plans.
On a website, Rogers is asking Canadians — and especially its more than nine million mobile customers — to “respectfully urge” policy-makers “to allow free and open access to the 700-megahertz spectrum by allowing all companies to participate in the upcoming auction.
Rogers and the other incumbent operators are worried Ottawa will once again set some licences aside exclusively for a handful of smaller new entrant firms like Wind Mobile. Industry Canada adopted the “set-aside” auction structure during the last sale in 2008, a move resulting in the current competitive environment consumer advocates say has yielded better services and lower prices.
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