The Canadian government today finally announced updated foreign ownership rules along with details about its next spectrum auction. The new rules are expected to bring about greater competition.
“Our government has taken significant action to promote competition in the wireless sector, and our decisions have helped to reduce mobile wireless prices for Canadian families by 10 percent since 2008,” said Minister Paradis.
The Canadian government will loosen the foreign ownership rules for telecom companies. Foreign companies will now be able take up full 100% ownership of any carrier with less than a 10 percent market share. To date, foreign ownership (through direct and indirect investment) had been limited to 46.7 percent. The rules will allow these companies to grow beyond ten 10% with no changes to the ownership rules as long as they do so without merging with a competitor.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis also announced that the next wireless auction, covering 700MHz spectrum will take place in the first half of 2013. A second auction for the 2500MHz spectrum will then follow within a year. The rules for both auctions will be the same.
Rather than setting aside a certain amount of spectrum for smaller competitors, the government will apply caps so that each region will have at least four service providers. The 700MHz auction will also see a limit on prime spectrum imposed on incumbents to “effectively reserve prime spectrum for new entrants and regional providers.” The government also expects carriers to rollout deploy network coverage on this new spectrum “in a timely fashion.”
The government will also make changes to tower sharing and roaming policies in a bid to improve and further extend them.
Read more: Industry Canada