Archived — Comments from Mobility Canada - DGTP-017-98
45 O'Connor Street, Suite 1800
November 30, 1998
Mr. Michael Helm
Telecommunications Policy Branch
Jean Edmonds Tower North
300 Slater Street
Subject: Gazette Notice No. DGTP-017-98
Receipt of an Application for Temporary Relief of the Application of the Spectrum Cap
Published in the Canada Gazette, Part I dated October 31, 1998
Dear Mr. Helm:
1. Mobility Canada is pleased to offer the following comments on behalf of its member companies in response to Canada Gazette Notice No. DGTP-0 17-98 concerning the receipt of an application, from Clearnet Communications Inc., for temporary relief of the application of the spectrum cap.
2. Mobility Canada's comments are submitted on behalf of the following member companies BCE Mobile Communications Inc., BC TEL Mobility, The Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay Telephone, Island Telecom Inc., Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., MT&T Mobility Inc., NBTel Inc., NewTel Mobility Limited, Québectel Mobilité, SaskTel Mobility, TELUS Mobility Inc., Nortel Mobility Inc., Northwestel Mobility Inc., Prince Rupert City Telephones and Telébec Mobilité (collectively, "the members").
3. Mobility Canada supports the removal of the spectrum cap as requested in Clearnet's application and submits that the application underscores the importance of removing artificial restrictions, such as spectrum caps, which prevent companies in a competitive industry from responding to the needs and demands of the market. In this regard, Mobility Canada applauds the recent initiative of Industry Canada to remove restrictions on transfers of licence for PCS effective December 18, 1998.
4. Mobility Canada notes that the wireless market in Canada is intensely competitive and as such Mobility Canada is strongly of the view that spectrum caps, as a policy instrument, have outlived their usefulness and, more importantly, are no longer appropriate given the conditions which exist in the market today. Mobility Canada submits that rather than policy instruments, such as spectrum caps, market forces should be relied upon to ensure that service providers are disciplined and that consumers receive the benefits which will flow from the development of sustainably competitive markets.
5. Mobility Canada notes that by any standard the Canadian wireless market is intensely and workably competitive. Prices have and are continuing to fall dramatically. Consumer choice has been significantly increased over the past year with even further choice becoming available as the Department prepares to license providers of broadband wireless service. Moreover, there are no bottleneck facilities, an ever increasing choice of service options available from an expanding array of alternate providers and no wireless service providers exercise market power.
6. Mobility Canada notes that in related Gazette Notice, DGTP-015-98 Review of the Spectrum Cap Applied to Providers of Personal Communications Services, the Department states that:
An objective of the policy was to provide a greater opportunity for competition in the provision of PCS than had existed in the duopoly provision of cellular services, as competition is considered to provide the most efficient means of achieving more aggressive deployment and implementation strategies, lower prices, greater consumer choice and an accelerated introduction of innovative new services.
7. Mobility Canada observes that the first application for relief from the spectrum cap originates from a new entrant. This suggests not only that the original objectives of the policy have been served, but that retention of the policy will actually prevent continued achievement of those objectives.
8. Finally, Mobility Canada notes that with the release of the Framework for Spectrum Auctions in Canada, Notice No. DGRB-002-98, dated August 28, 1998 (the "Auctions Framework") the Department has signaled a significant step toward increased reliance on market forces, which in spirit, in Mobility Canada's view, supports the removal of the spectrum cap.
9. Consequently, for the above reasons, Mobility Canada supports Clearnet's application for the temporary relief of the application of the spectrum cap. Moreover, Mobility Canada submits that similar applications for additional spectrum by other incumbents, either through thr acquisition of additional spectrum or the transfer in whole or in part of a licence, should also be approved.
10. The removal of the spectrum cap and the reliance on secondary markets to allocate resources are two ways to assure that carriers can acquire additional spectrum quickly and efficiently when capacity constraints occur and as the market demand for new services dictate.
Government & Regulatory Affairs
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