To set the scene for you yesterday at the Empire Club luncheon: Perre Karl Peladeau, CEO of Quebecor and would-be new entrant in the Canadian mobile industry, 200 investment bankers in serious suits, former prime minister Brian Mulroney of Canada sharing the rubber chicken, and one blogger/web2.0 troublemaker.
: I am here to talk about the future of wireless
Holds up an iphone, could cost $900/month to use all the features of an iPhone, you might have to take out a mortgage
RIM is jewel of Canadian genius, but a lot of Canadians don’t have access, because it is priced out of the market.
The very symbol of Canadian wireless success is being denied to Canadians
Why we need more competition
Status quo: restricting the growth of new media. Wireless is the future. We are impairing our capacity to compete in the world. We have fallen behind
We are asking the federal govnt to set rules to ensure competition
– Enough spectrum- existing owners have enough spectrum already, but would buy to shut out completion
– Spectrum is more valuable for any operator who wants to block access than to a company that wants to gain access because the latter needs to build infrastructure
– Monopolies carry great weight and spend millions in Ottawa
– As a Canadian, wants to see more services and lower prices 3g is essential to news gathering and is essential to all businesses in Canada.
Pierre is asking for the following rules
- Segment of spectrum should be set aside for new entrants
- Pole sharing: Incumbents should be required to share pre-existing towers and poles with new entrants.
- Roaming within Canada while rollout – Rollout of any new service will take time, existing carries should be required to allow
Canada deserves better let the new low cost competitive market begin. [end]
Pierre is yet cagey as weather Quebecor would expand nation-wide.
Of course, before we get too excited, remember that despite these fine words, Pierre won’t be giving away new wireless services for free. It will cost billions in spectrum + infrastructure to rollout. Pierre will have a plan to earn this back.
Still more completion is the best thing that could happen for Canadian consumers, Canadian culture and Canadian businesses (well all but a certain three Canadian Businesses). The facts on the ground are unambiguous. Canada is not competitive globally in wireless, and something needs to change.
Much more coverage of the event in the mainstream press.