The rumours are buzzing that a major announcement is due after 4pm this afternoon regarding Canada’s wireless spectrum allocation.
Watch this post for ongoing coverage. And look for full coverage at StartupNorth.ca later today -and- another highly-related announcement I can’t wait to tell you about.
more to come…
The news is out! And the media is already calling it a blockbuster announcement.
- 40 of the 105 available megahertz will be set aside for new entrants
- Incumbents will be required to allow roaming on their networks at reasonable rates (this is crutial as any new entrant could start regionally or take up to a few years to establish full national coverage)
- Incumbents will be required to share towers with new entrants (significantly reducing potential costs and redundant infrastructure for new entrants)
In so doing, the government has given the would-be entrants (and pretty much everyone except for the existing telcos and their bankers) everything that they were asking for.
The game is now on for startups and new entrants in the Canadian wireless space.
link: Official Announcement…
UPDATE: Read the full post on Startup north Finally, Wireless Competition Explodes in Canada And don’t forget to digg it.
Rogers cracks and offers (a rather unheralded) $65 1 gig wireless data plan in Canada. Here’s a link to that plan on a partner site, and apparently if you call rogers their agents will know about the $65 plan (thanks to farhan for the tip). No voice minutes included and plus system access fee, and not unlimited but this is a start.
Rogers’ new plan follows Telus’ introduction of a similar $60 1GB/ $100 unlimited plan (link) and a Bell plan for $75/ 1GB available for PC cards only.
Bell also recently added a mysterious $7/mo and “unlimited” mobile browsing while “However, a customer support representative said you can’t send big attachments with e-mails or download files from websites with the $7 plan”. A prize for anyone who can explain this to me.
And the mainstream media is starting to take notice, both the Toronto Star “Wireless data charges plummet as consumers embrace smartphones” and the Globe & Mail “Canadians pay more for wireless data” have taken note of the issue and a recent Seaboard report on Canadian Wireless.
“Our findings? Data rates in Canada have plummeted in recent months. It is now far more affordable to be a data user in Canada than it was as recently as this past June. Are there other places where you can get even better deals? Yes. The U.S. offers better plans for better rates, and some of the Euro plans, especially in the wake of repricing due to the introduction of the iPhone, are far more attractive than data options available to Canadians.”
So what other gaps remain? Widespread rollouts of highspeed networks have lagged in Canada. And handsets are an issue too. Canadian carriers, can I have my Nokia n-series please?
From Intel’s developer forum today:
“Intel is developing a Wimax enabled CPU [chipset?] called Echo Creek in the middle of next year, with a number of vendors committing to producing notebooks that use the chip. By 2012, over a billion people will be covered by Wimax and 150 million by 2008.
.. in mid 2008, will launch the Montevino platform with a new chipset with integrated wi-fi and Wimax that will support both HD formats. There will be a 25 watt version available. Montevina is out of the lab and products will ship next May. “
In Canada all the WiMax spectrum is owned by, er, Bell and Rogers.