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Rules will NOT be Bent for Telus

4 June 2013

Just last week we asked whether or not the government should bend the rules to allow the Telus takeover of Mobilicity. The ruling has come down and it turns out, they’re not. The spectrum, or radio waves, that Mobilicity purchased upon their start-up cannot be transferred until next February. In a statement issued today, Industry Minister Christian Paradis has said that the rule will stand, and that Mobilicity’s spectrum will remain theirs until the date already in place.

The government is standing by this rule in order to encourage competition in the ever-growing mobile marketplace. Paradis also said that his ultimate goal is to have four different mobile companies in every area of Canada to give consumers the best deal possible. But while some think this is a good start to getting this accomplished, others think that it’s going to be consumers that are left suffering from the decision.

Not surprisingly, Telus has been one of the biggest critics of the decision. The mobile giant has said for a long time that without financial help, it would be Mobilicity customers and staff, whom Telus would continue to support and serve, are going to be the ones that feel the pinch the hardest from this decision.

“They now face considerable uncertainty due to pressing financial challenges facing the company,” Telus said in a statement.

But Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa that specializes in e-commerce, said that this most recent move by the government is “defensible.” He does think however, that policymakers need to do even more to ensure that consumers are protected, and that they ultimately achieve the goals that they’re looking to.

“The government needs to do more than simply buy time by enforcing the five year spectrum set-aside rule,” says Geist. “There are a host of possibilities, including fully opening the market to telecom and broadcast distributors, tough rules on domestic roaming and tower sharing, a full set-aside in the forthcoming spectrum auction, or a regulated wholesale market to create a strong class of MVNO (mobile virtue network operator) competitors.”

Do you agree or disagree with the government’s latest move to restrict the transference of spectrum? Do you think it’s enough?

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