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MaynardKrebs
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Wireless auction for new entrants only?

»www.theglobeandmail.com/report-o···9487740/

»business.financialpost.com/2014/···57c-cee7

Industry Minister James Moore announced Monday his government will auction prime AWS-3 spectrum, but in a way that would motivate an investor to buy and combine smaller, struggling firms such as Mobilicity and Wind Mobile.

a.k.a. the Videotron gift auction rules »business.financialpost.com/2014/···carrier/

The AWS-3 band also includes 50 MHz of paired spectrum and is adjacent to the AWS spectrum auctioned in 2008.


elitefx

join:2011-02-14
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Well, if I read it correctly the new spectrum is next to useless for any startup provider who wants to provide reliable service at an affordable cost:

said by CBC :

The AWS band up for grabs is of a higher frequency than most of what's currently being used, which means it's able to transmit more data if you can get a signal, but it's less able to penetrate thick walls such as parking garages and subways. It's also less useful in remote areas, because you need more cellular towers closer together in order to get a signal.

»www.cbc.ca/news/business/aws-3-w···.2698481


El Quintron
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reply to MaynardKrebs
I was just going to post about this, but MaynardKrebs See Profile beat me to it. Even if it isn't the best spectrum out there, it's good news that we're going to get another set aside, and it seems like the long awaited merger between Wind and Mobilicity is being set in motion by telecom regulators.

Mixed good news I think.
EQ
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El Quintron
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reply to MaynardKrebs
Peter Nowak has not one but two write ups on this:

»alphabeatic.com/moore-auction/

»alphabeatic.com/wind-auction/

Some good analysis going on there.
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MaynardKrebs
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Bankruptcy Court should just let Mobilicity die, then the Feds can GIVE their spectrum to WIND as compensation for the fucking over Wind got (or let Wind pay for it as $1/month per subscriber - Holy System Access Fee, Batman!!!!). Ergo, we have an instant 4th LTE competitor, especially if roaming rates come down.

Videotron has a couple year build-out ahead of them if they even decide to roll into the ROC.

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reply to elitefx
said by elitefx:

Well, if I read it correctly the new spectrum is next to useless for any startup provider who wants to provide reliable service at an affordable cost:

Unless Videotron buys out or is operating in every region they want this spectrum, they don't qualify for it.

According to the Globe article, in order to qualify, new entrants have to be operating in that region. So Wind would qualify in a greater portion of the country than Videotron.

Based on the offerings, I'm hoping that Wind sticks it out and is able to use this additional spectrum.


elwoodblues
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Or Quebecor buys Wind and then they have spectrum everywhere.
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ings
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reply to El Quintron
said by El Quintron:

Some good analysis going on there.

From one of the posts: "... but it’s ultimately not surprising given the government’s consistent position – going on seven years now – of trying to inject new competition into the wireless market."

You would think that after seven years of a failed strategy, the government would either give up meddling in the market or try something different. But nope - more of the same while expecting a different result - recalling the oft quoted definition of insanity.

Dave Ings


El Quintron
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said by ings:

You would think that after seven years of a failed strategy, the government would either give up meddling in the market or try something different.

I agree that meddling is stupid, rather than getting a full on updated regulatory system.
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Guspaz
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reply to MaynardKrebs
Videotron has publicly stated in official releases that they are looking into buying both WIND and Mobilicity. The rules that only companies currently operating in a region can bid is clearly designed to encourage Videotron to buy out one or both of them. Obviously, this is what the government wants, to consolidate all remaining new entrants in Videotron, taking them one step closer to having a fourth national carrier.

It's also worth noting that WIND is the only company currently in a position to bid on the spectrum. Mobilicity is the only other company, and they have no cash. If Mobilicity isn't purchased by a non-incumbent by the auction, WIND will get the spectrum for free by default (due to no other bidders).

I think the only question now is, who is Videotron going to buy, and are they going to buy them before or after the auction.
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elwoodblues
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They'll buy Wind after, free spectrum.

Now the $64 question will we get Bellus After bell and telus merge .
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Guspaz
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If they buy WIND before, or both WIND and Mobilicity, they still get the spectrum for free. The only scenario where they don't get the spectrum free is if they buy Mobilicity but not WIND.

You could also say that buying the company before they get the spectrum is the cheaper solution. Before WIND buys the spectrum, the company is worth less than after, even if they got the spectrum free.
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El Quintron
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reply to Guspaz
said by Guspaz:

I think the only question now is, who is Videotron going to buy, and are they going to buy them before or after the auction.

I'd rather see a merger between WIND and Mobilicity rather than Videotron buying either or both of them off. Should Videotron buy either or both, how long do you think it will be before we see a "Quadropoly" much to the dismay of the Cons I'm sure.

EQ
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MaynardKrebs
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reply to Guspaz
said by Guspaz:

I think the only question now is, who is Videotron going to buy, and are they going to buy them before or after the auction.

And then we'll be stuck with ROBELLUSTRON and no more spectrum to entice the next round of suckers operators into the market to provide lower costs to Canadians.

What we need is Wind to get stronger, some way for Wind to get into Quebec (either by spectrum swap/acquisition/lower roaming rates, AND for Videotron to roll nationally. Then we have 5 national competitors, and competition analysts will tell you that 5-6 competitors is where consumer pricing gets interesting.

Wind & Eastlink would be a good fit to spectrum share a la BELLUS, giving both mostly national coverage (excluding Quebec & the far north).


Guspaz
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reply to MaynardKrebs
WIND ending out on top would definitely lead to the lowest prices, but they can't get the Quebec spectrum, because Videotron is the only one who qualifies to buy it (they're the only company with a network in Quebec with less than 20% provincial marketshare).

Videotron ending out on top will lead to lower prices, but not as low as they'd be with WIND. Videotron charges about 40-45% less than the incumbents (in Ontario), while WIND charges even less (I'd say how much, but their site is broken right now).
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MaynardKrebs
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2 edits
Like I said up top, the new 'auction' rules are a gift to Videotron disguised as an auction.

If this government were smart - and they're not - they'd be looking for 5 national players, and finding a way for Wind to get more spectrum across the country so they can go LTE and to get enough spectrum in Quebec to offer service there, AND find a way to make it 'platable' (ie. satiate Videotron's whining) for Videotron to expand into other provinces.

Only then will prices come down across the country. Wind's prices would probably be about the same as they are now, Videotron's too. Robellus customers would see price drops somewhere into the Videotron+a bit range, as Robellus would still be able to say they had a higher quality network.

Don't forget, Wind is a one-trick wireless pony, whereas all the others have two or three services they can offer, and Wind does not even have any of that oh-so-juicy 700MHz spectrum to offer, so Wind will always be at a cost disadvantage in building out their network for the same coverage quality.

A while back I posted
»Re: Cell Service ... Pay More and More and More
"Now if Wind did a kickstarter with ALL their existing customers for $100 each now, with the promise of a $10/month reduction in their monthly bill for the next 24 months, Wind could raise enough dough to buy Mobi (with some thrown in by Lacavera, et. al). Sure we'd seem like loansharks to Wind, but that's the price they have to pay if they want to go big or go home."

I'd kick in for a deal like that even @ a $6/month discount (that's about a 20% annualized return on investment vs. 1% in the bank) - whether for buying Mobi, or spectrum in Quebec.

Wind's gotta get creative, but I'm sure their hands are tied pretty tight by Vimpelcom. Vimpelcom would probably just raid Wind's bank account if they managed to raise $100M from their customers like I proposed.

MaynardKrebs
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reply to MaynardKrebs
Question: If Wind & Eastlink would be a good fit to spectrum share a la BELLUS, giving both mostly national coverage (excluding Quebec & the far north), what would it take to re-program all the Wind handsets in the field to 'roam' on Eastlink if Eastlink towers were detected, and vice versa - instead of roaming on Rogers in those regions?

Could Wind/Eastlink push new firmware remotely that did this or would customers have to come into a store? Would it be hard to do this on mere flip-phones? I'm presuming that smartphones wouldn't be an issue.


Guspaz
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reply to MaynardKrebs
Carriers can update the relevant config in smartphones over the air, yes.


El Quintron
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said by Guspaz:

Carriers can update the relevant config in smartphones over the air, yes.

Is that relevant if the phone's radio can't read the proper frequency to operate on the network? It's fine for a penta-band that basically covers all networks but AFAIK, not all phones support this.

EQ
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Guspaz
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reply to MaynardKrebs
The phone needs to support that frequency, obviously. But they can change the default network that the phone will connect to, or whatever.
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MaynardKrebs
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This would be great if Wind/Eastlink could do a deal. Coast-to-coast coverage (except Quebec). If they did that soon, (before the AWS-3 auction terms were set) then the EastWind/WindLink network operators could whine to Ottawa about needing the 'necessary conditions' to operate in Quebec.

Ottawa would have to take this as seriously as the gift they're about to hand to Videotron because of their whining.


elwoodblues
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reply to MaynardKrebs
I'm on my phone so I can't post the link, but you have to read the FUD in the national post today.

You would swear it was written by Mark Goldberg ( the poor incumbents is the general theme)
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analog andy

join:2005-01-03
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reply to MaynardKrebs
said by MaynardKrebs:

A while back I posted
»Re: Cell Service ... Pay More and More and More
"Now if Wind did a kickstarter with ALL their existing customers for $100 each now, with the promise of a $10/month reduction in their monthly bill for the next 24 months, Wind could raise enough dough to buy Mobi (with some thrown in by Lacavera, et. al). Sure we'd seem like loansharks to Wind, but that's the price they have to pay if they want to go big or go home."

I'd kick in for a deal like that even @ a $6/month discount (that's about a 20% annualized return on investment vs. 1% in the bank) - whether for buying Mobi, or spectrum in Quebec.

Wind's gotta get creative, but I'm sure their hands are tied pretty tight by Vimpelcom. Vimpelcom would probably just raid Wind's bank account if they managed to raise $100M from their customers like I proposed.

I'd kick in $200-500 if it meant it would lead to lower prices in Canada.