Monday, July 21, 2008

Wireless Spectrum bidding ends, new Wireless Carrier for Canada

If your not Canadian, this probably isn't a lot of interest to you. However for Canadians this is excellent news. Yak Communications announced today that they have won spectrum across all of Canada (with the expected and notable exclusion of Quebec) and are intent on providing cellular access. There press release alludes to the current high prices and lack of service on existing Canadian wireless carriers. Sadly the spectrum they own won't work with any of my existing phones, but maybe for the next openmoko :P Anyways more competition is good, and certainly needed.
The full text of the press release since doesn't seem to be on the wire services yet:


    Globalive set to become a major wireless carrier in Canada

    TORONTO – July 21, 2008 Globalive Wireless Management Corp. is pleased to announce that it has provisionally won spectrum in Industry Canada’s Advanced Wireless Services Spectrum Auction across Canada (excluding Quebec) with an investment of over $442 million. With this victory, Globalive has set the stage to become a major presence in the Canadian telecom market.

    “This is an historic event for wireless users across the country,” said Anthony Lacavera, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Globalive Communications Corp. “It marks a new era of choice in Canada’s wireless world. At Globalive, we have earned a track record of innovation; that’s exactly what Canadians can expect from us when we announce our wireless offerings.”

    The auction, which began May 27, 2008 and concluded earlier today, was initiated by the federal government to increase competition in Canada’s wireless market. The reasons that led to the auction include:

    * Higher prices- Canadians pay an average of 60% more for mobile wireless services than Americans according to the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel (Final Report, March 22, 2006).

    * Fewer services – Canadians are missing out on high-tech mobile services. These services are becoming an integral part of modern business life (such as lightning fast internet connections, video-conferencing, video and TV streaming, and interactive application sharing) are not being introduced in Canada at the same rate as the rest of the world.
    * Low penetration - Only 58% of Canadians have a wireless device, such as a mobile phone, compared to the United States where more than 77% have a wireless device. Other industrialized countries, such as the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, have wireless device penetration of over 100% (The Economist’s Pocket World in Figures, 2007 edition).

    Globalive Wireless Management Corp., which was formed to participate in the auction, includes a leading international wireless operator in Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E.

    “The domestic knowledge of Globalive, combined with the worldwide wireless expertise of Orascom Telecom, will allow us to bring the best practices in wireless to Canada,” said Michael O’Connor, Vice-President, Globalive Wireless Management Corp.

Three cheers for (hopefully) lower cell phone (and more importantly data) costs :)
Update: The end of the spectrum auction announcement has now hit the news wires
Update 2:A friend of mine pointed out this story about Orascom (one of the Globalive partners) possibly being involved in rebuilding the North Korean Hotel.

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