I write regarding Geoff Meeker’s column of Aug. 26, “More competition is always better than less,” page D1.
Canada’s wireless industry is ready to compete head-on with foreign-owned companies on a fair and level playing field, but we need to close
the loopholes before opening the border.
With respect to the upcoming spectrum auction, the rules were originally designed to encourage new Canadian entrants in the Canadian marketplace. Now, the unintended consequence of government regulation is the inadvertent creation of loopholes. In this case, enormous loopholes that could be exploited by giant foreign incumbents. That’s what our Canadian wireless companies face today.
To level the playing field, the government must close the loophole that allows two prime spectrum blocks to be scooped up by a foreign company when some Canadian companies can only bid on one each.
They must also close the loophole that would allow a foreign giant to piggyback on the networks built by Canadian companies, instead of deploying its own.
Why give others unfair advantage?
There is no reason for Canada to
grant these advantages to foreign companies when Canadian companies wouldn’t be granted similar advantages in foreign countries. The result won’t be smart regulation for consumers but effectively more government intervention and interference in the marketplace.
I support the federal government’s objective of ensuring that Canada is a world leader in wireless telecommunications. When it comes to the economy and creating jobs, the role of government must be as much about avoiding interference as it is trying to influence outcomes.
There is always a danger of causing adverse consequences tomorrow with a shortsighted focus on today.
Bernard Lord, president and CEO
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications