The government of Canada said that it will review all spectrum transfers and “undue spectrum concentration” will not be permitted, as the country looks set for a round of consolidation in its mobile market.
The regulator said that as of this week, it will assess all applications and decisions will be made on a “case-by-case” basis. The judgements will also be made publicly, to increase transparency.
According to figures from GSMA Intelligence, Canada’s “big three” operators – Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, and Telus – jointly hold around 88 per cent of the mobile market.
The rest is shared out among a bevy of rivals –around 15 – none of which forms a serious, nationwide rival to the established incumbents.
In several cases, these new entrants are struggling for survival, leading to either confirmed or rumoured deals which would lead to spectrum transfers.
Last month, the Canadian authorities blocked an acquisition on new-entrant Mobilicity by Telus, on the grounds that Mobilicity’s frequencies were allocated via a process designed to enable new entrants – and which at the current time cannot be transferred to an established player.
Rogers announced a deal with media company Quebecor (Videotron) which could also see some spectrum transferred – subject to approval.
Public Mobile was recently acquired by investment firms Thomvest Seed Capital and Cartesian Capital, with a “commitment to fully fund Public Mobile to a cash-flow positive position”.
Last week, another new entrant was in the spotlight: Wind Mobile.
According to reports, Verizon Communications is eyeing Wind, and is also pursuing talks with Mobilicity with a view to combining the two. Previously, Wind was linked with a deal for Mobilicity deal off its own bat.
The Verizon talks follow a decision by VimpelCom to withdraw its attempt to take control of Wind.