Shaw Communications Supports Canadian Government’s Direction on 600 Mhz Spectrum Auction

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Shaw Communications Inc. has submitted its final written submissions to the Ministry of Industry, Science and Economic Development consultation regarding the 600 MHz spectrum auction, reiterating its strong support for the federal government’s proposed spectrum policy framework that will help achieve a truly competitive and dynamic wireless landscape.

“Shaw is ready to step up and complete the job of creating a compelling alternative in Canada’s wireless market, but we cannot achieve these aspirations without the amount and type of spectrum we need to build a stronger network for Canadians,” said Jay Mehr, President, Shaw Communications.

“The 600 MHz spectrum auction provides a unique opportunity for the government to correct the huge imbalance in spectrum holdings between the Big Three and real competitors like Shaw.”

In its submissions, Shaw noted that over 90 per cent of the available highly valuable low-band wireless spectrum in Canada is currently controlled by the largest three companies that dominate the market – Rogers, Bell and Telus. These companies, through their primary and sub brands, leverage these holdings to maintain control over 90 per cent of market share.

“This is the last foreseeable opportunity to make more low-frequency spectrum available,” Shaw says in its filing, and the government “has appropriately proposed a set-aside to ensure that new competitors have the opportunity to bid on the spectrum they need to invest in robust networks and provide real, sustainable choice in the wireless market over the long term.”

“If the Big Three have the chance to block strong competitors from the market, they will,” Mehr said. “This would destroy the prospects for a truly competitive wireless market that is capable of meeting the evolving and escalating needs of Canadians. A substantial set-aside is the only protection against this outcome. It will help break the status quo and end the game where the Big Three win and Canadians lose.”

“This consultation is critically important to the future of wireless competition in Canada and Canada’s innovation economy. We believe Canadians deserve better and we are working to improve our mobile marketplace on their behalf,” Mehr said.

“Canadians need the most valuable, most affordable and most innovative services possible, and our economic future depends on the availability of strong alternatives for world-leading mobile connectivity over the long term,” Shaw argues in its submission. “Shaw and other new facilities-based competitors in the wireless market have shown their commitment, ability and effectiveness in bringing competitive discipline to an uncompetitive market.”

However, the Big Three continue to dominate. “This isn’t surprising given the spectrum advantages of the Big Three,” Mehr said. “More innovative and affordable services for consumers will only come through investment in leading alternative networks and sustainable competition without compromise, and that’s exactly what Shaw will continue to work hard to provide.”

“Shaw fully supports the need for bold spectrum policy measures to bring true, sustainable competition to the wireless market for the long-term, and we applaud the direction the government is heading,” Mehr said.