Canada's 700 MHz auction generating more attention than foreign ownership debate

Now that Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) has said it will not expand into the Canadian wireless market, Canadian regulators and carriers seem more focused on the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction in January than on the tangle over foreign ownership rules. The Canadian government lifted foreign ownership limits on telecoms companies with 10 percent or less of the market but has maintained limits on incumbents Bell Mobility, Telus and Rogers Communications. "Our policy is the auction and we'll see what happens through the auction," Industry Minister James Moore told Reuters when asked if Canada would get rid of the limits for the incumbents. The government has also warned carriers not to talk openly about their strategies for buying spectrum, according to the Globe and Mail. Meanwhile, fledgling carriers Wind Mobile, EastLink and Public Mobile have committed to participating in the auction, though it is unclear whether Mobilicity will as well. "In the months ahead, we will continue to move forward on a path that ensures that consumers' interests are at the core," Moore told a gathering of the Canadian Club of Ottawa, a business group. "Not only of our telecommunications policy but also other government decisions." The full list of companies that will bid will be published next Monday. Article

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