OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 21, 2014) - Industry Canada
Industry Minister James Moore announced today that the Government of Canada will hold consultations on AWS-4 spectrum. The rollout of services using this spectrum will improve mobile services network coverage in virtually all rural and remote areas of Canada, which supports greater competition and provides more choice for wireless consumers. This wide-scale coverage also benefits commercial users, such as those in the resource sector, that work in isolated areas.
- AWS-4 spectrum can support mobile services using both satellite- and terrestrial-based networks across the country.
- The Government is consulting on proposed changes that would allow licensees to launch new services and create new competition in the Canadian wireless market.
- The proposed licensing framework for this spectrum will generally align with that of the United States, will create access to affordable equipment and will enable this spectrum to be put to use for the benefit of wireless consumers.
"Spectrum is a critical public resource, and it is our job as a government to ensure it is allocated in a way that encourages robust competition and choice in our wireless market. Canadian consumers have been clear that they want more choice, lower prices and better service. This consultation will allow Canadians to have a say on how to improve mobile services in rural and remote communities."
- Industry Minister James Moore
• Consultation Paper
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Consultation on AWS-4 spectrum to improve mobile services in rural and remote communities across Canada
AWS-4 spectrum in the 2 GHz band is currently licensed to provide mobile services using both satellites in orbit and towers here on earth to deliver signals to mobile users. One of the satellites already launched for this band has unique rural coverage capability, providing both voice and data services to smart phones in virtually all of Canada. This wide-scale coverage also benefits commercial users, such as those in the resource sector, that work in isolated areas.
Industry Canada is consulting on the best approach to updating the licensing framework for AWS-4 services, which would allow licensees to deliver improved mobile services to rural Canadians and would create competition that would in turn benefit all Canadians with more choice. Key elements of the proposed approach include the following:
- Licensees for this spectrum should be required to provide satellite services that will benefit rural Canadians but also have the flexibility to offer services using a land-based network. This would enable them to compete with other commercial mobile providers and offer Canadians the benefits of more choice.
- This spectrum would continue to be licensed to Gamma Acquisition Canada ULC (a subsidiary of DISH Network Inc.) and TerreStar Solutions Inc. They are licensees in good standing and have made significant investments to launch a satellite that can be used to provide these services. These licences should be generally aligned with those issued in the U.S. to promote the availability of reasonably priced smart phones in the Canadian market.
- Strict rollout obligations-for example, a requirement to serve 30 percent of Canada's population within five years-should be included in the conditions of licence to promote this spectrum being put to use quickly for the benefit of Canadians.
The proposed policy, technical and licensing framework for this spectrum can be found on the Industry Canada website. Comments received as part of this consultation will be posted to the 2014 Consultations page.