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Fed-up Telus takes government to court over spectrum transfer rules

30 Jul 2013

Canada’s Telus has filed a Federal Court case against the government opposing the recent policy decisions on restricting wireless spectrum licence transfers, in which the operator says it is seeking clarity on the legality of last month’s rulings, which effectively blocked Telus’ attempted takeover of smaller cellco Mobilicity, Reuters reports. The spectrum transfer policy aims to block any transactions which result in ‘undue spectrum concentration’, but Telus claims that it could result in foreign entrants gaining advantages over Canadian firms. Recent reports say that US wireless giant Verizon is negotiating on the potential takeover of second-tier Canadian cellco Wind Mobile as well as looking at the possibility of acquiring Mobilicity ahead of a nationwide 4G licence auction. Telus argues that when Mobilicity and Wind bought their spectrum, they (and other new entrants in the 2008 AWS licence auction) did so under the understanding they could sell those licences to larger incumbents after five years as per regulations, but the new spectrum transfer policy makes it unlikely that either Telus or its national peers Rogers or Bell would be allowed to make such a purchase under rules requiring a case-by-case examination, and Industry Canada, the ministry with final say on licensing, having explicitly stated that it does not support the resale of the AWS licences to the three incumbents.

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