Calling federal government regulations misguided, Rogers Communications has launched a public lobbying effort advocating for what it calls a "fair and open auction" of the 700Mhz radio spectrum band Ottawa has slated for sale next year.

Rogers who, combined with Bell and Telus Mobility, has almost 94% of the wireless market, want its more than nine million mobile customers to lobby the government in order to stop the government from "setting aside" spectrum in next year’s wireless auction.

Industry Canada first adopted the “set-aside” auction structure during the 2008 spectrum auction. The set aside prevented incumbents from buying up all the spectrum in the auction and freezing out any new competitors.

Thanks to the "set aside", a number of new wireless competitors such as Mobilicity, Public Mobile and Wind Mobile entered the Canadian wireless marketplace. The result has been more competition. In the wireless industry. Competition which has led to better wireless services and lower prices in the cities where the new entrants are competing.

For example, a recent study by Convergence Consulting Group Ltd. found that new entrants were offering combined voice and data plans that were 58 per cent cheaper than the big three and data plans that were as much as 83 per cent cheaper.

In its lobbying, Rogers is telling its customers that a "set aside" in next year’s auction will actually "erect barriers to national growth", and slowdown the deployment of new wireless technologies across the country.

New entrants such as Mobilicity call the Rogers campaign "a thinly veiled attempt at manipulating government regulators and public perception." Said Mobilicity Chief Operating Officer Stewart Lyons. “The future of affordable wireless rates is at risk, not the future of long-term evolution (LTE) networks.”

New entrants argue that without the set aside, the Big three will eliminate new entrants by outbidding them in the auction and then jacking up prices to consumers after the new entrants are frozen out of the market.

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