Wireless Wonkiness


Bernard Lord, president and CEO of the CWTA was recently pontificating at the Intelligent Communities Summit about why wireless services in Canada are so great. He’s generally a well prepared guy but in this case it seems that he should have done his homework a little more carefully.

Fact Checking

He was quoted as making a few points that got our eyes rolling;

…federal fees firms pay to access the airwaves are unreasonable,…

a repeated message was Lord’s view that Ottawa charges too much - more than $4 billion for the entire industry the last year-and-a-half - for spectrum.

The fees that mobile carriers pay for their spectrum use was based upon the price that they bid for the license—if it’s unreasonable shame on them for bidding.


Canada is a world leader in wireless communication,

While I wish it were true, we are actually always a day late and a dollar more expensive. We stumbled and fumbled with GSM, lag behind the US in the introduction of new smartphones and just about never make it to the party in real advancements in mobile services.


industry pays steep fees for the public service companies are providing through new infrastructure and initiatives such as mobile amber alert technology and enhanced 9-1-1 service.

As it turns out customers pay all of these “steep” fees and do not see much in return.


We will need more spectrum,

Really? You might want to look at how efficiently you are using the spectrum right now. We suspect that much of the wireless spectrum out there is not being utilized to it’s fullest extent.

CWTA suggestions

Instead of having your president spend his time trying to spin us a good yarn about your great mobile services how about making some real changes to reflect what your customers want. Such as;

  • Easy to understand service offerings,
  • Long distance that reflects that most traffic is carried on wireline,
  • SMS messages priced as data and
  • data costs in line with the rest of the world.

Bonus question


Why does the Intelligent Communities Summit logo look like a shopping cart?

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