Big figures rule at Canadian Telecom Summit

Mark Golberg is a key
organizer of the summit.
He is a passionate advocate
of getting technology into
the hands of the poor. 
There were a lot of big figures in the raft of stories filed from the Canadian Telecom Summit this week in Toronto. The federal government is happy with the billion plus dollars that will flow from next year's spectrum auction. A New York hedge fund is selling $2 billion worth of Telus stock. Changes to foreign ownership restrictions on the $43 billion industry creates losers and winners. Class-action lawyers see big settlements from data leaks abetted by wireless technology.

J. Goss and Associates reports on the telecommunications industry for a number of clients. This week we've reviewed the following media stories:

Up to carriers to help poor get PCs, says CRTC head

"The federal telecommunications regulator can't help bring computers to poor families, the head of the agency has told a conference. “It think its incumbent on the [wired and wireless] carriers in Canada to take on that initiative … and start to work towards creating an opportunity for those people who may be underprivileged,” Leonard Katz, acting chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) told the Canadian Telecom Summit," ComputerWorld Canada reported.

Telecom consultant Mark Goldberg, one of the conference organizers who has been vocal on getting PCs to the poor and getting them online, said in an interview he isn’t disappointed with Katz’s remarks. “I wouldn’t have expected the CRTC to intervene,” he said. He has been speaking with carriers here with the message that it’s not a matter of getting involved for charity, but because “it’s the right thing to do.” Howard Solomon wrote for ComputerWorld Canada on June 5.

Canadians pay less than Americans for some wired and wireless services

"Katz also said something that might surprise most Canadians: on average they pay less for some wired and wireless services than Americans.
According to a soon-to-be-published commission report, the average Canadian wireless consumer who uses 450 voice minutes a month (voice) pays 30 per cent less than a person in the U.S., and on average 31 per cent less for wireless data," ComputerWorld Canada reported.

U.S. hedge fund looking for buyer for its $2-billion stake in Telus

"The U.S. hedge fund that battled Telus Corp. is shopping its almost 19-per-cent voting stake in the firm to global telecom companies interested in getting a head start should Canadian foreign-ownership rules be relaxed," Boyd Erman and Rita Trichur reported on June 5 for the Globe and Mail.

Any foreign telecom company that buys the Mason stock might have to wait some time to get its hands on more of Vancouver-based Telus. The news that Mason is interested in selling comes as federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis said liberalization of ownership rules on Canada’s largest telecom companies will not happen any time soon. “We will need to hold public hearings and this is not in the cards for now,” the Globe and Mail reported.

Collectors of user data at risk of class-action suits, lawyer warns

"As smartphones and other mobile devices proliferate, user information is also expanding rapidly as is the potential for its misuse. It all makes the risk of class-action litigation against anyone who collects personal details especially "palpable," Patrick Flaherty, a partner with Torys LLP in Toronto, said during a presentation on the potential of customer data at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto. Class-action lawyers see a rich opportunity due to the large number of possible plaintiffs, he said, plus a growing body of law in the United States where mass-breach cases are proceeding and yielding huge damage awards offers further encouragement to the Canadian plaintiff bar," Christine Dobby wrote for the Financial Post on Jun. 6.

Spectrum Auction, Ottawa content with rules 

"The Federal Industry Minister said Tuesday his department is satisfied with recent controversial policy decisions for the wireless and Internet sectors, indicating there won't be any major changes to rules surrounding a key auction for spectrum. … All firms in the sector are now eyeing the next auction slated for early 2013. The sale is shaping up to be a flashpoint for the industry in which new entrants will either acquire further spectrum to grow into viable competitors to Rogers, Bell or Telus or face being relegated to second-tier providers that analysts say will be bought out by the incumbents (who are eager to stabilize pricing). Industry Canada has set a final deadline of June 25 for comments on how the sale should be structured, but it appears the main principles are set," Jamie Sturgeon wrote for the Financial Post on Jun. 6, 2012

Time to loosen up ownership rules, Telus says
Hugo Miller And Andrew Mayeda, Bloomberg, June 5

Mobilicity chief calls for 'app exploration'
LuAnn LaSalle, The Canadian Press

Minister Paradis Challenges Telecom Industry to Innovate, Create and Thrive
Marketwire - Tue Jun 5 2012, 5:24pm ET

CRTC to test advertised Internet speeds
Rita Trichur, - Tue Jun 5 2012,

Rogers examining new markets in face of growing competition
Jamie Sturgeon, Financial Post, Jun 5 2012

Sandvine's must-read report, wireless jobs, Telus expansion; 'Cloudy' 
National Post - Tue Jun 5 2012

Wireless industry struggles toward standard
LuAnn LaSalle, The Canadian Press, Jun 5 2012

Canada on track to 100% wireless penetration rate
Rita Trichur, The Globe and Mail Jun 5 2012

TeraGo to Present at 2012 Canadian Telecom Summit
Marketwire - Mon Jun 4 2012, 4:26pm ET

Wireless Sector's Contribution to the Canadian Economy Reaches $43 Billion
Canada Newswire - Mon Jun 4 2012, 10:00am ET

L'apport du secteur du sans-fil a l'economie canadienne atteint 43 milliards $
Canada Newswire - Mon Jun 4 2012, 10:00am ET