The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. It looks like the wireless industry will need to rely on new technologies, rather than government, to reduce the $150 million each year it pays in licence fees.  The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and its members have been lobbying for years for a reduction in fees for RF licences. The financial situation today is all the more critical given the tech meltdown, and last year’s CRTC decision to hike the wireless industry’s annual contributions to the local phone subsidy fund from $15 million to about $200 million. Having failed to convince the CRTC to phase in its increase, the industry will now look at how it can influence Industry Canada’s upcoming proceeding on licence fees. The department seems intent on treating public spectrum more like a commodity by charging market rents in large cities, and allowing licensees to sell off excess bandwidth in regions where it has too much. In a Gazette Notice to be released in the next two to three months, the department will propose that spectrum in high-congestion areas, such as Toronto, be valued higher than in regions where scarcity isn’t an issue. While the department isn’t lowering licence fees, per se, carriers would be given a major incentive to squeeze as many subscribers into as little bandwidth as possible. The real winners, at least in the short term, will be innovative companies that can help carriers better manage their wireless networks. Northwood Technologies is one such homegrown company (see story on page 4). The Ottawa area firm offers a Windows-based network design suite that enables carriers to build or expand their networks to optimum capacity. While much of its business will come from abroad, there could be a huge demand for such technology if carriers here are faced with higher licence fees in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Government policies that promote fair market value and spectrum efficiency have obvious merit. Introducing these policies to the detriment of an entire industry, however, is counterproductive.Hopefully the government can strike the right balance.