RoW Editorial

Report calls for new spectrum auction plan
A new report released by the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Plans and Policy (OPP) is recommending that the regulator institute parallel auctions, one for voluntarily offered spectrum and another for unassigned airwaves. This recommendation and others were made by Evan Kwerel and John Williams in OPP Working Paper No. 38, A Proposal for a Rapid Transition to Market Allocation of Spectrum, released earlier this month. The paper argues that the FCC’s decision to grant incumbents flexibility in the use of their spectrum isn’t sufficient to ensure a transition to market-based allocations. The report cites several examples in the 300 MHz to 3000 MHz range of where this approach could be used.

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RoW People

International Datacasting Corp. has announced the departure of Phillip Bolger, executive VP and CFO. He is leaving to pursue other opportunities, but has agreed to serve as interim CFO until a replacement can be found.

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RoW Short Takes

Guns, gadgets, girls and GSM
Microcell Telecommunications Inc. has announced the commercial availability of Sony Ericsson’s T68i, the same handset featured in the latest installment of the James Bond 007 spy series, Die Another Day. In addition to all the bells and whistles incorporated in newer handsets, the T68i also offers Bluetooth functionality and allows for picture messaging through the CommuniCam. The Montreal-based operator has also announced that Sony Ericsson’s T300, which offers much of the same features as the T68i, will be commercially available early next year.

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Wireless data applications for business/enterprise market segment growing

Canada’s wireless operators are making a stronger push to develop, sell and support wireless data applications for the business segment, as witnessed by several announcements in the past couple of weeks. Microcell Telecommunications Inc. and Rogers Wireless Inc. unveiled details of agreements relating to fleet management and telematics offerings. While these types of applications aren’t new, they have become significant revenue drivers for wireless operators looking to make a solid business case for wireless data.

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LBS revenue paltry over next four years

Despite hopes from carriers worldwide that location-based services (LBS) would be a major revenue driver of wireless data services in the future, a new study from U.S.-based In-Stat/MDR shows that the actual revenue opportunity will be quite small. The report, Location, Location, Location: Meeting the E911 Mandate and Monetizing Location Based Services, indicates that while the total addressable market will top 1.3 billion users worldwide, carriers will have to share in a total revenue pie of approximately $US167 million.

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Anik F1 troubles won’t affect Telesat’s bottom line; alternative birds considered

Telesat Canada’s bottom line won’t likely be affected by its malfunctioning Anik F1 satellite, according to a satellite analyst, though operators around the world are likely re-evaluating their business and procurement strategies in the wake of several such high-profile failures and skyrocketing in-orbit insurance costs. Telesat is echoing this sentiment.

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Microcell receives support for its petition to change portions of the new LCA framework

Microcell Telecommunications Inc. has found an unlikely ally in Telus Corp. in its fight to change the new local calling area (LCA) framework that forces CLECs to subsidize ILECs and IXCs for lost toll revenue (RoW, Oct. 28/02). In comments to Microcell’s October 10 review and vary application to the CRTC, Telus notes that forcing CLECs to participate in the cross-subsidy pool program presents a "disconcerting vision of local competition."

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New report clarifies issues surrounding terrestrial use of satellite spectrum

 A new report recently released by Industry Canada puts to rest interference issues surrounding the implementation of an ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) using L-band satellite spectrum. Prepared by COMTEK Associates, the 154-page document analyzes an application by Mobile Satellite Ventures LP (MSV) and related comments submitted by Inmarsat Ventures PLC and Transport Canada regarding the deployment of a terrestrial in-fill network that would improve coverage in urban areas of the country.

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Uncertainty surrounding scope of telecom foreign ownership review

The wireless and cable industries are applauding the government’s decision to review current foreign ownership rules in the telecommunications industry, but there appears to be a level of uncertainty surrounding the scope of the consultation. The ambiguity won’t be clarified until the rules are clearly set by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, which will conduct the review.

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