RoW International Short Takes

Restructuring in mobile industry likely: new report
There is a major restructuring in the mobile phone industry brewing, according to new research released by Reed Electronics Research in conjunction with In-Stat/MDR. General weakness in the market combined with increased competition, pressures on markets, high costs of development and the uncertain outlook for the industry will create a very different market in the next two years. Reed indicates those companies that benefited from the boom in 2000 will be different from those competing for market share in 2003/2004. The mobile phone industry is currently dominated by Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Siemens, which jointly control 75% of the market. The report also notes that over the next five years, worldwide user growth will increase from 934 million in 2001 to nearly 1.9 billion at the end of 2006. The research firm also highlights the fact that GSM will continue to dominant the air link technology market. It also concludes that while 3G will have its greatest growth in Japan, it won’t make any serious inroads in Europe until the second half of the decade.

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RoW People

National Selection Committee of Broadband Pilot Program
On December 17, Industry minister Allan Rock released the names of the members of the National Selection Committee for the Broadband for Rural and Northern Development pilot program.
The following is a complete list of the members: David Johnston, Victor Allen, Elisabeth Angus, Robert Annis, Mary Katherine Baldwin, Glen Barnden, Andrew Bjerring, Pierre Bouchard, Rick Boucher, Tracy Jude Boychuck, Monique Charbonneau, Frank Dearlove, Debbie DeMare, Kirt Ejesiak, John Fabien, Alison Gillis, James Knight, Christopher LaFontaine, Bernard Létourneau, Linda Lizotte-MacPherson, Pierre Simon, Gerri Sinclair, Allister Wilbert Surette and Pamela Walsh.

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RoW Short Takes

Bell Canada launches Wi-Fi hotspot trial
Bell Canada has unveiled its BellZone Wi-Fi hotspot pilot project that will cover dense urban cores and high-travel locations in a few cities across the county. Under the three-month pilot program, Bell will convert a number of high-traffic payphones and other locations in Toronto, Kingston, Montreal and Calgary into wireless Internet access points. Other locations will be turned on over the course of the pilot program, which will run until the spring of 2003. This will give mobile professionals, business travelers and other consumers with 802.11b-enabled laptop computers and other wireless devices another option for connecting to the Internet and corporate networks. Users will be able to use the service for free during the three months. During the Wi-Fi hotspot trial, the company will evaluate usage patterns and habits as a way to determine an appropriate pricing model for the service when it moves to commercial deployment. Some of the locations included in the pilot program are: Toronto’s Union Station, Via Rail Panorama lounge in Montreal’s Central Station, the departure area of Montreal’s Dorval Airport, among others. In other Bell news, Bell Mobility has introduced MyFinder, a location-based services offering, that allows subscribers in Ontario and Quebec to look up restaurants, gas stations and hospitals. Subscribers will be able to retrieve distances, addresses and directions to a specific location. MyFinder is the first of a suite of location-based services the wireless operator plans to offer. The service will also soon be available on Bell Mobility’s VoiceNet services. MyFinder will cost the user 25 cents for each "Find Me" request.

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Look Communications opposes Vidéotron’s leave to appeal request at Federal Court

Canada’s largest wireless cable provider is opposing Quebec cable operator Vidéotron ltée’s request for leave to appeal a CRTC decision concerning inside wiring in Quebec apartment buildings, saying affordable access to the wires in multiple-unit dwellings (MUDs) is key to its business plan and key to its financial viability. Milton ON-based Look Communications Inc. filed comments with the Federal Court of Appeal on December 9 urging the court to deny Vidéotron’s request for leave to appeal Broadcasting Decision 2002-229.

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Heritage committee concerned over review of foreign ownership in telecom

Liberalizing foreign ownership rules for telecommunications firms will ultimately lead to similar changes in the broadcasting industry, most members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage believe. The Heritage committee, which has been looking at media consolidation and foreign ownership as part of its broad review of the Canadian broadcasting system, has been warned by key players in the broadcasting sector that such an outcome would threaten Canadian content.

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Competition Bureau decries CRTC reliance on facilities-based competition

Canada’s competition watchdog wants the CRTC to move away from promoting facilities-based competition as the only means of promoting telecommunications competition in the country. In comments to AT&T Canada Corp.’s appeal to Cabinet of the price cap decision (Telecom Decision 2002-34), the Competition Bureau notes that telecommunications competition hasn’t worked under the current facilities-based framework and the commission should consider implementing a hybrid model combining resale with facilities-based competition.

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Telus Mobility wins battle over contempt of order application at Federal Court

Telus Mobility has won a contempt of order hearing at the Federal Court of Canada against the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) over the way the wireless operator activates new subscribers in the province of British Columbia. The TWU sought a decision against the company and executive VP employees services David Wells for failing to comply with a Jan. 30, 2002 arbitrator’s ruling that later became an order of the Federal Court. The December 6 decision by the Federal Court’s trial division essentially vindicates the company and allows it to continue to use its existing subscriber activation software in its current form.

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Rogers Wireless likely winner if Microcell fails to restructure and survive

Rogers Wireless Inc. will likely emerge as the big winner in the competitive Canadian wireless communications market if struggling operator Microcell Telecommunications Inc. fails to restructure, re-capitalize and ultimately survive, according to one telecommunications analyst. The Montreal-based wireless carrier is nearly at the end of the line, and the analyst says that Rogers is better positioned than either Bell Mobility or Telus Mobility to capitalize on Microcell’s failure.

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