Wind Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity quit CWTA, saying group favours big carriers. For its part, the association rejects the accusation
In an unexpected move –and an unexpected show of unanimity from competitors – three of the country’s startup wireless carriers have pulled out from an industry association because it favours big cellphone companies.
“When we were first approached by the CWTA, we were promised clear and fair representation on issues of true industry alignment,” said Simon Lockie, Wind’s chief regulatory officer, said in a news release “But despite making our objections and concerns abundantly clear on numerous occasions, the CWTA has repeatedly failed to honour this promise, leaving us no alternative but to withdraw.”
Bob Boron, Public Mobile’s general counsel and senior vice-president for legal affairs, said in the release that “rather than being a true industry association which represents the views of all players regardless of size, the CWTA has instead largely been an advocate for Rogers, Telus and Bell, and often directly contrary to the interests of new entrant wireless carriers.”
The CWTA is the wireless industry’s lobbying group in Ottawa. It includes SaskTel and Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS). Two new carriers who haven’t left the association are Videotron and Eastlink.
However, like any association, its biggest and smallest members have widely different goals.
This is especially the case where Bell, Rogers and Telus have been vigorously fighting attempts by the startups to eat into their large market share. No one expected the big three to easily give up in the face of new competitors encouraged by Ottawa in the 2008 spectrum auction, and they haven’t.
“The fact that it was dominated by incumbents was wlel-known when they first joined, but Bernard has done an excellent job of trying to smooth over the dufferences. But the differences are irreconcilable.”
In the end, Grant says, it will mean the three startups will have a stronger voice in Ottawa because they won’t be diluted “by lowest common denominator thinking.”
In a news release issued within minutes of the announcement from the startups the CWTA said their withdrawal “is an unfortunate and surprising announcement.”
“These carriers have been valued members of CWTA and have fully participated on the CWTA board of directors and CWTA committees since joining the association and continued to do so up until the announcement this morning. CWTA rejects the accusation that the association represents the interests of only certain members. CWTA has always and will continue to work on behalf of all of its members.
“The many contributions of Wind, Mobilicity and Public Mobile will certainly be missed.,” the association statement said.Related Download
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