An Eastlink official said it is “close” to being able to offer cable channels including Treehouse, YTV, Oprah Winfrey Network and the Galaxy music channels.
When Eastlink Wireless launches it will become the country’s 10th carrier and the Maritime’s fourth.
Privately-held Eastlink is a member of the so-called “class of 2008” that bought spectrum in an auction that Industry Canada tailored to encourage the entry new entrants to challenge Bell, Rogers and Telus.
Others who bought spectrum in that auction and have launched service since then are Wind Mobile
(December, 2009), Public Mobile (May, 2010) Mobilicity (May, 2010), and Videotron (Sept. 2010).
However, Western-based cable company Shaw Communications is sitting on the $189.5 million in spectrum it bought. It decided to invest in a Wi-Fi network instead.
Despite the increased competition, Bell [BCE: TSX] Rogers [TSX: RCI.A] and Telus [TSX:T] still hold over 90 per cent of cellular subscribers.
Meanwhile Industry Canada has set another spectrum auction for the spring of 2013 to sell prized spectrum in the 700 MHz frequencies.
To spur more competition Ottawa has slightly opened foreign telecom investment to allow companies outside Canada to buy all of a Canadian carrier with less than 10 per cent of national telecom revenues.
So far no one has bit. Industry observers believe investors are waiting to see details of the licencing rules Industry Canada sets for the upcoming auction. In particular they want to see if the government will make it easier for new carriers to roam on the networks of incumbents and add antennas to their towers.