Industry watchers were quick to jump on one side or the other when Industry Canada announced it would reserve spectrum for a new entrant or entrants into the market when it auctions of a block of radio frequency in the advanced wireless spectrum auction next summer.

On the one side, incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers called it a travesty that denies Canadians full value for a publicly owned resource, and an interference in the free market. Others called it a victory for Canadians, pointing to a dire need for competition to make the existing wireless carriers offer reasonable rates for voice and data services.

That confidence that there will be vibrant competition looks a little shakier. One of the requirements for competition in the space is a number of healthy companies investing in it, and one of the prime candidates for new spectrum is looking a little sickly.

Videotron — whose president, Pierre Karl P