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Canadians demand a level competitive playing field in wireless

    --  81% of Canadians surveyed by Nanos Research say Ottawa should
        not favour any companies foreign or domestic in the upcoming
        wireless spectrum auction
    --  Just 2% of Canadians think foreign companies like Verizon
        should be given special advantages like the spectrum and other
        benefits enabled by the wireless loopholes
    --  Canadians of all kinds, pension groups, unions, academics,
        business and technology associations are all concerned about
        the cost of the loopholes
    --  Always ready to compete in a fair and open marketplace, Bell
        joins Canadians in calling on Ottawa to ensure a level playing
        field in wireless

MONTREAL, Aug. 21, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - A national survey released today by 
Nanos Research found that Canadians overwhelmingly support a level competitive 
playing field in the wireless industry. The survey results are further 
evidence that the federal government must close the 3 loopholes in its 
wireless rules that give a range of spectrum and other benefits originally 
intended for competitive startups in Canada to giant US wireless corporations 
like Verizon.

"Canadians have an instinctive sense of fairness and they see that giving such 
clear benefits to $120-billion US corporations to the direct disadvantage of 
Canadian companies just isn't right," said George Cope, President and CEO of 
Bell Canada and BCE. "More than 80% of Canadians see no need to give 
advantages to any company, foreign or Canadian. We agree - Bell has always 
said we're ready and able to compete on a level playing field. Like millions 
of Canadians and the growing range of organizations that represent them, we 
call on the federal government to close the wireless loopholes and support 
fair competition in Canada."

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper 
warning of the costs of the wireless loopholes and asking for a fair and open 
wireless marketplace, and the following organizations representing millions 
have joined the chorus of concern: Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian 
Council of Chief Executives, Canadian Federation of Pensioners, Canadian 
Labour Congress, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Business Council of British 
Columbia, Conseil du Patronat du Québec / Québec Employers Council, 
Information Technology Association of Canada, Montréal Economic Institute, 
Ontario Chamber of Commerce, TechnoMontréal, Telecommunications Workers 
Union, UNIFOR (CEP / CAW), and Union des municipalités du Québec.

The Nanos numbers
According to the national Nanos survey, 81% of Canadians believe government 
policy for the upcoming auction of 700 MHz wireless spectrum should show no 
favours to any competitor. Just 2% said foreign companies like Verizon should 
be given special advantages to enter the Canadian wireless marketplace.

The Nanos Research study of Canadians was commissioned by Bell Canada and 
TELUS. For the full results including the statistics for all questions, please 

The wireless loopholes
With the 3 loopholes in current federal wireless rules, US giants such as 
Verizon could enter the Canadian market with 1) a 2:1 advantage over Canadian 
companies in access to this country's 700 MHz wireless spectrum; 2) the right 
to piggyback on Canadian networks where they don't want to build their own; 
and 3) the ability to acquire wireless startups in Canada while Canadian 
companies like Bell are forbidden from bidding for them.

Despite offering these unprecedented advantages, the government offers no 
assurances of any significant investment in Canadian jobs or infrastructure by 
companies like Verizon, no assurances of lower prices (Verizon's wireless 
customers actually pay more on average than Bell's do), and has negotiated no 
reciprocal advantages for Canadian companies wanting to enter the US market.

The 700 MHz airwaves being auctioned by Ottawa are a national public resource. 
The ability of this spectrum to support rapid rollouts of new mobile 
technology to rural and remote Canadian locations make it the most important 
since the launch of wireless service in 1985.

A straightforward solution
Considering the importance of the issue and the clear desire of Canadians for 
a fair approach to wireless, Bell urges the government to close the loopholes 
by 1) permitting all carriers to bid on two blocks of prime spectrum; 2) 
requiring US carriers that enter Canada to build out networks to the entire 
country, as Canadian companies have; and 3) allowing major Canadian carriers 
the opportunity to bid against the major US companies to acquire wireless 
startups seeking buyers, with full review by the Competition Bureau.

To learn more about the wireless loopholes, please visit

About Bell
Headquartered in Montréal since its founding in 1880, Bell is Canada's 
largest communications company, providing consumers, business and government 
customers with leading TV, Internet, wireless, home phone and business 
communications solutions. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company 
with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. Bell is wholly 
owned by Montréal's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For more information, please 

The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is a national charitable program 
that promotes Canadian mental health across Canada with the Bell Let's Talk 
Day anti-stigma campaign and significant funding for community care, research 
and workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit

SOURCE Bell Canada

Media inquiries: Jacqueline Michelis Bell Communications 1 855 785-1427

Investor inquiries: Thane Fotopoulos BCE Investor Relations (514) 870-4619

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL:


-0- Aug/21/2013 15:40 GMT

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