Connecting Canadians: Ensuring universal access to wireless services

Date created: 
Wireless services
Spectrum licenses
Service areas
Market power
National providers
Secondary market mechanisms

The market for wireless services in Canada is characterized by the presence of significant market power of the three national service providers: Bell, Rogers and Telus. This reduces consumer welfare through reduced access to high quality wireless services in underserved areas. I conduct an empirical analysis to find that reduced mobility of subscribers, as illustrated by the low churn rate, contributes to greater profit margins, and thus market power. Using this and information gathered from expert interviews, I identify low subscriber mobility, and unutilized spectrum owing to the existing regulatory framework as factors contributing to welfare loss. I recommend that ISED create Tier 5 service areas for spectrum licenses immediately. I also recommend that ISED create a secondary market for unused spectrum once the Tier 5 service areas are fully implemented. Together these policy recommendations will ensure universal access to wireless services for all Canadians and increase welfare.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Dominique Gross
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.