Rural Sask. may not get better wireless service from spectrum auction, SaskTel warns
SaskTel, the province's telecommunications company, says people who live in rural Saskatchewan may not see improved wireless services following a recent federal government auction of wireless spectrum capacity.
The federal government controls access to the airwaves. Telecommunications companies use the airwaves, in specified frequencies, to provide various services to users of wireless devices.
A recent auction of portions of the 700 MHz spectrum had companies, including SaskTel, bidding to secure space for their services.
In a news release issued Wednesday, SaskTel said it had spent $7.5 million to acquire a single block of the spectrum but quickly noted the sale may not lead to improvements for rural areas of the province.
"SaskTel ... is concerned that the overall outcome of the auction will not result in the effective use of scarce spectrum necessary to support improved 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) coverage in rural areas in Saskatchewan," the news release said.
According to the release, SaskTel will not be able "to build out its 4G LTE wireless network in rural areas" adding that the spectrum it has will not provide the capacity needed to improve speeds for wireless services in rural areas.
"Our primary concern with the auction outcome is that other carriers who have so far chosen to invest very little in rural Saskatchewan have received more prime spectrum," Ron Styles, the President of SaskTel said in the release. Styles said part of the problem is that wireless devices are, currently, designed to make the most of different spectrums of the airwaves.
Styles also lashed out at the federal government's process, which he claimed put companies like SaskTel at a disadvantage.
"This incredibly complex auction format is clearly biased against regional carriers, in addition to having a number of other systemic flaws," Styles said.