Bell committed to bringing the latest broadband wireless services to rural Canada

  • Rollout of next-generation LTE network to rural and remote communities depends on open and transparent 700 MHz spectrum auction
  • Key government decision sets the stage for our broadband mobile future - global wireless leadership benefitting all regions of Canada, or a new rural-urban digital divide

MONTREAL, Feb. 21, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell today urged the federal government to ensure the forthcoming auction of 700 MHz spectrum is open and transparent, with no special measures to favour some companies over others. Any other approach risks leaving Canadians, especially in rural and remote areas, out of the next generation of wireless broadband innovation and the economic benefits it will bring.

"Bell has the scale, the commitment and the proven track record to keep Canada at the forefront of global mobile wireless technology, fostering ongoing productivity, investment and innovation here at home. But to deliver leading-edge mobile services like LTE to Canadians across the country, Bell needs a fair and equal opportunity to bid on the spectrum required," said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility. "Bell now offers next-generation LTE service in urban centres across Canada and we're eager to extend this next generation mobile service to rural and remote communities - just as we've consistently done with earlier mobile network technologies such as HSPA+. But fair and equitable access to spectrum is crucial."

Bell undertakes capital expenditures surpassing $3 billion a year to develop Canada's digital communications infrastructure, spending more on new next generation networks and investing more in Canadian R&D than any other communications provider. LTE is the newest broadband technology being deployed by Bell, which now serves 14 urban centres across Canada, with plans to expand to more centres in 2012. Bell LTE complements the company's broadband HSPA+ network introduced in November 2009, which now serves more than 97% of the Canadian population in rural, remote and urban locations from coast to coast.

To undertake a similarly extensive national network build with LTE, Bell requires access to the 700 MHz spectrum that is ideal for carrying wireless signals over long distances, increasing the speed and reducing the cost of network deployment. An auction for this spectrum that isn't open and transparent would limit the amount of spectrum available to Bell, forcing a focus on more densely populated centres in order for Bell to compete with new carriers already given special access to new spectrum in 2008. In order to maximize their profits, new carriers have since concentrated all their resources in major urban centres to the detriment of rural Canada.

With only half as much spectrum available compared to the 2008 auction, spectrum set asides or other extraordinary favours for certain companies would permanently disadvantage a truly national wireless operator like Bell.

"The economic reality in a country as geographically large and diverse as Canada is that you need scale both to partner with global technology leaders and to invest at the level required to ensure that all Canadians are part of the mobile broadband revolution," said Mr. Oosterman. "Without a fair and open spectrum auction, companies like the new carriers that have chosen to operate only in the most profitable urban areas would be the only ones to benefit. We risk a new rural-urban digital divide in which Bell is forced to focus its resources on urban centres in order to compete."

"Bell has the resources and a proven track record of bringing the best of global wireless to every region of Canada. This spectrum auction is a key decision point for our government, a moment that determines whether our approach to technology leadership puts a superphone in the hands of Canadians wherever they may live - or just those who happen to live in the biggest cities," said Mr. Oosterman.

Bell offers Canada's most impressive portfolio of superphones and other mobile devices including the LG Optimus 4G LTE, HTC Raider 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab LTE and the newly introduced Galaxy Note. With Bell Mobile TV, customers have on-the-go access to Canada's best content available directly on the industry's best superphones, smartphones and tablets.

About Bell
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs: Bell Mobility wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV, Bell Home Phone local and long distance, and Bell Business Markets IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV, Canada's #1 television network, and the country's most-watched specialty channels.

The Bell Mental Health Initiative is a multi-year charitable program that promotes mental health across Canada via the Bell Let's Talk anti-stigma campaign and support for community care, research and workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For Bell product and service information, please visit Bell.ca. For Bell Media, please visit BellMedia.ca. For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca.

SOURCE BELL CANADA

For further information:

Jacqueline Michelis
Bell Media Relations
1 855-785-1427
jacqueline.michelis@bell.ca
@Bell_News

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