I first met Michael Hennessy, Senior VP, Regulatory and Government Affairs, TELUS, at 2007 Banff Next Media. It was in a session where the new media panelists were beating up/”bashing” the telcos pretty badly. And then one panelist wondered out loud why there weren’t any telco representatives present in the session!? To the surprise of that panelist and everyone else (including myself), Michael, attending as a member of the audiences, identified himself as a Telus executive and tried to present Telus’ perspectives/views. (update: I just found a photo in Flickr of Michael in that 2007 session!)
So even though I don’t usually agree with Michael‘s telco views/analysis, I respect him for speaking up that day.
The following are a few highlights of my interview video with Michael. By the way, also check out my video interview with WIND Mobile Chairman/CEO Tony Lacavera.
* 1:35 Telus’ views of the recent Federal Court of Appeal ruling where WIND Mobile won (against Public Mobile and Telus)? Is Telus going to appeal the court decision along with Public Mobile to the Supreme Court of Canada?
[Kempton’s note: Michael gave a long and specific answer here. At the time of my interview with Michael, I didn’t have time to read/scan the “Globalive Wireless Management Corp. v. Public Mobile Inc. (2011 FCA 194) A-78-11, A-79-11” decision yet. See more comments from me in note 1.]
* 3:30 Will Telus support the appeal to the Supreme Court? Michael talks about Telus’ key focus this summer: e.g. safeguard against vertical integration, policies around spectrum auctions that are coming out.
*4:08 Michael stated, “Voice, video, and data are all going over the same pipe. You can’t regulate or treat the carriage of that differently.” And what Telus likes the government to do.
* 5:02 About the government upcoming frequency spectrum auction.
* 5:44 What about the big telcos bidding and, basically, stockpiling frequencies and NOT using them?
* 6:18 So Telus is rolling out the use of those new [AWS] frequencies now? 2012 or 2011?
* 7:12 Telus’ customers are already using up the network capacity they have and thats why they are moving to LTE.
Michael stated, “We are not warehousing. Remember, unlike some of the other incumbents, we hold no spectrum at 2500 [MHz]. They hold well over 100 MHz. So thats the critical difference.”
* 7:30 My question, “So from Telus’ prospective […] Telus won’t oppose to the idea if the government say ‘If you want to auction/bid on the new frequency spectrum, one of the requirement is you have to have used up or committed funds to use your existing warehoused frequency spectrums first’ ?“
* 8:26 Michael talks about the shift of customers using more and more data and capacity consumption. Telcos from around the world need more and more spectrum so customers can use more and more data.
Michael, “But you are quite right that nobody should be sitting on spectrum for prolong periods of time. I don’t have any problem with that at all.”
* 9:32 I mentioned the issues of, some say, telcos from around the world overpaying for spectrums and get into financial difficulties. And then I asked Michael what kind of money is Telus willing to pay for the new spectrum?
* 10:02 Michael talks about the AWS auction’s “set aside” and the distortion. He estimates that Telus overpaid by 20% compare to US for similar spectrums. [Kempton’s note: Good for Canadians? :) ]
* 11:00 Michael discussed of how the money from the spectrum auction should be better deployed. [Hint: Not to save the auto industry!] And a discussion about “overpaying” vs letting someone else win the spectrums. [Kempton’s note: I hope I haven’t disappointed my economist friends in my reasoning and I haven’t misinterpreted my reading of Prof. Ronald Coase’s ideas over the years. After all, Coase (now over 100 years old and still working!) told the FCC in 1959 that frequency spectrum auction is **not a joke**, and may worth some money (as we now know, billions).]
* 12:25 Telus is hoping for a balanced decision [re government frequency spectrum auction policies] to ensure multiple winners in the auction.
note 1: In the ruling “Globalive Wireless Management Corp. v. Public Mobile Inc.“, the following excerpts are worth reading,
“ In my view, recital 22 provides the clearest indication that policy considerations played a role only at this stage of the Governor in Council’s analysis, and that the Governor in Council, prior to taking into account policy considerations, had already decided that Globalive was not controlled by a non-Canadian. To be specific, the Governor in Council in effect was saying that Canadians are entitled to a more competitive wireless telecommunications market, and that this would be frustrated by Globalive, a Canadian owned and controlled company, being prevented from operating:
 Whereas the Governor in Council considers that the Decision deprives Canadians of the possibility for a more competitive wireless telecommunication market by preventing the roll-out of service to the public by a Canadian-owned and controlled company; [emphasis added]”
For all other Banff 2011 related interviews, please see here.