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Canadian spectrum auction hits $630M



RCR NEWS

Canadian spectrum auction hits $630M

By Jeff Hawn

Use it or lose it approach to spectrum licenses to discourage speculation

WASHINGTON – Canada concluded its spectrum auction of 20-megahertz and 25-megahertz blocks in the 2500 MHz band with bids totaling close to $630 million.

Industry Canada, the governmental agency charged with conducting the auction, reported the winners for 318 spectrum blocks across 61 regions.

The Canadian government recognizes the value of spectrum to the economy with Industry Canada saying in a press release: “It’s estimated that within the next five years, more than half the information on the Internet will travel over a wireless connection at some point. Wireless services require spectrum, which is the invisible infrastructure that carries our information. Spectrum has been called the oxygen of our mobile economy.”

Telus, Videotron biggest winners at spectrum auction

The Canadian firm Telus secured the largest share of spectrum bidding with $400 million for a 37% increase in available spectrum.

Telus’ bids included spectrum increases in every region of the country.

The second-largest bidder was the Quebec-based firm Videotron, which spent $155 million for a 27% increase in spectrum covering Canada’s four most-populated provinces.

The regional carrier has, of late, been reported to be considering expanding to nationwide coverage.

All of the spectrum was sold under a use it or lose it rule set to keep speculators from buying up spectrum and then reselling it or sitting on it to deny it to competitors.

Allison Lenehan, CEO of Xplornet, said, “We’re not speculators, so this is entirely about putting this precious resource to work.”

Xplornet, which spent $20 million for a 62% increase in available spectrum, has pledged to offer broadband speed with download throughput of 25 Mbps to 100% of rural Canada by 2017.

The Canadian Minister of Industry James Moore said in a press release: “The 2500 MHz auction was a success because it was designed to put the interests of Canadian consumers first. We have kept our commitment to Canadians to put more spectrum in the hands of wireless companies, and now Canadians – especially those in rural areas – will benefit from more choice, lower prices and better service.”

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