Archived — 15 Companies Bid Almost $4.3 Billion for Licences for New Wireless Services

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Ottawa, July 21, 2008—Consumers and businesses will be the winners in a more competitive wireless market. Industry Canada today announced that 282 licences have been conditionally assigned to 15 companies in the Auction of Spectrum Licences for Advanced Wireless Services and Other Spectrum in the 2 GHz Range.

The provisional winners of the auction, held between May 27 and July 21, were posted online after the bidding ended. Successful bidders are eligible to receive licences after making their final payments and showing compliance with Canadian ownership and control requirements.

"The auction exceeded our expectations in terms of the level of competitive bidding activity. I hope the industry keeps this competitive spirit alive as it enhances and expands its services with improved access to the spectrum," said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry. "The industry now has an unprecedented opportunity—thanks to the government's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) policy and auction—to develop products and services that offer choice to Canadian consumers and businesses. We think consumers will be the big winners in this auction."

Of the 105 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum made available, 40 MHz was set aside exclusively for new entrants to bid on. The other 65 MHz was available to all bidders. The set-aside spectrum was put in place to help create a more competitive market and to increase the number of service providers, a decision designed to lead to lower prices.

The auction and AWS policy are the Government of Canada's contribution to creating a wireless marketplace that offers more choice and better services for consumers and businesses. This auction and policy are designed to increase competition and help the wireless industry develop new and robust services.

AWS spectrum is a valuable resource, providing access to a growing range of innovative wireless applications. It enables next-generation technologies such as high-speed Internet and video, and it provides faster access for mobile phones and other hand-held devices.

Bidding took place electronically over the Internet using secure encryption technology. The auction generated almost $4.3 billion in revenues for the Government of Canada.

A backgrounder listing successful bids is attached and can be found on Industry Canada's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Deirdra McCracken
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jim Prentice
Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502


Backgrounder
AWS Spectrum Auction Conclusion

Background

What are Advanced Wireless Services?

Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) promise access to a growing range of wireless applications and enable the deployment of next-generation technologies, such as high-speed video and Internet, with faster access for cellphones and other hand-held devices.

What is spectrum?

Under Canada's Spectrum Policy Framework, the government's primary goal is to maximize the economic and social benefits that Canadians derive from the use of the radio frequency spectrum. Wireless networks use the radio frequency spectrum (airwaves). Spectrum is divided into frequency bands and allocated to services. Broadcasting, satellite and mobile services are examples. AWS is a mobile service, meaning the user can be moving while using the device.

Why auction spectrum licences?

Auctions are an efficient licensing process for commercial spectrum licences. Each auction is preceded by a public consultation to establish the policy and licensing framework, auction design, technical requirements and licence conditions.

How did the auction work?

Of the 105 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum made available, 40 MHz was set aside exclusively for new entrants to bid on. The other 65 MHz was available to all bidders. The Government of Canada decided to set aside AWS spectrum for new entrants in order to foster more competition, create more choice and lower prices. The government believes that new entrants will enhance competition across other telecommunications markets in Canada.

The auction was conducted online. Public key infrastructure (PKI) encryption ensured the confidentiality and authenticity of electronic transactions. A bid-tracking system enabled auction participants and members of the public to monitor the auction's progress. Results were posted at the end of every round at http://agora.ic.gc.ca/home_eng.cfm.

The AWS spectrum auction was a simultaneous, multiple-round ascending auction, meaning a related set of spectrum licences was offered at the same time. Bidding was organized into a series of rounds. The pace was established by activity rules. Rounds continued until there was a round when no new bids, no withdrawals or no waivers were submitted. Provisional winners hold standing high bids at the auction's close.

Licensing Process

Provisional winners must undergo the following process prior to receiving licences:

  1. Ten business days after the cessation of bidding: bidders must submit an initial payment of 20 percent of high bids, and 100 percent of penalties.
  2. Thirty business days after the cessation of bidding: bidders must submit a final payment made up of 80 percent of high bids.
  3. Bidders must also submit ownership and control information. Once steps 1 and 2 have been completed, and Industry Canada has found that the companies meet the ownership and control requirements, licences will be issued to auction winners. The verification of ownership and control may take several months. More information on the licensing procedure is available in the Licensing Framework for the Auction for Spectrum Licences for Advanced Wireless Services and other Spectrum in the 2 GHz Range, which is posted on the Industry Canada website at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf08856.html.

List of provisional winners

  • 1380057 Alberta Ltd.
  • 6934242 Canada Ltd.
  • 6934579 Canada Inc.
  • 9193-2962 Québec Inc.
  • Bell Mobility Inc.
  • Blue Canada Wireless Inc.
  • Bragg Communications Inc.
  • Celluworld Inc.
  • Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc.
  • Globalive Wireless LP
  • Novus Wireless Inc.
  • Rich Telecom Corp.
  • Rogers Communications Inc.
  • SaskTel
  • TELUS Communications Company
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