Wind Mobile Sells Unused Spectrum to MTS and SaskTel [u]

Industry Canada has given Wind Mobile the green light to sell its unused wireless spectrum licences to Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) and SaskTel, reports the Globe and Mail. As a result, Wind Mobile will transfer six licences to SaskTel, and five to MTS.


All of them were among the AWS-1 spectrum licences acquired by Wind at the 2008 auction. Now, as Industry Canada has relaxed its spectrum transfer rules, first allowing Rogers to acquire Mobilicity for $465 million, Wind Mobile has taken a big step and tried to monetize its unused assets.

Fact is, the licences in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan were next to the spectrum owned by MTS and SaskTel, and by acquiring the contiguous spectrum, MTS and Sasktel will be able to deliver more bandwidth and faster speeds.

MTS has issued a press release today announcing the fresh acquisition: 15 MHz of paired AWS-1 spectrum, for $45 million.

“We are appreciative of the concrete steps that the government has been taking to create more choice, lower prices and better wireless service for Canadians and their families,” said MTS Allstream CEO Jay Forbes. “This deal is great news for our Manitoban customers as the use of mobile video increases. We are excited to be taking a big step to improve the wireless experience for our fellow Manitobans and to focus our resources right here at home.”

“This deal is exciting for WIND customers and for Canadians as we will be able to focus our resources on providing strong competition in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta,” said WIND Mobile CEO Alek Krstajic. “These sale proceeds, including our recent spectrum acquisitions from Rogers as well as the AWS-3 spectrum auction, will be used towards network expansion and quality improvements including the LTE rollout”.

After last month’s Rogers–Mobilicity deal, Wind Mobile became the proud owner of 30 MHz of spectrum next to the 20 MHz owned by MTS, and 20 MHz next to the 30 MHz owned by SaskTel.

Update: Sasktel issued a press release confirming the acquisition without disclosing the price:

“We are extremely pleased that the Federal Government has approved this spectrum licence transfer between two of the carriers that fulfill the role as the fourth competitor to the Big Three national carriers in their respective markets. This transaction will support more competition in the wireless market and allow both SaskTel and WIND to provide better service to our customers,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO. “Our 4G LTE network in the 9 major urban centres in Saskatchewan operates on the AWS-1 spectrum band and with these additional blocks we can deliver significantly more bandwidth and faster speeds.”