Industry Canada Sets AWS-3 Spectrum Auction for March 2015

Ottawa announced today new actions that aim to foster “more choice, lower prices, and better service” in the wireless industry.

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First, there will be an auction for AWS-3 spectrum starting on March 3, 2015. To live up to their motto (see above), Industry Canada will set aside 60% of this spectrum — used to deliver LTE services — to new entrants across the country. That leaves only 40% of the AWS-3 spectrum to qualified bidders.

Alongside the forthcoming auction, the government is seeking consultation on making a 600 MHz spectrum band available for commercial use. This spectrum carries signals over long distances and travels through structures more effectively than higher-frequency bands.

That’s not all: Industry Canada will provide a path for mobile use in the 3500 MHz band while maintaining existing fixed-wireless Internet services in rural areas. Earlier this spring, licences for this spectrum were a topic of discussion, as they started expiring, and according to Industry Minister James Moore’s previous statement, licensees couldn’t renew contracts if they didn’t plan to use them.

Furthermore, a plan will be developed to enable the use of the AWS-4 spectrum, specially designed for new competitors offering services in rural and remote areas.

“Spectrum is essential to power our wireless devices, and our government is making it more available than ever before. The end result is that Canadians will benefit from more competition, lower prices and better service in our wireless sector. The Harper Government is committed to delivering competitively priced wireless services on the latest technologies,” said James Moore, Minister of Industry.

The above spectrum licences set to be released next year reinforce the government’s commitment to foster a competitive mobile landscape. Also, based on estimates, within the next five years, more than half of the information on the Internet will travel through wireless connections. Ottawa opens the road by licensing an unprecedented amount of spectrum next year.