Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has announced the conclusion of their 600 MHz wireless spectrum auction, which generated $3.47 billion for the federal government.
The auction began on March 12, 2019 and concluded on April 4, 2019. There were 12 qualified bidders to participate, but in the end, nine companies acquired licenses, with big players dominating, specifically Rogers.
Rogers nabbed 50% of licenses, taking 52 at the cost of $1.72 billion, while Telus took 12 at $931 million, Shaw’s Freedom Mobile took 11 at $491 million and Videotron with 10 at the cost of $255 million.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said in a statement, “We know that Canadians want more choice, lower prices and better service. Through this process, we have strengthened wireless competition, which will drive prices down and improve coverage. It is clear that the big winners in this auction will be Canadians in both urban and rural areas.”
With 600 MHz spectrum signals, they carry further over long distances and can penetrate buildings better than higher-frequency bands, making it beneficial for rural and urban environments, according to ISED.
Update: Here’s what Bell had to say about its absence in this auction:
Bell has spectrum assets in the low, mid and high frequency bands in both urban and rural locations. Given the supply of other low-band spectrum that Bell already possesses, 600 MHz is not required for Bell to deliver broadband 4G and 5G services. Similar to Bell, the company’s main U.S. peers chose not to own any 600 MHz spectrum in their markets.
“Bell leverages each new generation of wireless network technology to drive renewed innovation and productivity growth, and with 5G we’ll take connectivity further than ever before with smart cities, connected vehicles and other revolutionary service advancements for both consumers and business users,” said Bell’s Chief Technology Officer Stephen Howe. “Bell looks forward to participating in upcoming federal auctions of the mid band 3500 MHz and high band millimetre wave spectrum that will be required to drive the Fifth Generation of wireless.”