Canada’s upcoming wireless spectrum auction for 5G airwaves will have one less competitor for incumbents Rogers, Telus and Bell, as Shaw’s Freedom Mobile won’t be participating.
According to The Canadian Press, MPs are saying the absence of Shaw bidding for 3500 MHz airwaves, amidst the ongoing Rogers-Shaw merger proposal, is a sign of less competition for consumers, especially in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, where Freedom Mobile is a viable fourth wireless player.
A federal government official said Freedom Mobile only had until Tuesday to apply for the 5G auction. A published list of applicants shows Shaw and Freedom are not listed, but Rogers, Telus and Bell are, along with others such as Videotron, Xplornet, TBayTel, SaskTel, Cogeco, Iristel, Bragg and more.
“I think with the discussions that we’ve had here, there should (ring) some alarm bells for Canadians,” said Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology’s hearing on Wednesday, regarding the Rogers-Shaw merger.
New Democrat MP Brian Masse added at the hearing, “The odd timing of this takeover merger, before the spectrum auction, puts a squeeze that’s untenable for everyone.”
The federal government will publish a final list of 5G spectrum auction bidders on April 22, 2021.
Earlier this week, telecom experts told MPs if the Rogers-Shaw deal were to proceed, Freedom Mobile should not be included in the deal, to ensure wireless competition remains.