Canada’s Industry Minister Jim Prentice has announced that the upcoming auction for Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum, to be held on 27 May 2008, will include 40MHz set aside exclusively for new entrants, whilst another 65MHz will be available to all bidders. ‘This is an opportunity to encourage new market entry,’ the minister said, adding that ‘it is an opportunity to encourage service providers to offer better products, better services and lower prices.’ He went on to say that that the auction could lead to a fourth national mobile player emerging, or alternatively, the creation of a number of new regional operators. Regional cellcos SaskTel and MTS are likely to place bids, as is cableco Videotron, which currently provides MVNO services in Quebec. The announcement disappointed Canada’s three existing national mobile network operators, Bell, Rogers and Telus, which had argued that reserving frequencies for newcomers amounted to an unfair subsidy. According to Prentice, the spectrum being set aside represents less than 14% of the total mobile spectrum that will be in use after the auction.