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More drop-outs from wireless auction

27 May 2008

The Globe & Mail reports that a consortium led by US equity houses M/C Venture Partners and Columbia Capital has dropped its bid for 2GHz wireless spectrum in Canada’s ‘Advanced Wireless Services’ frequency auction scheduled for today. The consortium, registered under the name 6934579 Canada, had planned to make a fairly large scale bid with an initial deposit of CAD155 million (USD157 million), but struggled to raise enough money from Canadian partners to meet foreign investment rules. Another drop-out from the auction was Primus Canada’s parent Mipps, which had planned to make a relatively small-scale bid. The news follows regional full-service telco Manitoba Telecom Service’s scrapping of a consortium arrangement with equity firms to bid on a national scale. Regulator CRTC has put 105MHz of 3G frequencies up for grabs, with nationwide cellular operators Rogers, Bell and Telus competing for bandwidth to expand and improve existing services, whilst the new allocations include 40MHz bandwidth specifically reserved for newcomers on the national stage. Rogers has pledged the largest initial deposit of CAD534 million, covering 4,030 regional spectrum concessions (bid points), with cableco Shaw Communications registering interest in 3,076 bid points with the second largest deposit of CAD400 million.


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