AWS auction ends with 15 winners, CAD4.25 billion raised

22 Jul 2008

Industry Canada announced yesterday the conclusion of its Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS) auction after no bids were placed in round 331, having raised more than CAD4.25 billion (USD4.23 billion) in revenues for the government. A 105MHz block of spectrum in the 2GHz band was bid on in regions across the country, including 40MHz set aside exclusively for new entrants, with 282 individual spectrum licences conditionally assigned to 15 companies, pending payment.

At the close of proceedings, national GSM/W-CDMA/HSPA operator Rogers Communications held 59 licences worth CAD999.3 million, whilst its nationwide CDMA-based rivals Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility held, respectively, 59 licences worth CAD879.8 million and 54 licences worth CAD740.9 million. Industry analysts have speculated that Bell and Telus will use the spectrum to deploy GSM/W-CDMA/HSPA networks.

Globalive, parent of long-distance reseller Yak, won 30 spectrum licences worth CAD442 million, giving it good coverage of every region except Quebec, where it was almost completely shut out by Quebecor, parent of cableco Videotron, which bid a total of CAD554.5 million for 17 licences. Another cableco, Shaw Communications spent CAD189.5 million on 18 spectrum concessions in western Canada and the Prairie provinces, whilst its Atlantic Canadian counterpart EastLink (represented by parent Bragg Communications) won 19 licences in its maritime home region (costing CAD25.6 million). Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises (DAVE) Wireless, which boasts investors including Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, won spectrum worth CAD243.2 million in ten urban zones across the country. All concession winners are now required to submit the first 20% of the total of its winning bids to the government as well as details of its ownership structure within the next ten business days. The remaining balance is due within 30 business days.