Canada’s 700MHz spectrum sale not until late 2012

30 Nov 2010

Canada’s Industry Minister Tony Clement announced yesterday that the country will not auction the next round of mobile frequency spectrum licences, including the 700MHz ‘digital dividend’, until late 2012. The schedule is aimed at giving the government time to resolve several issues relating to the telecoms market before proceeding with further licensing, most important of which being a decision on whether to loosen or even scrap foreign ownership restrictions in the sector. The minister defended the plan to delay the issuing of additional ‘4G’ mobile broadband bandwidth, saying that ‘in order to do it right … You’ve only got one shot.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Canada’s transition from analogue to digital broadcasting is expected to be virtually finished nationwide by August 2011, freeing up the 700MHz digital dividend spectrum band, whilst 31 March 2011 is the date scheduled for the transition of 2500MHz-2690MHz fixed-wireless licences to mobile Broadband Radio Service (BRS) licences. After this date WiMAX broadband network operators such as Inukshuk Wireless, a national joint venture of Bell Canada and Rogers Communications will be free to migrate their usage of 2.5GHz-2.6GHz spectrum to a Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform. Inukshuk has indicated that it will follow such a path, and earlier this month it gained additional 2.6GHz spectrum from YourLink in Saskatchewan to fill gaps in its nationwide frequency footprint.