Bell, Rogers blocked from gaining additional 2300MHz spectrum

3 Mar 2014

Canada’s Industry Minister James Moore has issued a decision to block a proposed transaction which would have seen nationwide mobile operators Bell Canada (including Bell Mobility) and Rogers Communications gain additional spectrum in the 2300MHz band from NextWave via the pair’s Inukshuk joint venture. The request was made last October to transfer 83 Wireless Communications Services (WCS) spectrum licences including 30MHz bandwidth in areas across the country from NextWave to Inukshuk. Moore ruled: ‘After considering this request under our Spectrum Licence Transfer Framework, Industry Canada has determined that this licence transfer would lead to unacceptable levels of concentration of spectrum in the hands of incumbent carriers that negatively affects competition in our wireless sector. Industry Canada will therefore not approve the proposed NextWave [applying under a registered name 4253311 Canada Inc] to Inukshuk spectrum transfer request.’ If the transfer had been approved, Bell and Rogers would have raised their combined ownership of national WCS spectrum from 29% to 77%, with Bell saying it had planned to use the spectrum to help expand high speed mobile broadband in rural and remote areas, and Rogers noting that the spectrum would help augment capacity to meet rising data usage demands.