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Telus, Bell mop up residual AWS-3 licences in Prairies

11 Sep 2015

Nationwide operators Telus and Bell Canada were declared winners of residual AWS-3 (2100MHz/1700MHz) 4G spectrum licences at the end of August in the ‘leftover’ concession auction run by Industry Canada. Telus paid CAD58 million (USD43.8 million) for six additional AWS-3 licence blocks covering Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while Bell secured another nine AWS-3 concessions (three in each of the Far North territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) costing CAD206,000. The two national operators outbid SaskTel (in Saskatchewan), MTS (Manitoba) and SSi Micro (Far North). There were no takers for three leftover 700MHz licences.

The main AWS-3 auction earlier this year augmented the Canadian cellcos’ existing AWS-1 frequencies (awarded in 2008). In March 2015 Telus paid CAD1.511 billion for 15 regional 2100MHz/1700MHz licence blocks in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Southern Ontario, Eastern Ontario, Eastern Quebec and Southern Quebec, and following the residual auction Telus now has 21 AWS-3 spectrum licences covering all major regions of the country. In March 2015 Bell bid CAD499.9 million for 13 AWS-3 regional licence blocks in Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Northern Quebec, Southern Ontario, Northern Ontario, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon, meaning it now holds a total of 22 blocks in the band. The March 2015 auction also saw Wind Mobile, Videotron and Eastlink buy AWS-3 concessions set aside for newer entrants.

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