Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada has published the final list of twelve applicants for the upcoming national mobile frequency auction in the 600MHz band. Alongside the big three nationwide mobile operators Rogers Communications, Bell Mobility (part of Bell Canada) and Telus, the other nine applicants are: Freedom Mobile (owned by Shaw Communications); Quebec-based cableco/cellco Videotron; Saskatchewan incumbent SaskTel; cableco/cellco Eastlink (registered as Bragg Communications); Iristel (registered as Iris Technologies – VoIP provider and parent of far-northern cellco Ice Wireless); Xplornet (Canada’s leading rural fixed-wireless broadband provider, which recently entered the mobile market in Manitoba); SSI Micro (Qiniq – far-northern competitor providing wireless voice and data services); Novus Entertainment (British Columbian fibre triple-play operator, associated with Novus Wireless); and Tbaytel (a local full-service telecoms operator in Thunder Bay, Ontario).
Confirmation of qualified bidders is scheduled for 18 December 2018 and the auction bidding starts 12 March 2019. 70MHz of spectrum in the 614MHz-698MHz range is on offer for mobile, fixed or broadcasting services, with 43% (30MHz) of frequencies set aside for ‘regional competitors’ (i.e. existing cellcos other than Bell, Rogers and Telus) and potential new mobile market entrants.