Canadian 600MHz auction raises CAD3.5bn; Rogers dominates bidding

11 Apr 2019

Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, yesterday (10 April 2019) announced the results of the country’s 600MHz wireless spectrum licence auction, which generated a total of CAD3.5 billion (USD2.6 billion) for the national Consolidated Revenue Fund. 70MHz of spectrum was divided into 10MHz blocks in each service area, including 30MHz set aside for regional providers in each area. In total, 104 of the 112 available licences were allocated after 54 rounds of bidding beginning on 12 March and ending on 4 April.

Rogers Communications dominated the bidding, agreeing to pay CAD1.7 billion for 52 licences covering 35.2 million people. Telus was next in line, offering CAD931 million for twelve licences covering a combined 19.8 million people, ahead of Freedom Mobile (owned by Shaw Communications), which committed to pay CAD492 million for eleven licences covering 21.8 million people.

The remaining bidders – in order of financial commitments – were as follows: Videotron (ten licences, CAD255.8 million); Xplornet (four licences, CAD35.8 million); Bragg Communications (Eastlink) (four licences, CAD13.0 million); SaskTel (three licences, CAD12.2 million); TBayTel (one licence, CAD2.8 million); and Iris (Iristel) (seven licences, CAD2.6 million).

A major name absent from the list of winners was Bell Canada, which issued a statement explaining that it decided not to acquire 600MHz wireless spectrum because ‘given the supply of other low-band spectrum that Bell already possesses, 600MHz is not required for Bell to deliver broadband 4G and 5G services.’