Yesterday (25 January 2023) Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne announced the results of the Residual Spectrum licence auction in the 600MHz, 2500MHz and 3500MHz frequency bands that concluded on 17 January. In total, 27 licences were awarded to six companies, many covering rural and remote areas, including 13 licences awarded to ‘small and regional’ providers. Mr Champagne declared: ‘Today’s results will mean higher-quality services in more of our great country, especially in the rural parts of Canada.’ Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, added: ‘Putting unused spectrum to work is an important part of our government’s efforts to improve connectivity for Canadians living in rural and remote communities. The auction results announced today are yet another step in connecting Canadians from coast to coast to coast.’
Auction revenue totalled CAD29.97 million (USD22.40 million), with licensing deployment requirements aiming to ensure that winners use the spectrum to offer services to end users ‘in a timely manner’. 42 licences had been made available in the auction, which had either gone unsold in previous auctions or had been returned to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), with 15 of these licences now remaining unsold.
Bell Canada was the biggest winner, spending CAD10.61 million on eight licences covering a population of 1.6 million, while Videotron was close behind, buying seven licences for CAD9.93 million (1.3 million population), followed by: Tbaytel (two licences, CAD6.28 million, 780,000 pop.); Rogers Communications (six licences, CAD2.67 million, 490,000 pop.); Sogetel (two licences, CAD413,000, 16,000 pop.); and Ecotel (two licences, CAD66,000, 36,000 pop.).