While I was rediscovering what it means not to have wireless, the latest Canadian wireless spectrum auction ended on July 21st, netting the Canadian government over CAD$4.2 billion, far more than had been originally predicted. Over about eight weeks, 331 bidding rounds took place for 292 licences.
The final results have Rogers Wireless spending almost CAD$1 billion to secure 59 licenses (including most of the A block spectrum across the country). Telus Mobility also secured 59 licenses and Bell Mobility followed with 54. Among the smaller players, Globalive took top spot with 30 licenses.
With 40 percent of the available spectrum not available to the incumbents, a number of companies came away with enough to launch or significantly grow their networks. Globalive secured about 10MHz of spectrum in every province except Quebec where Quebecor secured the lion share of the spectrum. The two could partner up to offer a national network. Other bidders such as Manitoba Telecom and Bragg, adopted a stronger regional focus.
At least one industry expert expects that a new national carrier could be up and running as early as Easter 2009. Whenever new national carriers do launch, it will be interesting to see what happens to both voice and data prices. Will the new players try to undercut the incumbents or will we continue to see high prices as the new players settle for larger profit margins currently enjoyed by Rogers, Telus and Bell?