If Montreal-based telecommunications consultancy SeaBoard Group is right, Canada could see new mobile carriers as early as next summer. In a study called “Champagne Tastes: Beer Budgets”, the company reports that the startup costs and times required to set up a mobile network are much lower than many analysts have predicted.
SeaBoard expects that a company would need to spend about CAD$500 million to set up a network that would cover about 60 percent of the population in the top 15 markets. Such a deployment could be complete by next summer.
SeaBoard’s estimates are based on the fact that incumbent carriers (like Rogers Wireless and Bell Mobility) will need to rent space on their towers to new companies. This saves these new players the necessity to build out their own cellphone tower network. Equipment and deployment costs have also come down significantly as the technology has matured.
Canada’s spectrum auction starts on May 27th and will run for about a month. Winners should be announced by the summer at the latest.