Catalyst Capital Group withdraws from Canada’s upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction

Cellular towerCanada’s upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction has lost another bidder. Industry Canada today updated the bidder list to reflect that the private equity firm had withdrawn. Catalyst Capital Group is Mobilicity’s biggest creditor and had revealed plans this summer to set up a fourth national carrier. It is the fourth company to drop out since the list of bidders was finalized in September. 11 companies now remain.

While this is likely good news for the remaining participants who now face a bit less competition, it is not good news for the Canadian government. Not only did the auction fail to attract any foreign operators as it was likely hoping for but fewer competitors also means that there could be less competitive bidding and the spectrum may end up going for less than expected.

The 700MHz spectrum auction will kick off on January 14, 2014. The Canadian government imposed a rule whereby the Big Three carriers (Bell, Rogers and TELUS) will only be allowed to bid for one of four prime blocks of spectrum whereas the smaller players will be allowed to bid on two. It hopes that this will encourage the rise of a fourth national carrier.

Any guess as to how many bidders remain standing by the time the auction starts? Let us know below.

Sources : Industry Canada // The Globe and Mail