Industry Canada announces AWS-3 spectrum auction

Cellular towerIndustry Canada today announced that it will hold an AWS-3 spectrum auction ahead of the already announced 2500MHz one coming in 2015. This new auction will offer up 50MHz of paired spectrum and is “designed specifically to put Canadian consumers first.” In essence, the goverment is favouring smaller operators with this auction after most were shut out or did not participate in the 700MHz auction earlier this year. The majority (60%) of the spectrum has been set aside for carriers with less than 10% national and 20% provincial market share.

The spectrum rules include:

  • a large 30MHz block of spectrum set aside for operating new entrants
  • strict provisions on the transfer of AWS-3 spectrum so that Canadian consumers benefit from increased competition in wireless services
  • a simpler, shorter auction process that will provide operating new entrants with a visible path to high-quality spectrum

Industry Minister James Moore once again reiterated that the Canadian government believes that the interests of consumers are best served by having four competitors operating in each region of Canada. Moore said,

“Our government will continue to make decisions that will lead to more choice, lower prices and better service for Canadian consumers. Today’s announcement will help operating new entrants acquire valuable new spectrum to help expand their networks and deliver fast, reliable service to Canadians. The rules for this auction, consistent with the ones for the 700 MHz and 2500 MHz auctions, will encourage more competition in the wireless market while ensuring the interests of consumers first.”

The move was quickly welcomed by WIND Mobile CEO Tony Lacavera. The move could give WIND Mobile access to the LTE spectrum it needs to continue competing against its much larger competitors.

Public consultations will take place later this summer to work out the details of the AWS-3 spectrum auction. The auction itself will take place sometime next year but is expected to wrap up before the 2500MHz auction begins in April.

Much like the 700MHz spectrum, the AWS-3 one works well both in urban areas where it can penetrate further through walls and in rural areas where it can travel further.

Source : Industry Canada