As anticipated, Canada’s “Big Three” carriers, Bell, Rogers and Telus dominated the country’s auctioning of 3500 MHz spectrum by generating around 80 percent of the total US$7.2 billion in funding. Last Thursday, the government announced that 1,495 licenses (out of 1,504 available) were awarded to 15 Canadian companies, while small and regional providers made up the remainder. The recent 600 MHz spectrum auction, in comparison, brought US$2.87 billion into the nation’s coffers.
Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the results would boost competition and Ottawa (the nation’s capital) will continue to push to open up a market dominated by the top trio of carriers. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government asked operators to cut prices by a quarter by 2021 after widespread complaints of price gouging, according to Reuters. A global survey of phone rates by independent industry analyst Tefficient has shown Canada to be among the highest in the world of the 44 nations polled. The major carriers replied that they’ve worked on lowering prices.
Results of the auction state that, respectively, Bell spent US$1.66 billion, Rogers US$2.66 billion, and Telus Corp US$1.56 billion while Vidéotron, owned by Quebecor Inc, spent US$664 million in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.
“These major investments pave the way for major projects that will see the light of day in the coming years in Quebec and other Canadian provinces. Our success in Quebec has been in the interest of Quebecers and today we are taking another step to enable a large number of Canadian consumers to benefit from our cutting-edge technology and healthy competition,” said Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor.