Canada AWS-3 Spectrum Result Summary

AWS-3 Auction CanadaThe AWS-3 auction in Canada has wrapped up raising a total of C$2.11 billion (US$ 1.68b) in a sealed-bid second-price format that was completed in a day. Of the 50 MHz auctioned, 30 MHz was set aside for challengers like Wind Mobile, Videotron and Eastlink who paid just over C$98 m in total, or on average C$0.105 (US$0.084) per MHz-PoP, in what is considered a subsidy to these challengers in a market dominated by incumbents with overwhelming market advantage in spectrum assets and subscriber base. Industry Canada estimates that these operators increased their spectrum holdings by 107% on average, which is considerable. Mobilicity which has filed for Chapter 11 did not bid.

The AWS-3 in Canada spans 1755-1780 MHz / 2155 – 2180 MHz and is divided into three allocations: GHI (2 x 15 MHz), J1 and J2 (each is 2 x 5 MHz). A total of 39 licenses were won of the 42 auctioned. Bell, Telus shelled out a total of C$2b for the J1 and J2 allocations which made the bulk of the auction proceeds, with Telus being the highest spender at C$1.5b followed by Bell at $500m.

Canada AWS-3 Band Plan

Canada AWS-3 Band Plan (Source: Industry Canada)

The regional focus for the challengers as well as incumbents came clear. Wind focusing on Ontario to the west, Videotron in Quebec and Eastlink in Maritimes. All paid the lowest possible amount for their allocation. It is clear that future tie-up between these challengers is a strong possibility. As for the incumbents, unsurprisingly Telus focused on Western Canada and Quebec while Bell focused on Ontario and the Maritimes.

Winners # of Licences Won Price Population
Covered
Bell Mobility Inc. 13 $ 499,868,630 13,489,790
Bragg Communications Incorporated 4 $ 9,957,299 3,101,203
TELUS Communications Company 15 $ 1,511,121,133 30,076,890
Vidéotron s.e.n.c. 4 $ 31,800,359 9,889,843
WIND Mobile Corp. 3 $ 56,400,000 18,140,872
AWS-3 Band allocations

AWS-3 Band allocations (Source: Industry Canada)

Up next will be the 2500 MHz auction set to start April 14.

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About Frank Rayal
Technology strategy, markets and M&As

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