Canadian Spectrum Auction Hits $4 Billion; New Wireless Provider Looks Promising

A wireless spectrum auction in Canada is close to ending with total bids reaching about $4 billion Canadian ($3.9 billion U.S.), which is about twice the amount expected. Unlike in the recent U.S. auction, the bidding isn’t anonymous, so it’s interesting to note who’s currently winning. So far, it appears that the incumbents are in the lead, but it’s also looking like a new entrant will emerge will be awarded some spectrum to build a new wireless network after the auction’s close, Reuters reports. Possible new contenders include: Montreal-based media and publishing group Quebecor, which has bid C$556 million; Globalive Communications, which has bid C$444 million and current is a privately held firm that offers cheap long-distance calling; Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Wireless, which has bid C$242.5 million and chaired by entrepreneur John Bitove, who is partnered with an investment arm of Paul Allen’s Vulcan; and Shaw Communications, a Western Canadian cable and communications group which has put up C$205.4 million so far.

News that there could be a new entrant isn’t sitting well with Telus, Rogers and BCE, which are all currently offering aggressive promotions and multi-year contracts with the hope of stabilizing their customer bases now before any newcomers come to market. This may even explain why Rogers is asking for a three-year contract for the iPhone in some instances. Meanwhile, Rogers leads the bidding overall with C$949 million, Telus is next with C$847.5 million and BCE has C$728 million in bids. The auction will end after a period of time lapses without any activity.

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