Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bell Canada declines to buy spectrum in 600 MHz auction

The Government of Canada completed its auction of 600 MHz spectrum.

In total, 104 licences were awarded to nine Canadian companies, including 40 licences to regional providers, covering the entire country. Regional providers more than doubled their share of low-band spectrum, strengthening their ability to offer competitive services to all Canadians. In addition to improving competition, the results of this auction will improve our country's robust networks and support the deployment of current and next-generation technologies.

Bell Canada did not acquire any licenses in the auction. The company noted that it already has spectrum assets in the low, mid and high frequency bands in both urban and rural locations. Specifically, Bell holds spectrum in the 700, 850, 1900, AWS-1, AWS-3, 2500, 3500 MHz and 24 GHz bands. The previously announced shutdown of its CDMA network on April 30 also enables Bell to "re-farm" additional low band spectrum in the 850 MHz band for 5G services.


"We know that Canadians want more choice, lower prices and better service. Through this process, we have strengthened wireless competition, which will drive prices down and improve coverage. It is clear that the big winners in this auction will be Canadians in both urban and rural areas," stated Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Highlights:

  • 600 MHz spectrum carries signals over long distances and penetrates structures better than higher-frequency bands, making it well-suited to deliver services in both urban and rural settings.
  • The auction started March 12, 2019, with 12 Canadian bidders qualified to participate.
  • 70 MHz of spectrum divided in blocks of 10 MHz was available in each service area, including 30 MHz set aside for regional providers in each area.
  • The 600 MHz auction raised $3.47 billion, which will be remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, administered by the Receiver General of Canada.
  • As with the previous 700 MHz and 2500 MHz spectrum auctions, the Government of Canada successfully employed a comprehensive multistep bidding process that included rigorous security protocols to ensure the integrity of the auction.

See also