It’s a busy time in the Canadian wireless industry. Not only are 3-year contracts going away, but there is also an upcoming spectrum auction or the 700Mhz spectrum up North. According to a report coming out of BNN, there are three other telecom players that have reportedly expressed interest in biding in the upcoming 700Mhz spectrum auction. Verizon was heavily speculated to be participating, but since they’ve come out and said they have no interest in Canada, they will not be part of the auction.
On another note, BNN’s ‘a source close to the situation’ reveals that Vodafone, AT&T and Norway’s Telenor have all ‘looked at bidding for wireless spectrum in Canada.’ However there were no other details given about how serious these carriers are about bidding for the spectrum or how far down the path they are to participating. We’ve been hearing a lot about this auction lately. We’re expecting it to take place in January of 2014.
The reason why the 700Mhz spectrum is such a big deal is because the lower the spectrum, the better signal you’ll get indoors. For instance in the US, AT&T and Verizon have 700 and 800Mhz spectrum and they have much better building penetration than T-Mobile and Sprint do. Sprint has some really high spectrum, like the 2.5Ghz they gained from purchasing Clearwire which they’ll be using for LTE soon. So long story short, whoever gets this spectrum, or most of it, will probably become the best carrier in Canada. As they’ll have the best building penetration. So it’s really important. As to why AT&T, Vodafone or Telenor are looking to bid, who knows why. Although I’m thinking they are looking to expand from their current countries where they call home. There was a rumor that AT&T was going to buy a stake in Vodafone, we don’t know if that’s still going to happen or not.
We’ll know by September 17th, how many carriers and which ones will be bidding in January. As that’s the bidding due date, when the carriers have to put down their deposit. Who do you want to see move into Canada?