The envelope has been opened and the big winner is…WIND Mobile. They spent $56.4 million and won all three of their bids in Southern Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia – quite an easy process when you are bidding uncontested. They won the entire 30MHz of spectrum that had been set aside for the in each of the provinces – in two 15MHz blocks. This set aside was only for newcomer carriers that had under 10-percent of the market share or 20-percent of the regional coverage in areas that they provide service. This was the government’s way to keep it out of the hands of the incumbents to foster more competition.
The outcome could have been quite different if Mobilicity was able to bid as well. Rumor had it that they were able to secure enough funds to mount an AWS auction bid, but apparently, that was not the case. With WIND Mobile acquiring all of the licenses in Southern Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, the landscape of the wireless industry could indeed change. With Mobilicity unable to join in the auction, this may finally lead to a WIND Mobile-Mobilicity merger of sorts and would almost certainly be approved by the government – giving them Canada’s fourth major player in the wireless industry.
Videotron secured 30MHz of spectrum in each of Eastern Quebec, Southern Quebec, Eastern Ontario and Northern Quebec for $31.8 million and most likely blocked WIND Mobile from expanding throughout all of Ontario. Eastlink won, in an uncontested battle, 30MHz each in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and PEI, New Brunswick and Northern Ontario for just under $10 million.
Of the Big Three, Rogers was conspicuously absent from taking part in the auction, as they were focusing on the $3.3 billion of 700MHz they purchased just a year ago. TELUS spent $1.51 billion and Bell spent $499.8 million on the remaining two blocks of 10MHz spectrum that spans the entire country. TELUS took both blocks in Alberta, Southern Quebec and British Columbia, although due to their spectrum sharing agreement with Bell, they will both end up with that access.
WIND Mobile’s Chairman, Tony Lacavera, sent out a ‘victory’ Tweet after the results were made known. He said WIND Mobile is dedicating itself to rolling out its LTE services to its market. Nice thoughts, but it will take a year or two before the company is able to offer high-speed internet.