Canadian cableco Eastlink and second-tier mobile operator Wind Mobile confirmed yesterday that they will bid in January’s 700MHz 4G mobile licence auction, alongside ‘dead cert’ entrants Rogers, Telus, Bell, Videotron, SaskTel and MTS. In an interview with Cartt.ca, Eastlink’s CEO Lee Bragg confirmed that the cableco – which currently offers mobile services in its heartland Atlantic region but also holds 3G/4G frequencies in Alberta and Ontario – will bid for 700MHz licences in its existing cable network/mobile licence footprint, while noting that the blocks on offer in the upcoming sale are geographically bigger (e.g. ‘Alberta’) compared to the AWS (1700MHz/2100MHz) territory licences the company won in 2008, further helping plans for future 4G network expansion. Meanwhile, Wind CEO Tony Lacavera told the Globe & Mail that his company also intended to place bids on 14 January, and stated that ‘there is a dire need for additional wireless spectrum in Canada to ensure the long-term success of any independent wireless provider’. Another second-tier cellco, Public Mobile, is also expected to bid, according to statements from its private equity owners earlier this year, although financially-struggling rival Mobilicity is not expected to be in a position to participate.
ITworldcanada notes that all prospective 700MHz licensees must file a refundable 5% deposit today (17 September). Telecoms ministry Industry Canada has set minimum bids for paired spectrum blocks in 14 regions, varying from CAD1.364 million (USD1.323 million) in Newfoundland & Labrador to CAD69.324 million in Southern Ontario, while for the purpose of calculating deposits, each region has been allocated points relative to its population; the full deposit for Newfoundland is CAD1.3 million, for Southern Ontario CAD68.12 million. A reserve deposit for paired spectrum in all 14 regions would be CAD158.73 million, plus any deposits for additional unpaired spectrum. The full list of companies filing 5% deposits will be made public by Industry Canada on 23 September. The remainder of the deposits must be handed over on 29 October.