Twelve bidders for 700MHz licences: final list published

11 Nov 2013

Industry Canada has published a final list of twelve qualified bidders for the country’s upcoming 700MHz 4G mobile licence auction scheduled for 14 January 2014, which have all now paid their pre-auction deposits in full. The twelve bidders include nine companies already active in the cellular network operating market: Bell, Rogers, Telus, MTS, SaskTel, Videotron, Globalive Wireless (Wind Mobile), Bragg Communications (Eastlink) and TBayTel. The other three are: Feenix Wireless (a 100%-owned company of Mobilicity chairman John Bitove, whose Obelysk investment firm owns a majority voting share and minority equity share in the financially stricken cellco); Catalyst Capital Group (a private equity firm which owns roughly 30% of Mobilicity’s senior secured notes, and therefore stands to acquire a significant slice of the cellco via debt restructuring); and Novus Wireless (which TeleGeography notes was a winner in the 2008 auction of 1700MHz ‘I Band’/1900MHz ‘G-band’ spectrum sold alongside Canada’s 2100MHz AWS spectrum). Novus is associated with Novus Entertainment, a provider of fibre internet, TV and digital phone services in Vancouver and surrounding areas of British Columbia.

Three provisional applicants have dropped off the list since its first publication in September – Vecima Networks (parent of Saskatchewan fixed-wireless ISP YourLink), 1770129 Alberta Inc (an indirect shareholder in rural Albertan internet provider CCI Wireless) and BH Wave Acquisition Corporation (owned by Birch Hill Equity Partners, previously linked to potential takeover bids for Canadian cellcos including Wind Mobile).

A previous edition of this article included incorrect information about Catalyst Capital Group alluding to past company ownership. TeleGeography has since been informed that Catalyst Capital Group has never been involved in any way in the ownership of Public Mobile.

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