North of the U.S. border, five bidders walked away with 39 out of 42 available licenses at the end of an auction of AWS-3 wireless spectrum that reaped CA$2 billion (US$1.67 billion) for the Canadian government.  

The auction of Canadian AWS-3 channels in the 1.7/2.1 GHz bands began and concluded last Friday with Telus Communications, the auction’s lead bidder, securing rights to 15 licenses at a cost of CA$1.51 billion.  Describing the spectrum winnings as “very complimentary” to the national AWS spectrum allotment his company won at auction in 2008, Telus Executive Chairman Darren Entwistle said that, “given the significant investment made by U.S. carriers, Telus is optimistic that the AWS-3 handset and network ecosystem will develop at an accelerated pace, allowing Telus to quickly put this spectrum to use for our customers.”  Bell Mobility, the second-place winner, posted nearly $500 million for 13 licenses encompassing the entire AWS-3 spectrum allotment assigned by the government to incumbents in ten regions.  Other winners include Videotron and Bragg Communications, which both took four licenses each, and WIND Mobile, which paid $56.4 million for three licenses to boost its total spectrum holdings by 180%.  

Each license carries a term of 20 years, and, depending on the license block won, each licensee will be required to cover between 20% and 60% of its authorized service area within eight years.  Applauding the auction’s success, Minister of Industry James Moore proclaimed:  “our government has one goal:  to take deliberate, concrete steps to create more choice, lower prices and better wireless service for Canadians.”