Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada (ISED) announced yesterday (30 November 2023) the conclusion of the country’s 3800MHz 5G spectrum auction, resulting in 4,099 licences awarded to 20 bidders, including 870 licences to small and regional providers. ISED stated that when combined with the previous 3500MHz auction of 2021, small and regional providers have doubled their spectrum holdings, further strengthening their ability to offer competitive services, adding that 3800MHz licences will support faster deployment of high quality 5G network services in every part of the country so consumers and businesses, including those in rural and remote regions, can enjoy the transformative benefits of the latest mobile and fixed wireless broadband technologies.

The auction began on 24 October 2023 with 22 qualified bidders, and bids ended on 24 November with winners purchasing licences valued at CAD2.16 billion (USD1.59 billion) in total, which will be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund administered by the Receiver General of Canada. 95% of licences on offer were sold, including licences in all service areas classed as ‘rural/remote’. Concessions permit mobile or fixed wireless services and carry deployment obligations that require companies to ‘use or lose’ the spectrum within set timelines.

The list of 3800MHz licence winners includes:

• Telus, which bought 1,430 licences, paying CAD619.64 million

• Bell Canada (939 licences, CAD518.07 million)

• Rogers Communications (860 licences, CAD474.77 million)

• Videotron (305 licences, CAD298.90 million)

• Cogeco (bidding via Elite General Partnership) (99 licences, CAD190.29 million)

• Wightman Telecom (bidding via NE&W SPC) (38 licences, CAD17.65 million)

• SaskTel (45 licences, CAD10.19 million)

• Eastlink (Bragg Communications) (187 licences, CAD9.95 million)

• Novus (one licence, CAD6.34 million)

• Sogetel (16 licences, CAD4.39 million)

• Cooptel (eight licences, CAD2.44 million)

• HuronTel (six licences, CAD2.03 million)

• Bruce Telecom (two licences, CAD1.19 million)

• Tbaytel (26 licences, CAD791,000)

• CityWest (71 licences, CAD381,000)

• Ecotel (46 licences, CAD347,000)

• ABC Internet (15 licences, CAD250,000)

• NWIC Inc. (two licences, CAD49,000)

• Indigitel (two licences, CAD24,000)

• MPVWIFI (one licence, CAD3,000).

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