OTTAWA: The Canadian government’s auction of 3500 MHz spectrum, which is key for next generation 5G networks, raised a total of CUS$8.9 billion (US$7.2 billion), Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Thursday.
In a statement, he said 1,495 out of 1,504 available licenses were awarded to 15 Canadian companies, including 757 licenses to small and regional providers. This would boost competition, he added, a reference to Ottawa’s push to open up a market dominated by BCE Inc, Telus Corp and Rogers Communications Inc.
The auction, initially set to take place in June 2020 and delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closed after eight days and 103 rounds of bidding, the government said.
The 3500 MHz spectrum auction has been hotly anticipated by companies looking to expand their 5G coverage in Canada.Preliminary results showed that BCE Inc spent CUS$2.1 billion, Rogers CUS$3.3 billion and Telus Corp CUS$1.9 billion.
(US$1 = 1.2444 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Leslie Adler and Diane Craft)