Government raises $5.27 billion from wireless auction, Quebecor buys into Ontario, Alberta and BC

Daniel Bader

February 19, 2014 5:31pm

The government of Canada has announced the results of the 700MHz spectrum auction, and the number raised is much higher than initially speculated. With a total of $5.27 billion raised across 14 regions, with eight participants, the results are more tantalizing than they could have otherwise been.

One of the main winners is Quebecor, owner of Videotron, which previously purchased AWS spectrum in Quebec and Eastern Ontario during the 2008 auction. This time, the company spent $233 million for prime spectrum in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, as well as Quebec with a total of 17 total licenses in seven markets. Rogers was the big winner, spending $3.3 billion across 22 markets. TELUS was next with $1.1 billion for 31 licenses, while Bell spent just under half that amount — $565.8 million — for 31 licenses.

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According to the output, Rogers spent far more than TELUS and Bell combined because it chose to bid on only paired blocks, considered the “prime” real estate of the spectrum auction. Unpaired spectrum is not as efficient to deploy, and has less interoperability between carriers, which affects roaming agreements.

Rogers purchased A and B block spectrum  — which is aligned with AT&T in the US — in almost every eastern province, excluding Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec, while TELUS outbid them in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Bell chose to focus on C block in the Eastern provinces and Southern Ontario, bolstering its spectrum in those provinces; TELUS took C block spectrum in its core regions of Alberta and British Columbia. Though the two companies did not explicitly comment on it, they are presumed to continue their tower and spectrum sharing agreement, which began with the simultaneous launch of an HSPA+ network in 2009. The cumulative bids of $1.7 billion combined to just over half of Rogers’ $3.29 billion, but the latter claimed the “beachfront” property of the 700Mhz auction.

Videotron’s seven licenses were all in the upper C1 block, which is interoperable with Verizon in the States. Bragg, owners of Eastlink, purchased paired upper C1 spectrum in the Maritimes and Northern Ontario.

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The other upper paired block, C2, (also owned by Verizon down south) was shared between TELUS and Bell in all provinces but Yukon & Northwest Territories & Nunavut, which was acquired by Feenix Wireless — though it’s unclear what the John Bitove-owned holding company will do with the spectrum. MTS and SaskTel both purchased a single block of upper C1 paired spectrum in Manitoba and Saskatchewan respectively.

Industry Minister, James Moore, said during a press conference that “this is a great day for consumers,” and that it is “great” that there will be a fourth competitor in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. At this point, though, it’s unclear what Videotron plans to do with the spectrum, though the best case scenario is that they will expand the wireless provider’s service into those provinces.

TBayTel and Novus, two qualified participants, did not bid in the auction. A 20% down payment on the blocks is due on March 5th, with the balance due on April 2nd. Until then, the companies cannot talk to one another about the results.

By purchasing the bulk of block A and B in the most populated regions of Canada, Rogers adds to its cache of wireless spectrum, which already exceeds that of Bell and TELUS in most of the country. Industry Minister Moore refused to speculate on what would happen with Mobilicity’s AWS spectrum, which is held in key areas like Southern Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

He reiterated that the government’s rules on transferring spectrum to incumbents that would result in “undue concentration” still apply, so it’s unlikely that TELUS will get its wish in that regard. Considering Mobilicity just asked a court for an extension on repaying its debts, it’s clear there is still no buyer in site. Speculation on a “dream team” combination of Videotron, Mobilicity and WIND to take on the incumbents is still alive, but it would take a lot of wrangling to turn that into a fourth national carrier.

Though the amount of spectrum auctioned off was less (60Mhz) than the AWS auction in 2008 (100Mhz), the government raised just under a billion dollars more this time around. And while Rogers purchased 12Mhz of 700Mhz spectrum, less than TELUS’ 16.6Mhz, it is considered of higher quality. Rogers also has more spectrum overall than any other telco in Canada, as it currently uses 850/1900 for 3G and both AWS and 2600Mhz for LTE; adding the A and B blocks to that cache is what new CEO, Guy Laurence, says is “the best for the next 20 years,” referring to the 20-year license period. Being contiguous spectrum (paired spectrum placed side by side) will also help Rogers deploy intra-band carrier aggregation.

  • Ontari_do_not

    oh god my rogers bill was just emailed to me today too.
    oh the irony, oh the pain! hold me, and my wallet!

  • wildspin

    I’m switching to Videotron the moment they turn on in GTA.

    • deltatux

      You’ll likely not see what WIND and Mobilicity are offering if Videotron is coming over. You’ll see prices closer to what the Big 3’s flanker brands offer. It’s not going to be industry shaking, but having competition is better than having none I guess.

    • wildspin

      You’re right, but Mobilicity will be done by that time. It’s really a shame that WIND wasn’t part of this, as many have already pointed out, they could easily inflate their current plans to $60-$70 per month, be good with themselves and make a lot of happy faces.

    • deltatux

      Majority investor has beef with gov’t right now so until that gets resolved, WIND won’t get more spectrum.

    • J-Ro

      I think they have a term for that. Something to do with pigs taking flight.

    • Shawn Payne

      I have no problem paying $55-$65 for Unlimited Nationwide calling and 6+ GB of data if my services are reliable and my data is fast.

    • Thr1ve

      ” if my services are reliable and my data is fast.”

      Don’t hold your breath, this is Videotron we’re talking about…

    • K1Q7

      Closer? Videotron’s prices are much lower and offer more for the money than any of the Big 3. Just as an example, the 6 GO Canada wide plan is 40$ cheaper than on Rogers.

    • deltatux

      Please read carefully before replying. I said their flanker brands, which means Fido, Koodo, Virgin Mobile. Of course not the main Big 3 plans.

    • K1Q7

      My bad. Still, those companies might offer “similar prices” but their offers are far less complete. For high end smartphones, 3GO is 95 + 10 on Koodo, 105$ on Virgin and there’s no 3 GO plan with Fido. Their highest plan is 85 for 1 GO. Those are Canada wide plans. On Videotron, you can have :
      Unlimited local calling with 6 GO for 60$
      Unlimited Quebec wide with 6 GO for 65
      Unlimited Quebec wide with unlimited CAN/US calling from Quebec + 6 GO for 71,95
      Unlimited Canada wide + 6 GO for 80$.

      All these plans come with Call ID, Full Voice Mail (not the case for all companies, although VM is a detail nowadays) and International SMS (not the case for all of them).

    • DaRazorback

      What is a GO? I know things like Mb, MB, Gb and GB, I have never heard of this new GO.

    • kb24

      lol, it is french

    • Mollejuo Software

      GO means GigaOctet. Octet come from a derivative of eight in Latin, octo. A byte is *eight* bits, thus an Octet is also eight bits. Is just a different way to say byte. So far, only Romania, France and Quebec uses the octo terminology in IT .

      Cheers.

    • Matthew Livingstone

      i love when ppl think plans are better here and there. Really ppl play the market and stick with a good plan when you get. I said it once and here it is again
      Unlimited Can-wide talk, sms, mms, cd/vm and 12 GB data $100/month I’m also with Rogers
      oh and this is an Ontario plan I got Dec 2013 no epp, retention offer or limited service discount

    • Patrick Polish

      They also don’t offer up to date infrastructures, they don’t have good coverage and they don’t get all the phones other companies have. When videotron will pays a few billions to have LTE, then their prices will change, until then, you can’t compare a company that works on 5 year old technology

    • bigshynepo

      So Quebecor gets funded with taxpayers dollars from Quebec, 45% of the company is OWNED by Quebec, a province that gets equalization payments from provinces like Alberta just to keep the lights on.

      A governement-owned telecom using taxpayers dollars to buy a service to bilk taxpayers across the country out of more money, money that goes back to Quebecor and the province of Quebec.

      Can I please just wake up in the Twilight Zone for once? It has to make more sense than this…

    • Jean B.

      Please explain the “Quebecor funded by Quebec taxpayer money” part of your reflexion.

    • bigshynepo

      Google: The CBC/Quebecor misinformation war

      This person has a fairly informed view on things though his bias seems to slant towards Quebecor. There’s lots more info out there too.

    • howitzerr

      Shares might have been bought with taxpayers money

      however what you are saying doesn’t make much sense

    • bigshynepo

      Through various channels, government money has been helping to increase Quebecor’s profits to record numbers for years. This goes way beyond owning shares…but owning 45% of the company, plus subsidizing it provincially seems to be a conflict of interest.

      Especially when Quebec is busy spending Alberta’s equalization money as fast as it can on improved child care, english language police, post secondary education subsidies….all of which aren’t available to the same degree in my province.

    • Sweet

      The Canada Pension Plan owns shares of Rogers, Telus and Bell. So, by your logic, the Big 3 are also government owned and using taxpayer’s dollars to buy a service to bilk taxpayers across the country out of more money.

    • bigshynepo

      Owning shares as an investment is completely different than diverting budget dollars to a corporation to sustain itself, and in this case, expand to other markets. Further more, the CPP does not own 45% of Rogers, Bell or Telus available shares….whereas Quebec owns 45% of Quebecor’s available shares. This deal stinks.

    • theguy

      Caisse de Dépot et Placements do own a large part of Quebecor, just like Teacher have (or had, I don’t remember) BCE aka Bell. I really don’t see what is the problem with that.

      If you want more healthcare and social initiatives in your province, elect a progressive governments like most of Canada. That’s the way it work.

    • lukev

      Owning shares as an investment is completely different than diverting budget dollars to a corporation to sustain itself

      Caisse Quebec is an investment board no different than CPPIB.

      If you want to invent a scandal like this, may I suggest SaskTel, which is plainly a government entity?

    • Pascal Arcand

      It is not owned by the QC governement but by the Caisse de Dépots et Placement which is equivalent to Teachers in Ontario. It’s a public Investment Fund yes but the money coming from the Caisse does not comes from the tax payers, It comes from the investors (RRQ (equivalent to the CPP), Public Pension Plans and other investors.

  • silver_arrow

    Shame that Wind couldn’t get into this… A serious shame.

    • deltatux

      They’ll likely appear in the 2.5 GHz spectrum auction instead. Not as great as 700 MHz, but they will get the needed spectrum to add more capacity.

    • Tony Jabroni

      they will not be around that long. the debt is too high and they are just not making the grade. YOU know this.

    • deltatux

      VimpelCom and AAL Corp have no intentions to pull out of Canada afaik, they just don’t want to sink more money into the Canadian gov’t until their spat has been resolved.

    • deltatux

      Don’t see people complaining about LTE coverage inside buildings. Fact is, yes, AWS has can’t penetrate buildings well, but given enough towers, it can easily mitigate that. WIND can just build more towers to offset the higher frequency. The Big 3 has already done that, WIND can do that too. 700 MHz only makes it easier, doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get good indoor reception without it.

    • DaRazorback

      You do realize that every tower cost a minimum of 1 million dollars to build, right?

    • realitycheck

      with maintenance costs including the leasing of the land the tower is on

  • D Kup

    No wonder why Rogers is coming out with Next…. 3.2 billion needs to come from our wallet!

    • Patrick Polish

      except for the fact it’s on optional service and not a requirement. People can bash rogers all they want but the fact is, it’s the company that reinvests the most on their customers…in 2013 they paid for rights to NHL games, a title previously held by Bell, now the 700mhz spectrum. Rogers spend as much money as american carriers but for 10% of the population (and revenue) they have

    • Who Needs Facts

      Their share prices will show it tomorrow.

    • d a

      How does spending billions on idiotic hockey rights help me? I call that a waste of money.

    • Mike

      It diversifies there business which means they can tap into another revenue stream. In this case buying the rights to be the sole broadcasting of NHL games in Canada means they can make a lot of money from advertisers. If you haven’t noticed hockey is a big deal in Canada and there is a lot of money to be made there.

    • Arshad Kazi

      No, you see investing in NHL isn’t a long term mass profit diversified portfolio. Doing what TELUS does with investing in the Canadian health care system through TELUS Health is a smart idea. Invest in an aging population with a $200+ billion industry. Now THAT is smart business and a diversified portfolio.

    • Mike

      Too bad they don’t use their claims system for their own benefits.

    • d a

      AGAIN, HOW DOES THAT HELP ME? IT DOESN’T. and clearly I’m not getting a return in lower prices, this is why if Wind survives I’ll end up there soon.

    • Patrick Polish

      Ya, you should most def end up in the wind with all the rest of the floating trash

    • Patrick Polish

      This reply just means youre a selfish prick. Because anything that doesnt help you is crap right?

    • realitycheck

      I think he meant for the average person. Rogers investments isnt selfless like the way you put it. You even spinned their NHL rights purchase and the 700mhz majority to be a plus for Canadians

    • d a

      donkey boy, it doesn’t help the CONSUMER you f00L. It only helps Rogers and it’s investors and ya, it’s my money you f00L, of course that’s all I’m worried about. What a clown.

    • Patrick Polish

      Ya you make TOTAL sense!!! Like if 700mhz helped the investor get better signal in buldings with thick wall, better connection with less dropped calls, less propagation loss, higher LTE speeds. Ya that, and the fact thats i’ll be able to watch NHL games on my phone, ya, that really helps the investors, as long as they are rogers customers as well. YOU F00L

    • d a

      LOL, priceless, keep explaining your logic to further prove mine about you. “Thick” Were Rogers customers asking for 700mhz? Were their customers begging for NHL? You’re dopey, I get it but it just amazes me that you don’t get that 700mhz and nhl had nothing to do with doing their customers any favours. NHL was about making money FOR ROGERS and 700mhz was about keeping it away from everyone else. That’s it.

    • Patrick Polish

      Ya i’m sure, because future proofing technology is such a bad thing to do right?? Because spending BILLIONS more than any other company of that investor money back into infrastructures is soooo f00lish from Rogers right? This Sir, just proves how much of a low IQ basic troll you are and not a single thing more. NHL is this country’s national sport. Millions of us watch it and Rogers just snatched the exclusivity deal away from Bell. I’m very happy with that, and it gives me a new good reason to keep on paying my bill each month. But obviously, you can’t say that by living in your moms basement and sucking her hard earned money from her into wasting your miserable life doing nothing constructive.

    • d a

      One other thing, you didn’t learn from the last time you called me selfish? I guess the reason is in your name. Thick, very thick.

  • kirilmatt

    It’s pretty crazy that rogers had to spend about 3x more than telus to cover the same amount of people!

    • MatroXX

      While Bell paid half as much as Telus…

    • kirilmatt

      That too! I’m surprised rogers is still the leading carrier when they have to out-spend bell and telus combined on infrastructure in order to compete.

    • marorun1982

      What will happen if bell and Telus share those same as hspa just think of the coverage.

    • Francois Roy

      Are you kidding? It’s quite the opposite, in fact; Rogers is spending big bucks for the best licences, which will lead to have the best, most stable network across the whole country.!
      They will have the most efficient roaming deals, etc..

      3 billion is not THAT much for a telecom;

      And wireless spectrum doesnt grow on trees like money.

    • Ryan Laker

      $3 billion is $1billion more than their income before tax for all of 2013. Definitely not just a drop in the bucket.

    • deltatux

      Paired blocks are the prime real estate. More blocks means more spectrum to use to densify the towers. It just translates to better coverage. So is it money well spent for Rogers? Maybe…

    • Patrick Polish

      not maybe, YES!

    • thomas nguyen

      they may have spent 3x more, but they got paired licenses. meaning they get the benefit of even faster speeds when they group up the paired license. compared to unpaired licenses. its definitely worth the price tag

  • Guest

    Not sure why Feenix needs that 1 tiny block, since it won’t really cover the user base I know it’ll likely be used to cover based on my sources…

    • Tpickles

      They most likely put the bid in at the beginning thinking they would squeeze out some more blocks elsewhere, we could see a low cost carrier up in the middle of nowhere to service the 100k up there.

  • Daniel Martin

    Go Rogers!

    • Daniel Martin

      What’s with the down vote. Rogers at least for me as the best coverage around me and where I travel. And thanks to retentions I have a sweet plan that’s priced a little better than Telus and Bell

    • marorun1982

      Overall Telus and bell got better coverage. The super high speed is useless with monthly data bandwidth cap..

    • Mike

      How much data do you need on your mobile device? U barely use 1 when I have 6

    • marorun1982

      if I use it for gaming.. nearly 1 gb per weekend day. I can’t right now not because of performance as I.get pretty good ping but bandwidth usage kill me…

    • Mike

      Gaming? Are we talking PC gaming?

    • marorun1982

      Yes sir.

    • Austin

      then you should downgrade then.

      I for one use right up to my 6 GB of data, since this my S3 is basically my laptop on the road – downloading music, watching videos, sending emails, etc.

      There should be no caps, Caps are just a cash cow and should be removed…

    • Arshad Kazi

      And end up with a useless network like what happened in the US to AT&T with unlimited data plans after the first iPhone launch? No thanks. I’d rather use my cellphone with the primary goal of calling and texting and then secondary goal of YouTube and gaming. Wireless networks were never designed to run data at hard wire speeds. They were designed to make a receive calls. Until we get LTE-A, we are definitely not going to be getting anywhere close to being able to remove data caps.

    • Ry29

      Well, let’s see how they build out this network. So far, I have not been impressed by their rural coverage, at least in Eastern Ontario

  • aamd11

    How is it that Bell can spend half of what Telus did for the same amount? Is it spectrum in less desirable areas?

    • Thomas Yok

      Clearly thought the bidding out.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      This wasn’t a blind auction where you throw arbitrary numbers in the air. To get two paired blocks, Rogers had to win one of the prime blocks (B, C, C1, or C2) and then outbid everyone else on A. They spent big on A and B because they’re contiguous blocks of spectrum. 20 years of the best spectrum combination they could get from the auction. I’m sure Telus/Bell bid Rogers up, but that’s why Industry Canada changed the rules, to make more money.

    • Wufai

      It means Bell did their homework to gauge that after spending all that money to scare away american investors. They can bid low at 500mil to secure the spectrum without worrying the competitior outbid them. Really, just how much do you think Mobilcity and Wind can afford to bid? Telus is bidding with competition in mind and Roger just has too much money to care.

    • Aaa

      you are very uneducated my friend, the reason bell paid the least amount of money is due to location. Rogers spent so much because they bought Block A spectrum which is the most expensive and also, Rogers bought blocks in the most populated areas which cost more. What bell did is they bought Unpaired blocks in heavily populated populated areas (such as southern ontario) so that they can cut their costs. This goes to show that Rogers actually wants to build a better network with the higher end spectrum. I hate rogers as much as the other guy but i actually really like this move by them as it will help us….and for anyone who says “my bill will go up because of this” your even more of an i***t, cause the big 3 have been saving up for this auction for years now and in telecom this is pocket change

    • NotARogersEmployee

      Nope. This wasn’t a blind auction where you throw arbitrary numbers in the air. To get two paired blocks, Rogers had to win one of the prime blocks (B, C, C1, or C2) and then outbid everyone else on A. They spent big on A and B because they’re contiguous blocks of spectrum. 20 years of the best spectrum combination they could get from the auction. I’m sure Telus/Bell bid Rogers up, but that’s why Industry Canada changed the rules, to make more money.

  • Shawn Payne

    Hopefully Videotron can do what Mobilicity and Wind tried to do. Have a reliable service for a fair price and devices that are compatible with most of the devices released in the world. Their prices were good, but their reliability and device compatibility were pretty poor.

    • deltatux

      As stated in the comment below. It’s unlikely, they’ll have better service but will likely be closer to the Big 3’s flanker brand offerings than what WIND and Mobilicity are offering.

  • Tpickles

    Going to be very interesting to see what videotron does with their spectrum hopefully we see a decent 4th carrier at better prices

    • Tony Jabroni

      ummm no you are sadly mistaken. VT did not get enough spectrum to make it work and who are they going to roam on? do think carefully…. Rogers is right! bravo!

    • Tpickles

      They will be able to create a decent network in the most heavily populated cities in Canada. Even with roaming agreements where its PPU outside those provinces would be sufficient for most people.

    • Tony Jabroni

      do get your facts right. They do not have enough to do both. Ask Brian he will set your straight

  • Thomas Yok

    Wow, Rogers paid $100 per person covered. When others paid $3-33. They must have expected much higher bids.

  • Ariel Moreno

    It will be good if Videotron buys WIND and Mobilicity, then bring the prices they offer in Quebec here in Ontario

    • marorun1982

      The reason why they are going down is too low pricing I think there is to pay less than now but as low as they where it’s not a way to buold a growing business if.you loose.more money than yuu make
      .

    • wes

      Did you ever check the plans with videotron? They arent really that cheap. Plus a lot of the plans they have advertised require you to have multiple services with Videotron to be eligible for those prices.

    • K1Q7

      Have you been on their website lately? Nope. You don’t need to have to multiple services to have those plans. You get additional discount if you have other services but that isn’t even shown there.

    • wes

      You are right, they have changed that. It used to be the other way around.

    • Alexandre

      Well 6Go for 60$ is expensive? including a 400$ rebate on cellphone? try to find that on Bell, Rogers or Telus. Here’s Bell, 105$ for 6gb of data and it has the double data thing so its only 3gb regular. Its 120$ the regular price. You can check the base plan but the rebate will only be like 100$ or 0$. You say we need multiple service to have thoses plans, its totaly fake because i have only the cellphone with them and I had 6Go for 55$ and if I had another service, it would be 50$. So 6Go for 50$ with 400$ rebate on your phone is expensive? Ok so that was the part for thoses who stay in Quebec but I’m sure you want to compare Videotron’s plan for all the Canada which is 80$ for 6Go. If youu have another service, 5$ rebate, you are a student, 5$ rebate, you bring your own device, 5$ rebate and also if you sign a contract, the rebate on the smartphone is 450$. I don’t see anything come close to that.

      You might say Wind but how’s their network and their speed? I don’t know but I doubt it’s better than Videotron because their 4G is about as fast as Bell’s first gen of LTE. With Bell I had 10-12 mbps on 4g and 25-30 mbps on LTE. With Videotron I have 22-28 mbps on 4g. It may be slower than LTE but it saves my battery and I find their network more stable. Also, they have the best customer service I have ever seen. They treat you with respect, they don’t insult you (unlike Bell and Rogers) and they answer anything questions you have and the even call you back if you can’t continue to talk.

      Now i have unlimited data plan for 75$/month. I have currently used 16Go this cycle and I’m still able to stream 1080p movies and my slowest speedtest after throttling is 14mbps in Montreal and most of the time I’m above 20mbps.

      So please, stop saying bullshit if you don’t know what you are talking about, just like I won’t comment on Wind and Mobilicity since I never used their serviceé And don’t come and say i’m a Videotron’s fan, it’s only my 4th month with them, I’ve been with Bell for over a year on Mobility and I have TV, home internet and homephone with Bell for over 4 years because of their lower price despite their bad customer service and waiting time.

    • wes

      Like i said, Videotron isn’t cheap. 6gig for 60$ is great deal at the moment, and I guess they recently changed the plans so that you wouldn’t need to have other services to get the special price.

      60$ is still expensive compared to what would have been the price if Wind was in Quebec. With Wind you’d have unlimited internet at 30$ a month. 30$ a month is damn good.

      60$ is still 20$ more per month than I’m paying for my monthly 6 gig plan with Fido.

    • SkAshe

      They give a 5$ rebate if you have your own device? I ask cause I don’t have that 5$ discount on my bill, yet I have no contract.

    • Alexandre

      That’s what a rep told me and I also saw it on their facebook because someone asked about it on their post about the new unlimited data plan (new at the time) and their answer was that you get a 5$ rebate but only on plan with unlimited voice. If you try to look for that comment and the answer on facebook, it’s in french not english just to tell you.
      I recommend you to give them a call and/or go to a store and ask about this rebate. If one rep says he doesn’t know about it or that it doesn’t exist, ask another rep or give them another call later. Sometime they doesnt have all the information, you can’t even find that on their website, and most of the people get a contract because you get 400-500$ rebate on smartphone over 2 years which is more than the 120$ saved from the price over 2 years too (and Big three 10% rebate is better with 50$+ plan) so most of the time, they never gave that rebate so they dont know about it. But that is IF you pay the same price for the smartphone. Sometimes they have false information, just like one rep told me that unlimited data plan wouldn’t work on Rogers in Quebec but in fact, I still have unlimited and 3 other reps confirmed.
      Videotron has a great customer service, with only a few seconds waiting time so don’t be afraid to ask them anything you want to know or even ask them to verify their information with their supervisor.
      Also, just to be sure, check if you need to have an unlocked smartphone so it could be the reason why you don’t have a rebate.
      I hope this will help you reduces your monthly bill. Good luck.

  • Aamir Pasha

    won’t bell and telus just share their spectrum like they always do? Telus covers the west and bell the east.

    • accord1999

      Probably, based on what I’ve read on which companies got which licenses, by sharing nearly all existing Bellus LTE phones will be compatible.

    • ScooterinAB

      No. No. The don’t share spectrum. They share towers. To-wers. Not spectrum.

    • marorun1982

      You are simply wrong but it’s okay need to work at Telus or bell and be a tech.. anyway.

    • ScooterinAB

      I can say the same to you. I’ve sold for both companies. They DO NOT share spectrum. They share towers. Not spectrum. The two are different, and one of them is not shared. Please stop making up facts.

    • marorun1982

      I am currently working at Telus. How can Telus get network then where they don’t have tower and antenna? they share the network the only difference between bell/Telus and Rogers/videotron is videotron pay to use the network where bell and Telus share. I even called the director of eastern Canada technical support at Telus to make sure.t

    • ScooterinAB

      I would say either tower sharing or a domestic roaming agreement, and then ask you why Telus and Bell towers have two sets of equipment on each tower, and why they bid on and purchase spectrum separately. Towers, not spectrum.

    • marorun1982

      they do not share Lte network nor Cdma network so it’s normal you see many set of equipments onthe tower. anyway wasted enuf of my time explaining. salesman from providers have Lil tech knowledge so having sold for both company do not make you an expert.
      here I work at tech support at Telus.

    • ScooterinAB

      I know from a vast and long history that tech support staff are also unreliable. I’ve worked with too many tech support staff who know nothing of the products they service, and only work there to collect a pay cheque. So I’d be careful when you point fingers, because 3 are pointing back at you.

    • marorun1982

      in every apple bucket you can find rotten one. there is tech support that’s want to do as little as possible but not all is like this.

    • ScooterinAB

      I’m not trying to be a dick, but can you please edit that comment? I have no idea what you are trying to say.

    • ScooterinAB

      Thanks for the rewrite. But there are also sales staff who educate themselves about the networks they sell to, just as there are those who also do as little as possible.

      I would caution you to not paint people with such broad strokes. You saying that your sales staff are i****s and that we shouldn’t listen to them is the very reason why customers have problems with the Big 3

  • Tony Jabroni

    lol you think VT has that kind of cash. ask around what the debt is.. 2.5 billion yes yes !

    • Joseph

      Videotron makes good money remember like bell most of the money stream is from cable television and internet…..and last I remember reading VT has enough money to scoup up 1 or both of them.

    • kkritsilas

      Vimpel shot WInd in the head. Basically reduced it to the same status as Public was just before they went under. Without any 700MHz spectrum, it will cost Wind a lot more to get coverage than if they had 700MHz spectrum. They are an AWS only spectrum company. They not only crippled the ability of Wind to compete as a viable alternative to the Big 3, Vimpel just threw away a lot of value that may have been in Wind for any potential buyers. Why does a buyer even look at Wind when their costs to deploy a full coverage network just went through the roof? There is NO more 700MHz spectrum to be had, and they certainly aren’t going to get any 800-900 spectrum back from the Big 3. Wind will now start to spiral downwards, and will be bought out by Videotron (who also operates an AWS network, yet does have 700MHz spectrum). Wind won’t bring much money, either without any 700MHz spectrum, so the buyout cost for Videotron just went down.

      When I was in Montreal in January, there was a new Videotron plan announced: $85 unlimited EVERYTHING (Voice, Text, and Data). I’m pretty sure the Voice was Canada wide, but don’t quote me on that. That is substantially better than anything the Big 3 have.

      Kostas

  • Plazmic Flame

    The ultimate move would be for Videotron to buy Mobilicity & WIND, flip on that LTE and over the same prices they offer or that WIND offers.

    • SkAshe

      They don’t even offer those kind of plans in Quebec, don’t expect anything from them in other provinces.

    • Davan Mills

      Videotron brought back the unlimited data plan in Quebec.

    • SkAshe

      I don’t see it anywhere on their website and they were offering it for 80$, far from the 30$ from WIND.

    • marorun1982

      Yes and who is expending and who is dying right now?

    • SkAshe

      Yes what? The unlimited plan? Give me a link where I can see it because it was a limited promo plan that expired a couple of days ago. I’m not saying that Videotron are bad, I’m just saying to not expect them to give you a 30$ everything unlimited plan cause they won’t.

    • marorun1982

      I don’t care about if the plan exist or not so no point in asking me a link
      .. My point is unlimited everything for 30$ is unsustainable videotron is higher priced but low enuf that’s they actually growing and making money not dying like wind..

    • SkAshe

      Can you please tell me where I said that Videotron should or will do that or that it would be sustainable? I just said that they won’t offer a 30$ unlimited plan.

    • marorun1982

      Your comment mean what then? why would videotron would not do that’s for 30$ à month? What your point with that’s comment or was it a pointless comment?

    • SkAshe

      “The ultimate move would be for Videotron to buy Mobilicity & WIND, flip on that LTE and over the same prices they offer or that WIND offers” I was arguing over his last three words telling him to not expect anything from them.

    • marorun1982

      In fact you can anticipate price to go up as all who won enuf block will spend millions if not billions to build the network.

    • wes

      www mobilesyrup com/2014/01/08/videotron-comes-debuts-79-95month-quebec-wide-unlimited-data-plan/

      From mobilesyrup

    • SkAshe

      Yes but the plan is not currently available on their website, can you guys actually read god dammit? It was a limited offer that is expired now.

    • wes

      It expired a few days ago. So there isn’t any more unlimited in Quebec.

    • SkAshe

      Exactly what I’m trying to say since yesterday.

    • wes

      Agree with you. Even at 80 I find it expensive

    • wes

      Their unlimited data plan was a Fair Usage plan (after 5 gigs, they would throttle the data) same as Wind. Comparing Wind and Videotron, the price difference was 50$ for “unlimited data”. Wind = 30$ a month and Videotron = 80$ a month.

    • Davan Mills

      Apologies, my point was that Videotron brought back what no competing carrier in Quebec did. Competition allows us consumers to say that at least we have options. If for instance Rogers had that initiative, wouldn’t there be change in the market?

    • wes

      Only if Wind came to Quebec…. :)

    • Alexandre

      Yes it had a fair usage policy but Videotron’s network is strong and stable, that’s why its more expensive. Their network is larger and faster. So yes, its more expensive than Wind, but I prefer to pay 75$/month (because of 5$ student rebate) with larger network and faster speed. Also I don’t think Wind allows tethering for 30$ a month and I’m not sure but I don’t think it includes a 450$ rebate on a smartphone on a 2 year contract, maybe they offer less or more but it’s something you have to think before making a simple comparison
      And the fair usag policy isnt that bad because I’m currently at 16,5Go this cycle and my 4G is still faster than Bell 4G.With Bell I had 10-12 mbps on 4g and 25-30 mbps on LTE. With Videotron I have 22-28 mbps on 4g and after the fair usage policy 15-28 mbps in speedtest but while surfing, streaming or tethering, I dont see a difference. I don’t really mind no having LTE right now because I’m not streaming 4k, only in 1080p.
      I heard Wind’s speed aren’t great compare to the Big three. Sure Videotron can’t compete with LTE right now but their 4G is better than the Big three even after fair usage policy.
      Also Videotron offers multiple service in Quebec and includes rebate if you have another service with them and Quebecor (the owner of Videotron) said they wanted clients with multiple services but they dont offer thoses services in the rest of Canada so I’m sure they will change their plan. Maybe it will be cheaper, or maybe come closer to the Big three.

      Anyways, my point was that you cannot make so simple comparison between he two plan because of th rebate on the smartphone, the size of the network and the speed. Also Videotron’s unlimited data works on Rogers network in Quebec and Ontario.

    • wes

      Basically Wind and Videotron bought the same bands. Videotron out bid Wind for Quebec, so theoretically speeds should be similar, the question that remains to be answered (and we will never know) is whether Wind would have been able to expand as fast as Videotron or have the same coverage. Videotron, owned by Quebecor, has a huge advantage compared with Wind. I guess one will never know. From what I’ve read Wind does throttle heavily, I’m guessing Videotron will do the same when more people use it as a primary source of internet.

    • Alexandre

      It’s not only about the bands but the amout of customers per tower and how much speed thoses towers can provide. Maybe Wind uses cooper wires or fiber, I don’t know, but I know that Videotron uses fiber.
      I think Videotron has more towers per customers (or smaller cell, depend on how you see it) so that’s how they would offer more speed than Wind using the same bands and maybe their towers can provide more data and also it would explain why they have higher prices because more towers and stronger towers is more expensive.
      Also Videotron has revenues from other services so they can handle to lose some money from mobile section to develop their network unlike Wind. So unless Wind had a lot of money, I doubt they could expand as fast as Videotron.
      I’m not sure but I think it would be wiser to compare the higher priced plan from Wind since the Videotron’s plan has a 450$ rebate on a smartphone and also Videotron allows tethering (not sure if Wind allows it) and unlimited data can come down to 65$ if you have another service, you are a student and you bring your own device which can make it more attractive.

      Well how is see it is that Wind is a bit like Public Mobile (I have tried them) which is lower price but slower speed and smaller coverage. I may be wrong, but some people compare Public Mobile to Wind in Ontario and I know for sure that Videotron is way better than Public Mobile in Montreal.
      And Videotron is like between the big three and the smaller carrier. Better coverage, faster speed but higher prices.

    • wes

      Public Mobile uses the G band/block, which is slower than the AWS band that were bought by Wind and Videotron.

      “Public Mobile paid $52 million to purchase PCS G Band spectrum during the 2008 Industry Canada Spectrum auction. It is currently the only company in the world to deploy this spectrum. Other participants in the 2008 Spectrum auction include Wind Mobile and Mobilicity purchasing the different Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum for their networks in Southern Ontario,[3] while Videotron purchased AWS to provide service throughout the province of Quebec.”

      So Videotron, Mobilicity and Wind Mobile have the same bands, with a max speed of 42mbps (HSPA+). They don’t have LTE, whereas the Big three have LTE.

      Public Mobile is in their own boat.
      Wind, Mobilicity and Videtron are equivalent in their bands (same boat).
      Big 3 are in a different boat.

    • wes

      NOW THE VIDEOTRON 79.95$ plan with 30 gigs is an AMAZING plan! No throttling!

      “Videotron reduces roaming rates, unveils a $79/month Unlimited plan for business with 30GB data”

    • Alexandre

      One word, business. You need to compare the same thing. Yes it’s good, but unless if you have a company or works for a company that pays your phone, you can’t have it. Also you shouldn’t compare it to regular Big three plans, you should compare it to their business plans. Telus offers 6gb for 60$ with nation wide calls and a free samsung galaxy s4 with a 2 years contract if you are an enginner and maybe they have better prices for companies, I didn’t check it, but the point is that you need to compare things in the same category.

    • wes

      “This limited-time offer is for CURRENT Videotron mobile telephone service customers OR all Business customers subscribing to Videotron’s mobile telephone service.”
      Seems as if you don’t need to be a business owner to have it. It seems as if it’s an introductory plan that they are offering to all mobile customers.

    • Alexandre

      I gave them a call and they confirmed what I thought.
      It’s a mistake, it’s only for business customer. And if you try select that plan on their site, you absolutely need a company and that’s why it’s not also in residential plans but only in business plans.

      Also I think it’s like the unlimited data plan for residential because it has a ton of data, but not unlimited, it’s not throttled and it’s a limited time offer. Business doesnt stream movies like residentials customers, at least not always, but for them time is money so they want full speed.

  • ScooterinAB

    Honestly, nothing surprising here. Rogers tossed money around. Telus and Bell got their share. A few other companies got a block or two. Quebecor snuck in with the appearancr of expansion.

  • Arshad Kazi

    You guys have to remember, TELUS might have bought 14 unpaired spectrum but they still have tons of Mike network spectrum to switch over to their existing cellular portfolio. TELUS might do what Rogers and Bell were allowed to do with their original 2100 Mhz spectrum, which was designed for something other than cellular.

    • marorun1982

      And the cdma spectrum too.

  • Who Needs Facts

    I guess Quebecor will end up with Mobilicity, Wind or both. Whatever happens, Winds’s days have got to be numbered.

    Should work out ok if Videotron actually spends some of the billions they have access to through the Quebec Pension Plan.

    Look for prices to go up in short term. The telco’s over paid by about a factor of four, (compared to american auction of same spectrum) and combined with the capex needed to build the 700Mhz out, will be looking for cash asap.

    • deltatux

      WIND can survive with AWS, 700 MHz would have been better, but they’re not dead without it. They can still bid for 2.5 GHz spectrum or buy out a competitor with AWS bands still.

    • Who Needs Facts

      Wind may be able to do all you say, I don’t know. I do know that five (some may argue four) competitors has proven not to work in our market.

      With Quebecor slicing the pie a little thinner, Wind’s already iffy at best returns are going to drop lower.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    Glad to see Videotron expanding

  • Ben Dover

    I thought Bell, Rogers and Telus were only allowed to bid on one block in each area. How then were they able to buy 3 and 4 blocks in some areas?

    • Comrade Yeti

      Blocks A, D, and E were not capped. Within B, C, C1, and C2 the big 3 only have one block each per service area.

    • Ben Dover

      So much for the government wanting competition.

  • xsm0kex

    anyone know how much bandwidth alloted per blocks?

  • abc123

    Rogers should be held accountable for what they said about the 700Mhz auction. Do you remember? It went something like “We need the 700Mhz to build out the rural areas.. blah blah blah”

    Well, guess what? They didn’t even bid on the rural areas (ie. Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut). They basically bid, and won, those areas most populated by Canadians.

    This company seriously needs to die.

    • Stephen_81

      I’m sorry but the Territories are not even close to the only rural areas in Canada. Stats Can has multiple definitions but as a base there are more than 8 Million people in Canada living in rural areas, so Rogers easily can be expanding into Rural without ever touching the territories

  • southerndinner

    ” It also will carry more data, at lower cost to the carriers, which Moore said should result in lower costs to consumers.”

    LOL. Sure thing Moore.

    • Sweet

      Yeah, ‘cause, as everyone knows, the Big 3 would never dream of pocketing the savings.

  • thewinnipegger

    Manitoba is just pathetic and i live in this province, nothing new here not even a new entry.

    • Brian Peter

      MTS provides excellent service and plans. I don’t know what you are complaining about.

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    to me After looking at English Videotron site there plans are just bad as the big 3

    • Rio

      Umm. $71.95 for unlimited calling and 6GB of data?
      $70 on the big 3 gets you 500MB of data.

      6GB = 5 * 500MB

    • Comrade Yeti

      6GB = 12 * 500MB… not sure what you are trying to say

    • Rio

      Lol my bad, that was horrible math.

      Was trying to say we get 12 times the data for the same price with videotron as opposed to the BIG 3

    • K1Q7

      Unlimited Canada wide calling + 6 GO -> Rogers, Bell and Telus = 120$
      Videotron -> 80

  • Hot Toronto Deals

    Let’s face it, from a capital-deployment point of view, the current Bell-Telus Network Sharing Agreement is working. Notice how they split the pairs in each other’s blocks that they have won. No doubt they plan on building out a 700Mhz network together and sourcing from same network hardware to minimize issues of handoffs & handshakes between equipment.

  • Anon-e-mouse

    Here’s a novel idea; Quebecor should buy Allstream from MTS so they can offer internet services/iptv in other parts of Canada along with their potential future mobile offering so they can offer bundles.

    • Brian Peter

      No, they shouldn’t, because they would likely change and ruin probably the best carrier in all of Canada

    • Anon-e-mouse

      Are you talking about MTS or All stream? From what I’ve heard, MTS is bleeding cash because of Allstream. They already tried selling it but the government denied the sale for “national security reasons”.

  • Mike Scott

    With the plans that Videotron launches in Quebec.. I’m looking forward to similar plans like that in Alberta.. ABOUT TIME THERES COMPETITION!

  • Anaron

    I had a feeling Rogers would gobble up the most valuable spectrum. Oh well.

  • Paul Serge

    Regarding WIND and Mobilicity: it’s bad.
    They will not have LTE period
    They cannot be sold to Rogers, Bell or Telus.
    And they may soon have a 4th carrier to compete against.

    • kkritsilas

      But Videotron can buy them. And the fit is excellent; same AWS spectrum (whatever towers Wind has in place will work from day 1); price for Wind will be lower because they are not really viable anymore, and Wind didn’t take on any more debt by staying out of the 700MHz auction. Videotron will buy out Wind, and maybe Mobilicity.

      Kostas

  • Who Needs Facts

    Just a reality check for those quoting Quebecor’s relatively “cheap” plans. Best take a screen shot because the day after the final cheque is written to the Conservatives they are going to be looking at both paying the $230 million off as well as financing their expansion.

    Whether they expand by buying up Wind or Mobilicty or both, deploying the new spectrum is going to cost money and shareholders are going to demand it now, not later.

  • Shane Fugere

    Hopefully northwestern ontario gets better coverage.

  • Jakob

    I know we all hate on the big 3 but I’m glad one of them clearly dropped the cash to invest on the best spectrum we know of today. In the years to come, that will make a huge difference with how our technology functions. Personally, I’m very irritated when I have reception issues in downtown Toronto because of the amount of concrete in some of these buildings.

    • Mel

      The only real way to have indoor coverage is for building owners and carriers to install indoor distributed antenna systems such as what was done in the stadiums that host the Superbowl in the US.

  • nojan nak.

    Why did Rogers get block A?? no phone supports block A. so if they deploy LTE band 12 instead of 17, that would be totally futile.

    • John

      Possibly for mobile sticks and internet hubs which can be built for specific bands.

  • Pee Shabbles

    Everything in Canada is expensive.

  • HD Z

    Quebec will rise