Bidding in Canada’s 700 MHz spectrum auction has started


  • ArberBeq

    Damn the spectrum is so expensive in GTA & Toronto…….

    • Plazmic Flame

      $69 Million as the opening bid? Whole-outha-level. Damn!

    • CluelessCompanion

      Well 1/3 of Canada’s population does live here, so it makes sense.

  • No1

    will there be any live updates on the results?

    • Megalink

      It’s expected to take weeks if not

    • No1


    • MaX Damage

      I believe the last auction lasted about 8 weeks, if I remember correctly

  • alphs22

    Bitove should stick to sports and leave the wireless industry. Mobilicity was a huge flop.

  • wing

    Flaherty and Moore will be going out for a nice supper after the auction (expensed of course). At the table CEO’s from Bell, Telus and Rogers.

    • mobilesyrup

      Remember to also include Christian Paradis. – IH

    • jackjiarocks


  • duwenbasden

    Let’s be honest here: the only spectrum that will be sold is Band 17, and 13 for the losers.

  • Simbob

    Mobilesyrup should write up an article explaining what Freq blocs = what lte bands, compare with those our southern neighbours use, etc … I don’t think that many people knows about that.

  • Tim3Tripp3r

    The PC’S are just as good at “fixing” the wireless industry as they are at military procurement, oh well at least they are consistent. They blow at both.

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    Bidding for the GTA GHA rest of Southern Ontario are the big 3 so are wireless rates will go up I am thinking of going back to a IP Based Phone and forgetting a Cell to prices are closer to Europe

    • Matt

      Europe has more than twice the population density when compared to Canada. How can one possibly expect the same cellular phone rates?

    • Jerrik Nordlee

      If you want lower prices, expect there to be a longer contract term. If you want a shorter contract term, expect the prices to go up.

  • andy_ny

    The big three have probably already negotiated between themselves who is picking what and for what price so they can pay the least. Then they will do the same with their new price plans so they can extract us much money as possible from the people. Canada needs somebody to enforce some antitrust laws here.

    • ScooterinAB

      Everything except your belief that they are squeezing money from a stone isn’t bad things. Coordinating their bidding efforts means that a greater number of Canadians can benefit from this spectrum, instead of a blood bath that no one wins. Likewise, cooperating on plan development means that they can get back to work instead of spending all of their efforts trying to snipe one another. If this is actually happening, it shows a degree of cooperation and consultation, not collusion and antitrust.

      Slander will get you nowhere in life. Trying to understand how business works will. Please learn what antitrust laws are before trying to weaponize them.

    • Billy

      “Cooperation and consultation” I’m sorry but that sounds like Big 3 speak. From a consumer standpoint it is collusion. Plain and simple.

    • ScooterinAB

      No offense, but the customer isn’t always right. Call it what you want and continue grinding your axe, but companies conducting business together cuts a lot of animosity on unnecessary losses from the market. I would much rather have carriers set their prices together and carry on than constantly try and undercut each other and get into mud slinging wars. One action is healthy for the industry, while the other erodes customer confidence.

    • Phil

      Because they have been doing such a great job undercutting eachother and offering low prices so far, right?

    • ScooterinAB

      I’m ignoring this comment, because it is old, off topic, and I’m getting really tired of explaining this over and over again. When the Big 3 do something wrong, they deserve whatever criticism they get. But I’m getting really tired of people making stuff up and then criticizing companies for it.

    • Phil

      You didn’t ignore it, you responded to it.
      And you also attempted to peddle some magic beans about how the big 3 colluding is good for consumers. We don’t see price drops, they see profits. Them saving money does not necessarily equate to any benefit passed on to consumers.
      The high prices they’ve been charging Canadians in mobile ( and internet ) service speak louder than your words, sorry.

    • ScooterinAB

      Ignored. Stop posting in month old threads.

    • Phil

      Heheh. They’ll close comments if they want me to stop.I know you read it, and don’t have an argument beyond “it’s old”. That’s okay. I dunno why you would peddle that nonsense you were peddling to begin with.

    • Stuntman06

      I don’t see how coordinating their bidding efforts is going to benefit Canadians. I would say that if these companies are colluding, they are doing so to milk as much money from consumers as possible. It is in their interests to make sure they make as much money as possible. Imagine if the big 3 merged into one big company. They can coordinate things even better then and I highly doubt that situation would benefit Canadians.

    • ScooterinAB

      By coordinating their bidding efforts (again, if they are doing this), they can keep the overall cost of bidding down. Without Wind and the other handful of bidders who dropped out, there is enough spectrum for everyone. Rather than bid against one another at every turn, they can just pick separate blocks and bid on those.

      Here’s a better example. My dad works in an auction house. When lots come up, he’s often only interested in a handful of times in it, while someone else is interested in a different handful of items. Rather than bid each other up needlessly and paying a higher price for some items one doesn’t want anyways, they can discuss their bidding intentions and split the cost of the lot. For example, my dad often tells me about bidding on items like kids cloths and toys. He often bids on these items so that they can go to charity, rather than getting tossed in the garbage. By making those intentions known, he can participate in the bid without bidding up someone who wants something else in the lot.

      If, and a mighty big if, carriers are doing this, it keeps the bids from getting unnecessarily high, which lowers the overall cost of acquisition and deployment for this spectrum, which means lower costs for consumers. If it costs a fortune to acquire a spectrum license, it costs more to deploy it and more for customers to use it.

    • Aro

      Keeping their bidding costs down only helps them. I have NEVER seen Rogers, Telus or Bell return their good fortune back to the people and have seen many attempts to scam people into services they don’t need, paying more than they should, and creating intentionally confusing agreements that the average person will undoubtably slip on and end up paying extensive overage fees.

      I would be completely in agreement with ScooterinAB, if lower costs to the big 3 meant lower costs for Canadians. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You are better off milking these telecom companies dry in this auction because that is the only money that will ever ‘go back to the consumers’.

      Yes, this is a monopoly. Yes, this is what anti-trust laws are supposed to prevent. By colluding together and avoiding the costs of the auctions, it means the costs of the spectrum will not be based upon their competitive worth. They are undercutting the government which is in turn the Canadian people.

      As much as this sob story for the big 3 may appear, if they were really hurting I think you would see it in the unprofitableness of their businesses…which obviously is not the case. What is evident is that Canada, even in heavily populated areas like Toronto, have some of the worst cellular service and prices in the world.

    • ScooterinAB

      You are missing the entire thing I am trying to say. If the cost of acquiring this spectrum is unnecessarily high, it will cost more to deploy and more for customers to use. This has everything to do with customer costs.

      And for the 900th damn time, there is no monopoly, no anti-trust, no tricking customers into usage fees, no colluding, no undercutting, no keeping the Big 3 down, and no sob story. This is just about pissed off customers like you making crap up to try and justify getting everything for free. You keep refuting unprofitability in launching a new carrier, yet keep ignoring that companies like Wind have failed to gain a profit. That is the definition on unprofitability.

      Thanks for trying to read what I said.

      Now tell me, because you have such an axe to grind against the only companies that are trying to provide nationwide coverage and any money into this industry. Which carrier cut you off? Who touched you in a bad place? I ask because the only time I hear such baseless and crazy accusation is when someone wracked up a huge phone bill because of misuse and got disconnected because of it.

    • Ann-Louise Winter

      I’ll give you an example of why I don’t trust any of them. I got a 3-year plan with Rogers for $70/mo for 2GB data etc a year ago. As soon as the plans went to 2 years, the phone price went up (understandable due to subsidies lost). But the plans also got more expensive for much less. Now, I would get 250 MB for the same $70! To get the same 2 GB it’s now $85. Where’s the advantage to the consumer the government was on about?? Yet I have 80 GB/mo on my home internet for $60. Eh??

    • ScooterinAB

      The question lies with exactly what you are comparing. Yes, prices went up. As you suspected, the costs had to do with lost device subsidy. When my company say our price changes for devices, it was only about $50 per. That was going to happen. With plans, it’s likely that if you compare feature for feature (I believe the plans you are quoting have differing calling features), the costs only went up by about $5.

      “What? $15 isn’t $5,” You say? Again. Feature for feature, item for item comparison is needed. You have to include the costs for all the features the plans include or excluded to get a true price. If the features are different, it’s not an accurate comparison. Yes, prices went up because the payment period was shortened. But they went up by the same margin across every carrier (including the budget carriers like Wind).

      With that said, I’m hoping that prices will come down over the next few months, now that the Wireless Code is in effect and carriers have had time to figure things out. Over time, prices do drop and have been. This is just temporary while companies figured out the costing structure for 2 year terms and high value devices. I’m with you guys for better pricing. I really am. But I try to understand where the real problems are and aim my attentions there without getting sidetracked by knee-jerk reactions and hearsay.

      Regarding home internet vs wireless, they are two completely different creatures and simply cannot be compared against one another. The technology is different and the costs are different.

    • Victim

      Are you that naïve?
      Where do you live that you are not aware of the lawlessness among the big 3 carries?
      I just took Rogers to small claims court and won, and just so you know when I filed my claim the lady at the counter told me that these type of claims against wireless companies skyrocketed.
      PS-I didn’t have a huge bill ….they just don’t charge or follow what they agree with to start.

    • Who Needs Facts


      1.)What is a fair cost for the service you want? Please detail it? What services for what cost?

      2.)Where do you work and how much do you earn?

    • KnowsBetter

      Because you think that the PC Gov that milks ‘these telecom companies dry’ is going to give ‘back to the consumers’ better than the telecom companies themselves? Get your head on straight and wake up from your fairy tale.
      The cost savings means growth and upgrades across a much larger area with a much smaller population than your GTA. We ALL live in Canada, and WE are grateful to have service in every corner including Tuktoyaktuk.

  • ObstacleMan

    The big 3 will get their block each. That’s not up for debate. Same story there.

    The question will be how the blocks for other players will shake out. With the absense of Wind will that drive the price down? Will it make things attractive enough for videotron or bragg to consider scooping up spectrum across the country?

    Will Feenix be able to grab a national spectrum footprint and then buy Mobilicity for a song to kickstart the network?

    If the feds really wanted another national player they would have set aside a national package with a use it or lose it clause of supporting each region to a 70% of the population covered. It would sell cheap due to the high risk, but that’s needed to allow a new company to build out infrastructure.

    • ScooterinAB

      Unlikely regarding Feenix. I understand that they are only interested in regional spectrum, not national.

      The day Industry Canada sets aside free spectrum as a move to force a fourth carrier is the day the wireless industry dies. They need to get their fingers out of the cookie jar and let things happen naturally. Canadians and the industry are best serves by a government that allows for new business but does not force it or punish those already in business. Selling off spectrum licenses only to turn around and hand one-quarter of that spectrum to a company who couldn’t afford the license under normal circumstances would do untold damage to the industry, and would send shocking waves of non-confidence throughout all industries in Canada. Canada’s investment portfolio cannot be greatly damaged just because Industry Canada and the PC government want a new wireless provider.

    • ObstacleMan

      I see where you’re coming from, but I also agree with the fact we need more competition. What I’d really rather see though is a split along the lines of separating infrastructure and content. So that content companies cannot own cable / mobile networks. But perhaps not totally as far as the split that was done with hydro that resulted in Ontario power generation / hydro one.

      The whole owning another company and running it under a different name thing rankles me as well.

    • Billy

      You forgot to mention that Ted Rogers got FREE spectrum to get started.

    • ScooterinAB

      Irrelevant because that was a mistake of the past, and because Rogers isn’t using that spectrum any more. At the time, free spectrum was needed in order to jumpstart the industry. Now, free spectrum flies in the face of business and gives special treatment where special treatment isn’t needed.

      Beside. Wind has already had its fair share of handouts. The government kept cooking rules in order to support them and give them passes. They may not have gotten free spectrum, but they have gotten more than enough special treatment, unique rules, and spectrum handed to them with almost no strings attached.

    • Aro

      and in return Wind is offering better plans that are less sneaky for consumers. Not only that, but the big 3 have had to drop prices and change plans to be more fair to compete.

      Win win for consumers, I’d say. I’d like to see more of that.

    • KnowsBetter

      I don’t see WIND in any City with a population of less than 50,000. And if you’re using the profit margin WIND is maintaining, you need to go back to Math class. Every other new incumbent is going bankrupt because it’s not sustainable. WIND is barely hanging on and obviously didn’t have any capital to invest or interest in growth!

    • Who Needs Facts

      Microcell was free? Seems to me Ted wrote a cheque for $1.4 Billion to someone for that spectrum.

    • Aro

      Hands out of the cookie jar? They had their hands out of their cookie jar since it’s inception. Look where it led us. A monopolized cellular industry that compares poorly to the rest of the world.

      Scooter…you seem to be a hired gun of the big 3 posting a thousand replies to everything you can. You’re very sure that everything that might lead to fair competition would lead to disaster even though you never mention any specific reasons why.

      Any industry in Canada that is run like our wireless industry deserves to have shocking waves of non-confidence sent through it. Then it would be GOOD BUSINESS not to be so obnoxiously terrible to consumers.

      The big 3 have the same right as every other business and those rights do not include monopoly. By the very nature of the cellular industry, you cannot have competition when someone else owns all the frequency bands used by modern cell phones.

      Wind may not be the most reliable network, but as a brand new network they offer low prices and no nonsense plans that don’t have hidden fees. I would have liked to have seen more of that.

      Why you aren’t for something that benefits Canadian consumers can only be explained by you having alternative allegiances. The only people that benefit from your plans are the big 3 and so you must be part of them, or you’re a complete fool.

    • gommer strike

      And if that’s true that he works for the Big 3, are we to condemn him for that? He’s just an everyday Joe like you and me, working an everyday job. He’s not gonna quit his job just to please Mobilesyrup users.

      Sure, when we glance at our $80+ cell phone bills and cry foul – let’s take a step back for a moment. How much of that, is due to the data plan – which isn’t exactly mandatory for our day-to-day(given that more and more WiFi services are springing up everywhere, eg. Shaw Go and others). For the voice plans – how often do any of us talk on the phone old-school anymore? More likely we’d be texting.

    • ScooterinAB

      Exactly. There are a great deal of appropriately priced plans and phones on the market. The only reason why anyone’s bill is as high as it is is because we demand more and more from providers. If customers would take advantage of those lower prices, this wouldn’t be an issue.

      And to Aro. Yes. I work in the wireless industry. But before you burn me at the stake, consider this. I’ve worked for 3 different carriers and sold for more. I’ve worked for the golden child Wind, and got the heck out because it was an unsustainable mess. I also got tired of actively lying to customers and being forced to trick them into using our services when they weren’t right for the customer. You talk about how bad the Big 3 are. I’m saying exactly the same thing about companies like Wind. Maybe, just maybe, because I’ve worked for them, I have an informed view on how things worked on the inside.

    • Victim

      Scooter, agin being naïve.
      I live in a rural area and therefore I don’t have cable or bell internet.
      I have access to satellite which is slow and expensive, so I am using Mobilicity internet stick, it works great its unlimited use and I pay 60.00, specially because I have kids that use a lot the internet.
      I tried Rogers and the price for 20gb is 100.00
      Get the facts right, look outside the GTA

    • ScooterinAB

      I don’t live in the GTA. Get your facts right.

    • accord1999

      “A monopolized cellular industry that compares poorly to the rest of the world.”

      How does it compare poorly to the rest of the world?

      -Cisco says Canada has the fastest cellular data networks in the world in terms of average download speed and are years ahead of LTE deployment compared to Europe

      -there is coverage over ~2 million square km, an area bigger than every country in Europe west of Russia
      -pricing compares well with countries similar in wealth and size like the USA and Australia

      And if you look at the list of networks operators around the world, most countries are dominated by a few companies just like Canada.

    • Who Needs Facts

      You might as well save it. The Geists and Andersons, “advocating for the consumer” which is another way of saying “getting paid to tell people what they want to hear” have convinced people that we are literally they worst served and highest priced country in the world.

      Unless the facts agree with what the naysayers want to hear, they presume they are lies.

  • Peter

    Hopefully people start to realize that operating and upgrading a national wireless network is expensive. At a starting price of almost $900 million dollars just for spectrum we should not expect $30 monthly bills for unlimited everything. It simply isn’t possible. You cant ask for the fastest and best network and then expect to pay so little for it. Ultimately I feel that consumers are demanding faster networks and the providers are more than happy to deliver. If consumers were happy with what they have there would be no need to continuously upgrade. In the end, we are partly to blame for being so demanding.

    • Kickside01

      I disagree. There is 30 million subs in Canada so that is $30 per person for the entire 900 million dollar auction. Its possible and reasonable that a large company can profit from a $50 unlimited plan. People hate being gouged $95 for 6 gigs of data. Also Who is demanding new networks???? The big 3 not the customer.

    • Canook

      All Big 3 financials are public online, so you can actually see how much they make and the business model behind the wireless bills. With that said, the average revenue per user is in the $60s. Unlimited data for $50, I would say is not realistic in the slightest. Wind can’t even make money on a much much smaller network for $30-$40/mo. Apply this to a national carrier, who not only builds out in urban areas such as TO, but in SK and MB, and you will see why we are paying more than $50 a month. Again, all the financials are online so feel free to take a look

    • KnowsBetter

      Rural Canada is demanding new networks, if you’re going to stay in your box in your apartment in the big city then that’s your own choice. But you as a Canadian, as will I, pay just as much as the truck driver on the highway in the mountains or the arctic who needs coverage in case of emergency. This is Canada and we are the 2nd largest area in the world to service. It doesn’t help that there are less subscribers paying $$ than in New York State alone.

    • Matthew Livingstone

      Canada has a population of 35+ million and not all are with one carrier, not even close, so this calculation fails. If you wanted to use a national number to calculate you should have put $60 as your per line cost. Plus if you don’t want to pay for 6GB get a lower plan, why do ppl always ref a 6 GB data plan anyway? Most that have it don’t use it so cut back and pay less. I know we all want to pay less for data but we also need to live in reality and atm it does cost

    • Paul Figueiredo

      I wish I could up-vote this 1000 times.

      Customers don’t want three year contracts, so the government mandates only two years, max. Subsidies go down, so customer complain that phone prices go up. Customers want unlimited data and don’t want to pay extra for it, but complain when their speed gets throttled after X number of gigs.

      There is NO winning with consumers.

      This is a business, not a charity. Consumers are NEVER satisfied no matter what. The biggest reason for that is because the average consumer is woefully illiterate and rather than taking the initiative to educate themselves, they allow biased marketing teams from both camps to “educate” them instead.

    • Aro

      And that’s the role of government. You can’t expect everyone’s grandmother to understand what 5 gigabytes means or how their phones are even using data. They want to phone their daughter in another city. Period. They shouldn’t have to consider where the long distance lines are drawn — especially when it no longer matters.

      The government is responsible for looking at what these companies are doing and how they are selling and servicing their products. It’s not difficult to SCAM uneducated people. Anyone who thinks that if you are uneducated about some product you deserve to be scammed is a fool. There is always something you don’t know.

      Therefore, it’s one thing to offer the consumer choices and let them make decisions on what services they want…but it’s another thing completely when you hide fees, create sneaky subscription plans, and advertise falsely.

      It’s not the government’s role to satisfy customers but to PROTECT them. And it’s not a businesses role to return their good fortune back to the citizens of whichever countries they are operating in. SO, any argument where the government is told to stop being a watchdog is WRONG. And any argument saying companies are going to ‘return the windfall to customers’ is also wrong.

      If Rogers has no competition and can sell subscriptions for $20 more next month than they did this month, and their market research determines that customers WILL pay it….why won’t they raise prices? Because of the good will for the Canadian people? Is that why they bought the skydome and renamed it the “Rogers Centre”?

      The sooner people realize the role government, corporations and people play in society the sooner things will work more smoothly. And as far as people who are trying to cheat and corrupt for their own profit…well they should be uprooted like weeds lest one day we all wake up in shackles.

    • J-Ro

      Good luck. No one wants to educate themselves anymore, they want someone to do it for them. Our government has less reason to care for us than these companies do. At least when the companies offend us, we can stop paying and leave with minimal expenses. The government only pretends to care around voting time and it is about that time.

      As soon as the conservative party has a locked in win for the good seats next election, fairness for the average citizen will go the way of our tax money. The toilet (all though fancy and high priced, still a toilet)

    • Plazmic Flame

      While I wholeheartedly agree with what you’re saying…… how the hell can anyone justify $100+/month for a cellphone? If these trends continue and THERE’S NO COMPETITIVE ALTERNATIVES, people will just straight up not own smartphones. People will revert, go back to true basic calling and that it. Kinda like how people in major cities (ex. Toronto) decide not to buy cars because the cost just doesn’t make sense. Instead people rent cars when needed. So…. maybe I need to start a cellphone renting service….?!?!

    • KnowsBetter

      And prepaid options would be… ???

    • Matthew Livingstone

      lol I pay $100 a month but I have a 12 GB data plan, no home phone and haven’t turned my pc on in 7 months now. It’s worth it to some ppl.

    • Plazmic Flame

      $100/month for 12GB?? How’d you get that?

    • Matthew Livingstone

      I learned the rules for upgrading with my carrier and selected a plan that was on promotion with high data but non contract pricing and cut my monthly fees by not changing before my upgrade. It took the right timing and 2 months to set up. I even got paid to upgrade. Not to mention my unlimited Canada wide calling txt, pic and video messaging plus CD/vm.
      Really I just knew what I wanted and learned how to get it. If you follow trends in carrier plan changes and learn your carrier rules you can play them and get what you want.
      Also I have to wait till my next bill to confirm this but I think I also got them to pay me for doing the upgrade 🙂 to a Sony Z1 at that.
      Consumer power 😀

    • thusguy

      you are 100% correct. People are oblivious to the cost of these networks which are actually amazing networks. Having used networks from the UK, I greatly appreciate the speed and reliability of Canadian networks.

    • KnowsBetter

      Oh 1st world problems…

  • BB BB

    If Rogers has over 9 million subs with an average bill of $60 more like $100 these days, that’s 540 million + revenue so this auction is chump change for the cellular octopus of bell rogers and Telus after years and years of price gouging.

    • KnowsBetter

      Your $540 Million is only 10% of the $4-$6 Billion the Gov expects the auction to actually bring in. And I think a company like Rogers might have some other overhead also. Just saying

  • Rob Long

    The big 3 can’t rip customers off for voice anymore so data is the new way they gouge us. Even if the new spectrum was super cheap they’d charge the same or more. We as customers should just get use to it.

    • WP74Life

      Ass pain ?

  • Who Needs Facts

    Next time you look at your bill, regardless of who sent it to you, remember these starting bid prices and that it is your “Save the consumer” government that set them.

    • ferrethouse

      At least this government is trying to increase competition!

    • Who Needs Facts

      I agree they are trying – but business is not listening. Regardless of the regulations, there just is not enough wirless money in Canada to support a fourth carrier. It really is as simple as that.

    • J-Ro

      They claim they are “trying|” but in the same breath, block out foreign investors (other than Americans of their choice). The government seems to be the ones blocking competition, not the big 3. The big 3 didn’t stop the funding that was coming to Wind and lord knows how many other potential investors.

      Believing the government has it in for our best interest is a joke.

      Vote Rob Ford for PM and maybe we might see a shake in the way things are run.

  • CluelessCompanion

    If anyone doesn’t know, I had to Google it as well, but unpaired blocks, means one-way communications, good for TV, FM radio broadcasts etc… Paired means just that, 2 blocks of bandwidth, bandwidth for phone – tower transmission and for tower – phone transmission, as well as other 2 way technologies.

  • Jerrik Nordlee

    I can’t wait until this technology launches. I’m excited to finally start using it. It’ll be a while before this happens, I know, but it’s still fun to think about.