Canada’s AWS-3 spectrum auction begins today, results coming Friday

The Canadian government officially began accepting bids for the AWS-3 spectrum auction today. While AWS’s second round (the first was in 2008) is not expected to bring the same amount of attention or dollars as the recent 700Mhz spectrum (it raised $5.27 billion for the government), it is set to provide additional spectrum to wireless providers across the country.

The AWS-3 auction aims to cement the notion of four national wireless carriers operating in each province, and has a set-aside of 30Mhz of the total 50Mhz for newer entrants — such as WIND Mobile, Mobilicty and Videotron — with below 10% national and 20% provincial market share. The new spectrum will allow carriers to deploy LTE, hopefully lowering the average cost of service in the process. Successful winners will hold onto the spectrum license for 20 years and will need to deploy between 40% and 60% within eight years, depending on the region.

Here are the qualified list of bidders for the AWS-3 spectrum auction:

  • Bell
  • Eastlink
  • Mobilicity
  • MTS
  • Rogers
  • SaskTel
  • TBayTel
  • Videotron
  • WIND Mobile

James Moore, Canada’s Minister of Industry, previously said he hopes this additional spectrum auction will “deliver more choice, lower prices and better service in Canada’s wireless industry.”

Update: Industry Minister James Moore released a statement that said the result of the AWS-3 spectrum auction will be made public on Friday, March 6th.

“Canadians have been clear: they want their government to make decisions that will lead to more choice, lower prices and better service in the wireless sector. Today, companies submitted their bids for AWS-3 wireless spectrum, a valuable public resource and the invisible infrastructure on which wireless information travels.”

Update #2: The Industry Minister will announce the results March 6th at 8:30 a.m.

[source] IC [/source]