ISED approves AWS-3 spectrum sharing agreement between Bell, Telus

This agreement is the latest in a series of network sharing agreements between Bell and Telus

Bell and Telus header

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has approved an application from Bell and Telus to share Advanced Wireless Service-3 AWS-3 spectrum.

The AWS-3 block of spectrum was defined in 2013 and covers the following bands: 1695-1710MHz, 1755-1780MHz and 2155-2180MHz. Rogers, Bell, Telus, SaskTel and Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) all hold AWS spectrum licenses and use them in LTE networks.

According to details on the Government of Canada website, Bell and Telus submitted a joint application to share licenses in the AWS-3 band to ISED on December 20th, 2019. ISED says the two companies made the application to “further their network sharing agreement.”

Bell and Telus have had a network sharing agreement for some time and ISED notes that approving the license sharing application will have “no impact on either company’s overall spectrum holdings or distribution.”

Instead, the sharing agreement will “enable Bell and Telus to enhance spectrum efficiency of the joint network and maximizes the benefits that Canadians derive from the use of this spectrum.”

ISED approved the application after assessing it against the policy objectives and criteria set out in section 5.6 of the Licensing Procedure for Spectrum Licenses for Terrestrial Services. Further, ISED says the agreement would allow the licensees to retain control of their respective spectrum licences.

Finally, ISED determined that the sharing agreement wouldn’t impact “the ability of existing or future competitors to provide services in the relevant areas.”

However, not everyone agrees about how the sharing agreement will impact competitors.

Those curious about the ISED approval can dig into the specifics here.