The government’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) department selling off 200 MHz of spectrum and 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas
The 3.5 GHz spectrum auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, began on June 15, 2021, and is expected to take several weeks with the government’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) department selling off 200 MHz of spectrum and 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.
ISED plans to set aside 50MHz for smaller and rural operators in markets where enough spectrum is available. 5G mobile broadband and fixed wireless access are expected to be the two primary use cases for the frequency band.
The process will be separated between an allocation phase covering bids for generic licences and specific frequencies covered in an assignment stage. In addition to Bell Canada, Telus, and Rogers Communications, a further 20 companies have qualified to participate in the auction.
The last Canadian spectrum auction took place in April 2019, with the government raising 3.4 billion CAD (2.3 billion EUR) in the sale of 104 licenses of 600 MHz spectrum. Rogers Communications dominated the bidding, paying 1.7 billion CAD (1.1 billion EUR) for 52 licences covering 35 million people. Telus offered 931 million CAD (607 million EUR) for 12 licences covering almost 20 million people. Bell Canada did not participate in the 600 MHz auction, explaining that it already possesses other low-band spectrum to deliver broadband 4G and 5G services.
The three main operators in Canada launched non-standalone 5G services in 2020 on their existing spectrum.