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Harper Government Announces New Measures to Benefit Canadian Wireless Consumers

New auction of spectrum will support competition and provide Canadians with better service

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/10/14 -- Industry Canada

Canada's wireless consumers have been clear that they want their government to make decisions that will lead to more choice, lower prices and better wireless service.

Today, the Government of Canada took another step in delivering on this Speech from the Throne commitment by unveiling the details of its next spectrum auction. The 2500 MHz auction framework released today outlines the process for auctioning 2500 MHz spectrum licences as well as the conditions that licence holders must respect after the auction. The auction, which will take place in April 2015, has rules specifically designed to put Canadian consumers first. These rules include the following:

--  spectrum caps to ensure that four or more providers have the opportunity
    to access 2500 MHz spectrum, thus fostering competition;

--  smaller geographic licence areas, providing more opportunity for rural
    Internet service providers to participate in this auction; and

--  strict provisions on transfers of the 2500 MHz spectrum so that Canadian
    consumers continue to benefit from competitive market forces.


Spectrum in the 2500 MHz band is ideal for delivering fast, reliable service on the latest smart phones and tablets, and it can also be used to provide fixed broadband Internet services in rural areas.

Canadians experience some of the highest wireless rates in the developed world. The announcement of this auction builds on the Harper Government's commitment and action to encourage more choice and lower prices in Canada's wireless sector. Those actions include the following:

--  monetary penalties for companies that violate rules on tower sharing,
    deployment of spectrum and service to rural areas;

--  preventing undue concentration of wireless spectrum; and

--  clarifying the rules for transferring spectrum licences between
    companies, with decisions on proposed licence transfers to be announced
    by the government in a more transparent fashion.


For more information, see the attached backgrounder.

Quick facts

--  The 2500 MHz auction is scheduled to begin on April 14, 2015.

--  Applications are due on or before November 27, 2014.


Quotes

"Today's announcement means Canadian consumers in urban and rural areas will soon benefit from the deployment of advanced mobile and broadband services across the country, which will lead to better, faster Internet services on the latest technologies. The rules for this auction, like those for the upcoming 700 MHz auction, were designed to support more choice in our wireless market while putting the interests of consumers first."- Industry Minister James Moore

Related product

--  Backgrounder

Associated links

- Licensing Framework for Broadband Radio Service (BRS) - 2500 MHz Band

- 2500 MHz auction homepage

Follow us on Twitter: @IndustryCanada

Backgrounder

Licensing Framework for Broadband Radio Service (BRS) - 2500 MHz Band

The upcoming 2500 MHz auction will provide critical additional spectrum for wireless providers. As announced in 2012, the Government will apply caps that will allow for four or more providers in each region to access 2500 MHz spectrum, fostering competition among wireless providers.

The 2500 MHz spectrum band is ideal for deploying next-generation networks and services, such as the long-term evolution (LTE) network standard, which can deliver faster data rates compared to previous technologies.

The 2500 MHz spectrum auction will feature smaller licence areas, providing more opportunity for Internet service providers to participate in the auction. In turn, this may increase their ability to offer new or improved services, such as wireless broadband, to homes and businesses in rural areas.

The auction for this spectrum is scheduled to begin on April 14, 2015, and will use the combinatorial clock auction format. This format uses package bids, eliminating the risk that bidders win some but not all of the licences needed for their business case. Auction applications are due on November 27, 2014.

In support of the policy objectives for competition, investment and timely deployment, carriers intending to form associations to share 2500 MHz spectrum may be permitted to participate in the 2500 MHz auction separately if they disclose sufficient information regarding their association. These carriers may also request that the spectrum cap apply individually, but they will be required to demonstrate that they will separately and actively provide services in the region. They must also adhere to the Spectrum Licence Transfer Framework. In addition, all licences include conditions requiring licensees to put the spectrum to use.

There is a prohibition on communication between bidders in the 2500 MHz auction, which includes publicly announcing any information that would indicate bidding strategies.

Approximately six weeks prior to the auction, qualified bidders will be provided with access to the software that helps determine winners and final prices for the allocation stage, available on a website hosted by Industry Canada. One information session and up to three mock auctions will be conducted prior to the auction.

For more on the rules and format of the 2500 MHz spectrum auction, please read Licensing Framework for Broadband Radio Service (BRS) - 2500 MHz Band.

Contacts:
Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502
1-800-328-6189
[email protected]

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