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Use it or lose it—Spectrum licences in the 3500 MHz band will not be renewed if service providers do not deploy this valuable resource to Canadians

August 19, 2014 – Ottawa – Industry Canada

Today Industry Minister James Moore announced that the Government is taking further action to support Canadian wireless consumers by introducing new rules for the 3500 MHz spectrum licences. As announced in November 2013 as part of the Government's "use-it-or-lose-it" policy, service providers that have not deployed this valuable resource to Canadians will not have their licences renewed.

The 3500 MHz spectrum band will balance the capacity for mobile services in urban areas and the need for fixed wireless broadband access in rural areas.

Today's announcement introduces a fast-track approach to issuing new licences for fixed wireless broadband in rural areas, which will meet the needs of rural broadband service providers and help them deliver timely, high-quality service to their customers. Rural Canadians will also be better served by a first-come, first-served licensing process that meets their immediate needs.

The Government will work with providers of mobile and fixed services in the weeks ahead to ensure that the interests of Canadian consumers are best represented as Industry Canada consults on the 3500 MHz licensing approach.

For more information, see the backgrounder.

Quick facts

  • In November 2013, Industry Minister James Moore announced that the renewal of 3500 MHz spectrum licences would be subject to the Government's "use-it-or-lose-it" policy.
  • The "use-it-or-lose-it" policy ensures that service providers that hold spectrum put it to use in a timely and sufficient fashion.
  • To meet the growing demand for mobile services, the Government is repurposing the 3500 MHz spectrum in urban areas to ensure Canadians have the capacity they need to stay connected. This represents 36 percent of the total spectrum licences available in the 3500 MHz band.
  • The 3500 MHz spectrum band represents the most affordable wireless high-speed Internet access for many rural Canadians.
  • Today the Government is also releasing the consultation paper on the 3500 MHz licensing approach. Industry Canada will accept comments on this approach until October 8.


"Our government committed to putting unused spectrum licences to use, and today we are following through on that pledge. Today's announcement also means that rural communities will benefit from enhanced access to high-speed Internet services. We will continue to put the interests of consumers first to ensure that Canadians have more choice and better services from their wireless service providers.

– Industry Minister James Moore

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Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry

Media Relations
Industry Canada

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