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Archived - Additional Wireless Spectrum Licences to be Made Available in August

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Latest auction will be Canada's third of 2015, supporting more choice for consumers

May 1, 2015 – Ottawa – Industry Canada

Today, Industry Minister James Moore announced that the Government of Canada plans to auction more valuable wireless spectrum this summer. The auction, featuring unallocated spectrum licences from the recent 700 MHz and AWS-3 auctions, will be held this August. This auction will be the third spectrum auction of 2015.

Spectrum is a vital public resource and the invisible infrastructure on which wireless information travels. For new wireless companies to be able to compete and provide choice to Canadians, spectrum is essential.

Less than one year ago, nearly 90 percent of spectrum was held by Canada's largest wireless companies. As a result of the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction and the ongoing 2500 MHz auction, by summer 2015 new wireless companies are expected to hold approximately 25 percent of the total wireless spectrum available. The consultation that was launched today, along with previous auctions, is leading to more choice, lower prices and better service for consumers.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada proposes using a sealed-bid format for this auction, which was the same format used for the AWS-3 auction.
  • The spectrum cap put in place for the original 700 MHz auction would remain for the unallocated licences in that band.
  • One licence, serving Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, was unallocated after the 700 MHz auction in January 2014, while three licences, serving the northern territories, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, were unallocated after the AWS-3 auction in March 2015.
  • To give more providers the opportunity to obtain this valuable spectrum, the government proposes to divide the northern licences into smaller areas. In addition, the unallocated AWS-3 licences would have the set-aside provisions removed, meaning the AWS-3 licences would be open to bidding by all interested companies. The available 30 MHz AWS-3 blocks in each region would also be split into three 10 MHz blocks.
  • Spectrum licences acquired through this auction would be subject to strict deployment requirements.
  • The amount of spectrum available to provide mobile services to consumers has grown by almost 60 percent since early 2014.


"Spectrum is an essential public resource, and it is our job as a government to ensure it is allocated in such a way that encourages robust competition and choice in our wireless market. This auction, like all of our previous auctions, is designed with the interests of Canadian consumers first. We look forward to seeing consumers benefit."

– James Moore, Minister of Industry

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Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry

Media Relations
Industry Canada

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