updated 03:40 pm EDT, Tue July 8, 2008
Canada Wireless Auction
A soon-to-be concluded Canadian wireless auction is now likely to offer a new wireless service provider in the country, according to observations. More than $4.2 billion in bids have been made and are currently led by relative newcomer Globalive, which currently operates small-scale provider Yak Mobile but is now set to obtain 31 out of 292 regional licenses that will let the company operate a countrywide network for phones or data services on a future portion of wireless spectrum.
Cable provider Eastlink's parent company, Bragg, has also secured 20 licenses of its own.
The likely victory is being made possible by regulations for the auction that forbid incumbent telecoms companies such as Bell, Rogers, and Telus from bidding on a large component of the available spectrum in the auction. Government officials have in the past described the move as necessary to encourage wireless competition in Canada, which is often accused of having an unfair competitive environment where only three firms have nearly exclusive control of cellphone service and are able to raise prices with little opposition.
Globalive's apparent win arrives just as Rogers and Fido customers are openly protesting what they see as unduly harsh limits on plans for the imminent iPhone 3G, which will sell for the same per-device price as in the US but gives customers fewer calling minutes and less data than Americans.