Canadian cable operator Videotron's parent company, Quebecor Media Inc., announced that it was the successful bidder on 17 operating licenses for third-generation (3G) Advanced Wireless Services (AWS).
Quebecor ended up with the high bids on 40 MHz of spectrum across Québec, except the eastern Ontario and Outaouais regions, where it won 20 MHz. In some regions of the province of Québec, it picked up an additional 10 MHz, and in Toronto, 10 MHz.
"The outcome of the auction is good news for consumers," said Robert Dépatie, president and CEO of Videotron. "The prospect of increased competition in the near future will exert downward pressure on prices. We have much to do, particularly in terms of building out our advanced, state-of-the-art, third-generation network, but we already know that we will be able to raise the level of competition in Canada's wireless marketplace a notch, for the benefit of our businesses and consumers."
The spectrum will allow Videotron to offer, through its own network, wireless telephony service comparable to what is available in other countries, including high-speed Internet, mobile TV and several other advanced functions that can be accessed through smartphones.
"This is a key milestone in Quebecor Media's efforts to secure future growth opportunities in an industry that can be expected to experience exponential expansion in the years ahead," said Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor. "Following the introduction of our wireless telephone service two years ago and our subsequent efforts to convince regulatory authorities to set terms and conditions for the spectrum auction that would enable new players to enter the market, against strong resistance from the incumbents, we are now ready to implement our investment strategy, details of which will be announced as soon as Industry Canada has completed the licensing process."
At the close of the auction, Quebecor Media's standing high bids totaled $554.6 million. Since the Licensing Framework for the Auction for Spectrum Licenses for Advanced Wireless Services limits bidders' ability to freely discuss their intentions regarding the post-auction market structure during the 30 days following the end of the auction, Quebecor Media said it won't have any additional comments on its spectrum plans until the end of the summer.
The award of operating licenses is subject to certain formalities, including payment by the successful bidders and the filing of ownership and control documentation.
Videotron was the first large North American cable operator to deploy DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding earlier this year (story here).
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