We have previously written on the details and timing of the
upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction in Canada (see our
telecommunications bulletin of March 2013). The auction had an
original application deadline of June 11, 2013 and was originally
scheduled to commence in November, 2013.
On June 4, 2013, the Canadian Minister of Industry announced a
revised timetable for the 700 MHz spectrum auction. The revised
application deadline has been moved to September 17, 2013, and the
auction is scheduled to commence on January 14, 2014. The new
timetable can be found here.
In the same announcement, the Minister also announced that
Industry Canada would not approve TELUS' application for the
transfer of Mobilicity's spectrum licenses. Mobilicity's
spectrum licenses were acquired in the 2008 Advanced Wireless
Services (AWS) auction. The spectrum licenses were part of those
set aside for new entrants in the auction and are subject to a five
year restriction on the transfer to Canadian incumbents, including
Industry Canada will also in the next few weeks release its
policy on spectrum licence transfers. The policy follows industry
consultations that commenced in March 2013, and is expected to
prohibit proposed spectrum transfers that are deemed to result in
undue spectrum concentration. The policy will apply to all
commercial mobile spectrum licences, including the 2008 AWS
licences. Industry Canada has indicated that it will review all
applications for licence transfers on a case-by-case basis and that
decisions will be issued publicly to increase transparency.
The dates for the 700 MHz spectrum auction were moved forward to
provide interested parties with additional time to consider the
decisions announced by the Minister and to determine their
approaches to the 700 MHz auction process.
These announcements were intended to confirm the
government's stated commitment to encourage competition in the
wireless market in Canada and to promote at least four wireless
providers in every region of the country.
The foregoing provides only an overview. Readers are
cautioned against making any decisions based on this material
alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
The Canadian Competition Bureau issued a template document for use as a form of Consent Agreement, to be filed with the Competition Tribunal to resolve concerns the Bureau may have with proposed mergers.
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