Canada raises C$5.27 billion in wireless auction; Quebecor goes national

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 19, 2014 5:37 PM

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian telecom companies have paid a combined C$5.27 billion ($4.78 billion), a record high amount, to secure licenses for prime airwaves on which they plan to build more powerful wireless networks, the federal government said on Wednesday, as a new national challenger looked set to emerge from Quebec.

The biggest national players - Rogers Communications, BCE Inc's Bell, and Telus Corp - grabbed the lion's share of the auction of 700 megahertz spectrum, which is valued for its ability to carry a signal over long distances and to penetrate buildings, making it useful for both urban and rural deployment.

But it was the wireless ambitions of Quebecor Inc's Videotron unit that created the biggest splash, as the regional cable and wireless company used the spectrum auction to expand its reach outside its mostly French-speaking home base in Quebec.

($1=$1.10 Canadian)

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Peter Galloway)