Nationwide market leader Rogers is in the lead with a C$997 million dollar bid for more wireless bandwidth. Telus (at C$879 million) and BCE (at C$738 million) are in second and third place respectively.
In order to encourage competition, the federal government also set aside some bandwidth exclusively for new players. Montreal-based Quebecor leads this auction with a C$555 million dollar bid, followed by Globalive Communications (of the Yak long distance fame) at C$444 million. Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises comes in third at C$243 million.
So far, the bidding is promising to provide the federal government with a C$4.25 billion dollar windfall which is about double what was expected in late May at the beginning of this auction.
Canadians pay among the highest prices in the developed world for wireless services particularly in the area of wireless data services. Rogers recently caved into public pressure and reduced their iPhone rate, available only for subscribers who activate their phones before Aug. 31. The new rate is C$30 a month for a 6GB data plan that can be added to new or existing voice plans with Rogers but only if they sign up for a three-year contract.