Canada's wireless spectrum auction is coming to a close

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.

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I cant complain. I got a free phone, free voice mail, free caller ID, free call waiting, free activation, free after 7pm, free weekends, and 180 minutes free prime time, for $20 a month with Telus.

I live near the NY border in Canada and I signed up for the Sprint PCS "Simply Everything" plan. For $70 a month I get:

Unlimited mobile internet and messaging: Web surfing, email, GPS Navigation, Sprint Music, Sprint TV�, BlackBerry� Internet Services (BIS), text, pictures & video

Unlimited mobile to mobile, night calling starting at 7 p.m. and weekends

450 anytime minutes.

Now, thankfully I'm so close to the border I don't get dinged roaming fees (sometimes I do, but whatever) and its cheaper for me than Rogers or some stupidity where I would normally pay $115 a month + the system access fee and not even get the unlimited web surf/email/gps - don't even think about TV, Music, and MMS SMS!!.. (yes, I know the $30 deal before Aug. 31st but you still need voice which will still at the cheapest bring your total to $60 + sys fee)

I live in Nova Scotia and my carrier is Rogers Wireless, I currently have an iPhone 3G which is $80.00 a month with system access fees and taxes, and my plan includes:

- 450 daytime minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends, unlimited local calls, and unlimited incoming calls,
- 6 GB of cellular data access (which I can use for anything - e-mail, web browsing, streaming over Last.fm),
- 2,500 sent text messages and unlimited incoming text messages

With that sort of access I can use my iPhone as my main phone instead of bothering with a landline, plus I can keep up with everything else when I am away from my computer with ease. Rogers' pricing really isn't all that bad, considering they have the GSM network with 3G being deployed all over the country, while Bell and Telus are still using CDMA. I honestly hope Rogers wins this auction, I can't stand how Bell or Telus conduct their business.

(Cadium said @ #7.1)
Rogers' pricing really isn't all that bad, considering they have the GSM network with 3G being deployed all over the country, while Bell and Telus are still using CDMA. I honestly hope Rogers wins this auction, I can't stand how Bell or Telus conduct their business.

1. That's true that Rogers' pricing is not bad because they are the only ONE to pay for the GSM/GPRS/EDGE/3G network across Canada. You could say that there is Fido too but this company is owned by Rogers.

In Quebec, if Videotron get some spectrum, the price could go down a little for that network.

And not to say that the price of Telus/Bell/Virgin is horribly high if you consider that they pay to build one network the CDMA2000/EVDO1x ( note that this technology is from the 3GPP2 compared to 3GPP for Rogers. This technology has almost the same capacity and performance compared to Rogers network )

Damn it! I was hoping some of the European companies (Vodafone, T-Mobile, etc) would get involved in our auction. Then maybe we'll have some real, nationwide competition. I guess the stupid CRTC rules prevent them from doing so.

I agree. The CRTC needs to clean up their act. In fact, they don't even allow Canadians to get HBO or some of the other American stations because they do not meet the Canadian content requirements!

But anyway, I ordered my iPhone last week (should come within the next few days) and I was able to get a pretty good deal with Rogers vs what they charge for new customers. For $65 per month, before access fees and taxes ($81.87 including), I was able to keep my existing voice plan (200 weekday minutes, unlimited evening/weekend), plus get Visual Voicemail, Caller ID, Number Identification, 2500 Sent Texts (Unlimited Incoming), and 6 GB of data. And by the way, the 6 GB of data exceeds AT&T's cap for their so-called unlimited data, which is currently at 5 GB. And for those Canadians who are complaining about Canada's high wireless rates, join this Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=56964965371

Hmmm...

Canadians pay among the highest prices in the developed world for wireless services

Are they trying to say we're developped... wirelessly talking? Maybe a little more than USA, but I'd say we're rather UNDERdevelopped.

Rogers the worst? They are all as bad as each other IMO. Look, now Bell and/or Telus I think wants to charge 15 cents to receive an incoming SMS. So let's say I'm at university, having a small discussion on my cellphone, it could cost me like 1 or 2 dollars? It would be a nightmare for my wallet... so I just can't afford a cellphone (iPhone 3G is what I wanted).

(PsykX said @ #4)

Are they trying to say we're developped... wirelessly talking? Maybe a little more than USA, but I'd say we're rather UNDERdevelopped.

In common practice, Canada and the United States in North America, Japan in Asia, Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, and most countries in Northern Europe and Western Europe are considered "developed countries". - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developed_country

I was referring to economically developed countries although our wireless market would be also considered "developed" compared to most nations outside of that above list. It is true, however, that there is insufficient competition which is why some portion of the wireless spectrum was set aside for new players. Will it be enough to bring us truly competitive rates? Probably not but we'll see.

I agree. It's because there's no competition in Canada. The major wireless service providers aren't pressured to lower their prices. I guess that's the price we pay to prevent American telecommunications companies from swallowing up companies like Rogers and Bell Canada.

And why should we prevent them? Canadian telecoms have proven they have no respect at all for the customer. I say let them in. Then maybe we'll finally get some decent pricing up here.