Wind Mobile pulls out of Canadian spectrum auction

Wind Mobile pulls out of Canadian spectrum auction

Wind Mobile has withdrawn from a major spectrum auction in Canada, dealing a further blow to competition in the country’s mobile market, Reuters reports.

Owned by Canadian firm Globalive, Wind Mobile has withdrawn from the 700MHz wireless spectrum auction after VimpelCom – Wind’s main backer – decided not to fund the company’s participation.

The auction is due to start today and Wind’s exit near confirms that the country’s three biggest telecoms providers – BCE Nexxia, Rogers Communications and TELUS – will receive the majority of the spectrum.

The Canadian government had hoped the auction would create a market of four strong mobile providers in each region of the country, in a bid to lower costs, and in June last year, Public Mobile said that the country needed to consolidate startups like Wind.

Ryan Bushell, a shareholder of the big three in Canada, said of the government: “I’m not quite sure what they will do. As an investor it makes me a bit nervous, because desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Jake Enright, press secretary for industry minister James Moore, said in a statement that the outcome of the auction would still be positive, as additional airwaves would help Canadians, regardless of who owned them.

Anthony Lacavera, CEO at Wind, said: “In order to continue offering real choice for Canadian consumers and businesses long term, Wind needs more wireless spectrum, which is the real estate of our business. So it is very unfortunate Wind is unable to participate.”

Wind serves 650,000 customers in Ontario, Alberta and British Colombia. The 700MHz spectrum was an important band which would have allowed the operator to carry signals over much longer distances, penetrate thick walls and meet the growing demand for mobile data and video streaming services.

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