Canada’s Spectrum Auction begins and falling data prices

Today is the beginning of the “Auction of Spectrum Licences for Advanced Wireless Services and Other Spectrum in the 2 GHz Range“.

Huh?

What this means is that Industry Canada is basically paving the way for some fresh blood to enter the Canadian Wireless (cellular) space. This should translate into some competition for the ‘big 3’ (Rogers, Bell & Telus) in this country as 40% of the available spectrum is earmarked for new players to start offering wireless services possibly as soon as early next year.

It’s unclear how long the auction will last and who all the bidders are but it seems to be a number of communications companies across the country, including Shaw Communications. Hopefully there are rules preventing someone from Shaw winning the auction only to be bought up by Rogers or Bell in a few years time, effectively killing off the competition. This has happened in the past when Rogers bought Fido, Telus bought Clearnet, etc.

Possibly not so coincidentially, today Bell began offering ‘unlimited data’ for $30/month on all of their smartphones – previously it was only available on specific models or non-smartphones (wap only).

Could this be the beginning of the decline of high data prices in Canada? My money is still on June 9th as the main turning point when Apple is expected to outline the iPhone rollout in Canada among many other countries.

UPDATE: Wirelessnorth.ca has a lot more details about the auction with daily play by plays of the bids.

3 Comments

  1. Duane Storey says:

    I’m glad you have that unlimited data plan in quotes. I’ve had something similar with Bell for a year and a bit where I can surf the web and check my email on my phone using their bastardized browser. It obviously really sucks, and I think it’s a pretty pitiful add on compared to full data availability and free tethering ability.

    I think I might terminate my contract with Bell before June 9th because I’m pretty sure everyone is going to bail on them after, in which case they’ll add some extra “200 termination fee” or some other nonsense.

  2. Marina says:

    I’ve been with Rogers for years but have started to look at different options for phone service mostly because my needs have changed so much over the last year or so – moving from voice to mostly txt communication. I’m not really happy with any of the phones currently on offer but I think I’ll hold off a little longer and see what comes down the pike. Maybe an iPhone IS in my future.

    Thanks for the regular updates John. Much appreciated.

  3. Raul says:

    You are most definitely Vancouver’s one and only iPhone guru, and you definitely have convinced me. Next laptop for me = Apple Mac.

    I know, totally unrelated comment – but, on the topic of your post – we really need good cellular phone plans for Canada. I mean, even having a cell in Mexico was better! :)

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