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