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Airwaves auction on

Ottawa has rung the opening bell on an auction of wireless airwavesdesigned to lower cellphone bills for Canadians, but observers aresplit on whether the effort will significantly alter the competitivelandscape of the industry over the long term.

Ottawa has rung the opening bell on an auction of wireless airwaves designed to lower cellphone bills for Canadians, but observers are split on whether the effort will significantly alter the competitive landscape of the industry over the long term.


The federal government’s spectrum auction began yesterday and is expected to last several weeks, with more than 20 participants bidding on the available airwaves over several rounds.


Of the 105 megahertz up for grabs, 40 has been set aside for new entrants in a bid to encourage more competition in a wireless sector that is dominated by Rogers Communications, Bell Can­ada and Telus Corp.


Industry Minister Jim Prentice reaffirmed in a statement yesterday that the government’s intention was to “achieve lower prices, better service and more choice for consumers and business,” but some observers said the biggest changes now seem likely to occur on a regional scale.

 
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