Mobilicity absent as 14 firms are confirmed to participate in upcoming spectrum auction

by Andrew Roach on September 24, 2013

After months of speculation and guessing about which networks would participate in the 700MHz spectrum auction, Industry Canada has finally revealed the list of participants in line to make bids on January 14.

Out of the 14 participants listed, the two notable names missing from the list are struggling independents carriers Mobilicity and Public Mobile.

Instead, the attention turns to several new bidders such as Feenix Wireless and Calgary-based 1170129 who are launching a venture called CCS Wireless.

Several of the more established players such as Telus, Rogers, Bell and Wind Mobile had all revealed previously that they would be participating in the auction before the list was revealed.

As the list was revealed though, the absence of both Mobilicity and Public Mobile is something that could have potentially big ramifications for the fate of smaller independent carriers.

It seems that Public Mobile wasn’t quite in a position to make a bid after being taken over by Thomvest Capital back in June despite previous public statements to do just that.

But Mobilicity’s future is looking exceptionally bleak as two of the leading backers behind the company have been revealed as keen bidders in the upcoming auction.

The biggest shock came from the emergence of new set-up Feenix Wireless which is owned by current Mobilicity board member John Bitove meanwhile the struggling carrier’s main creditor – Catalyst Capital – has also been confirmed as a separate participant.

With both Public Mobile and Mobilicity out of the picture, it will give room for new networks to try and establish themselves such as BH Wave whose parent company Birch Hill Equity Partners were linked with Rogers in a joint bid to take over Wind Mobile a few months back.

Alongside them, some of the other bidders will include Vancouver based Novus Wireless who will be looking to bid extend their range of communication services and CCS Wireless which is a venture owned by Alberta based 1770129 Inc.

These smaller companies will also be joined by several regional telecom giants that are including the like of SaskTel, MTS and Videotron.

As the newer carriers will have spectrum set aside for them away from the Big Three, it will be interesting to see whether new names such as Feenix or BH Wave will be able to do what the likes of Mobilicity and Public Mobile failed to do and establish themselves as credible national network providers.

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