Which network is likely to pose the biggest threat to The Big Three in the 700MHz auction?

by Andrew Roach on September 25, 2013

After the list of participants for the 700MHz spectrum auction were revealed on Monday, there has already been much discussion about how the entries might shake up the state of the telecom market in the near future.

The main interest is to see whether any company will be able to compete against the might of any of The Big Three networks of Rogers, Bell and Telus and become the fourth national network that the government has been hoping for.

It will certainly be a tough task with the demise of independent carriers such as Mobilicity and Public Mobile over the past year while there has been a lack of interest from overseas carriers to enter into the Canadian market.

But with spectrum set aside especially for the top three networks, there couldn’t be a better time for networks to make their claim as the fourth national network. So who could step up to the plate?


WIND Mobile

WIND have certainly had their struggles since the last auction 5 years ago but the Toronto-based carrier has dug deep through its problems and has earned themselves a strong userbase of 650,000 subscribers nationwide.

The network has grown steadily and has become the 4th largest carrier in Alberta, Ontario and B.C. over the past three years. With the company rumoured to be taking over the fallout from Mobilicity’s impending shutdown and having ended any talks of a sale in the near future, WIND could very well use their new-found momentum to put added pressure on their larger rivals.


Regional Carriers

For some companies such as SaskTel, MTS and Videotron, business has been booming in their provincial markets as each of the network’s have enjoyed strong and regular business in their home markets. But having enjoyed much of this success on a smaller scale; now could be the time for one of the carriers to step up the big leagues.

With wireless technology being something that is almost a basic essential in modern society, it could mean that these local carriers may finally have a platform which they can use to launch themselves nationwide and become a major contender across all of Canada.


New carriers

As always, there will be much talk about whether any of the new networks in the auction will be able to put any pressure on the already established larger networks. A lot of fuss has emerged over the Feenix Wireless which is led by one of the board members from Mobilicity.

Having already had one taste of the telecom industry, they will certainly know what will be needed to get up and running although a rival entry from Mobilicity’s former creditors The Catalyst Capital Group may unsettle their chances.

Meanwhile, the BH Wave franchise could also stand a chance of making an impact especially since their parent company Birch Hill Equity was rumoured to be involved of a potential takeover of WIND Mobile just a few months ago.

But with the company having close links to Rogers, the country’s largest network provider may flex their muscles in order to keep their allies form getting too close to taking over.

With their still being just under 4 months to the auction, many of the participants will no doubt be getting as much funding as possible to acquire as much spectrum as possible and whoever emerges as the biggest winner of the day could find themselves getting the nod to becoming the 4th national Canadian mobile provider.

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