Our government has aggressively pursued policy decisions in the wireless sector with a very clear goal: more choice, lower prices and better service for Canadian consumers in every region of the country.
Recently, we made important decisions to put consumers first in Canada's wireless sector.
We liberalized foreign investment rules in our telecom sector.
We introduced new rules to require wireless companies to share cell towers, whenever they can, so that fewer towers are needed in our communities.
We believe communities need more say in how new cell tower locations are identified.
We are taking action on wholesale wireless roaming rates to promote greater competition.
We are empowering the CRTC and Industry Canada to impose financial penalties on wireless carriers that don't play by the rules.
In 2015, we will hold the 2500 MHz spectrum auction, with rules specifically designed to benefit consumers, especially those living in rural regions.
Today, I am pleased to announce the results of the 700 MHz spectrum auction.
On January 14, Canada's 700 MHz spectrum auction began.
The 700 MHz spectrum is the highest-quality wireless frequency ever auctioned in Canada.
This spectrum travels longer distances, requires fewer cell towers and penetrates through building walls, elevators, and even through to underground parking lots.
Ten Canadian companies competed over the last five weeks. The auction had 108 rounds. In total, 97 licences have been awarded to 8 companies.
This wireless spectrum auction is a clear win for Canadians.
First and foremost, at least four wireless players in every region of the country now hold high-quality spectrum.
Each of Canada's three largest national wireless companies were able to obtain a significant amount of 700 MHz spectrum to deploy the latest technologies to their customers across Canada.
Key regional carriers, such as SaskTel, MTS, Videotron, Eastlink, have secured spectrum to maintain and expand their regional footprints.
And this auction yielded a valuable return for Canadian taxpayers.
The total revenue generated from this auction is $5.27 billion, the highest return ever for a wireless auction in Canada.
By comparison, the AWS spectrum auction in 2008 raised $4.3 billion.
This revenue will go directly to the Consolidated Revenue Fund within the next 30 business days.
Here are the results by licence area.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, Bell, Bragg—which markets wireless services under the name Eastlink—Rogers and TELUS won licences.
In Nova Scotia, Bell, Eastlink, Rogers and TELUS won licences.
In Prince Edward Island, Bell, Eastlink, Rogers and TELUS won licences.
In New Brunswick, Bell, Eastlink, Rogers and TELUS won licences.
In Quebec, Bell, Rogers, TELUS and Videotron won licences.
In Ontario, you will note that in the south, Videotron won licences outside of its traditional market in Quebec. In addition, Bell, Rogers and TELUS won licences. Meanwhile, in northern Ontario, Bell, Eastlink, Rogers and TELUS won licences.
In the Yukon and Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Bell, Feenix and TELUS won licences.
In Manitoba, Bell, MTS, Rogers and TELUS won licences.
In Saskatchewan, Bell, Rogers, SaskTel and TELUS won licences.
In Alberta, Bell, Rogers, TELUS and Videotron won licences.
And in British Columbia, Bell, Rogers, TELUS and Videotron won licences.
The outcome of the auction supports more choice for Canadians by enabling a fourth wireless player in every region of the country.
Incumbent wireless companies have secured spectrum to deliver the next generation of wireless devices to their customers.
The auction revenue, $5.27 billion—the most ever for a wireless auction in Canada—will be reinvested in priorities that matter to Canadians.
Companies that obtained spectrum will be able to start using these high-quality airwaves to serve their customers by mid-April.
The success of this auction is not a coincidence.
The auction was a success because the rules were designed to put consumers front and centre.
The summer of 2013 ignited a great deal of debate regarding our government's wireless policy.
Much of this debate has been filled with assumptions, speculation and misinformation about the outcome of this auction and the intent of our wireless policy.
While this debate has played out among analysts and commentators, our government had one goal: to take deliberate, concrete steps to create more choice, lower prices, and better wireless service for Canadians and their families.
With today's results, it's clear we made the right decisions.