SaskTel acquires 700 MHz spectrum

SaskTel is pleased to have been able to acquire one block of 700 MHz spectrum for $7,557,000 as confirmed by today’s Industry Canada announcement regarding the outcome of the spectrum auction.  SaskTel however, is concerned that the overall outcome of the auction will not result in the effective use of scarce spectrum necessary to support improved 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) coverage in rural areas in Saskatchewan. 

SaskTel was only able to license one block of spectrum in the C1 band and in the short term this will not allow SaskTel to build out its 4G LTE wireless network in rural areas until wireless devices are available in Canada for this band of spectrum.  Nor will one block provide the capacity to provide LTE speeds in rural areas.

“Our primary concern with the auction outcome is that other carriers who have so far chosen to invest very little in rural Saskatchewan have received more prime spectrum,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO.  “SaskTel has continually made significant investments to serve its rural customers and since device options are not available for the C1 band our rural customers will not see a benefit for some time unless the Federal Government continues to focus future efforts on ensuring no spectrum remains unused in rural Canada.”

 “This incredibly complex auction format is clearly biased against regional carriers, in addition to having a number of other systemic flaws.  Had there been a 4th national bidder in the auction, it is questionable when any of this valuable spectrum would be used to the benefit of our rural residents,” added Styles.