Quebecor has announced today that it sold its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-1) spectrum license in the Greater Toronto Area to Rogers for $184 million CAD. Quebecor has held a transfer option for its AWS-1 spectrum since 2013.
In a press statement, Quebecor says the transaction helps its Quebec-based regional carrier Videotron to fund ongoing network investment plans in Quebec and Eastern Ontario.
“These plans include an aggressive 4G network expansion and densification, anticipated 5G network deployment and upgrades to the company’s Internet Protocol (IP) wireline network,” says Quebecor in a press statement. “These investments will contribute to further enhance competition in wireless and wireline services in Quebec and Eastern Ontario.”
Carriers in Canada that use advanced wireless services for their LTE networks comprise Bell, Telus, MTS, SaskTel and, naturally, Rogers.
Videotron and Rogers first came to an agreement concerning the former’s unused Toronto spectrum in 2013, giving the incumbent the option — subject to regulatory approvals — to purchase the spectrum beginning January 1, 2014 for the price of $180 million.
Ted Woodhead, senior vice-president of federal government and regulatory affairs at Telus, called the transaction “spectrum trafficking” in a tweet following the news, asserting that Quebecor profited $88 million from the deal.
Spectrum trafficking is a profitable business! $88M windfall and round it up to $100M to cover the value of the option. #badpublicpolicy https://t.co/WA6Gbmn0w7
— Ted Woodhead (he/him) (@tedwoodhead) June 9, 2017
David Watt, senior vice-president of regulatory at Rogers, tells MobileSyrup in a statement: “This is great news for consumers. We’ll be putting this spectrum to good use. This means more wireless capacity so our customers can stream more and more mobile video and connect with friends and family.”
Quebecor notes it has regulatory approval for the transaction and expects it to close within days.