Rogers Moves to Protect Itself from Looming Spectrum Shortage

Earlier today Deloitte released their Canadian Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2013 report.

#10 on Deloitte’s list of 10 most significant predictions for 2013 was the looming spectrum shortage.

With data usage exploding additional wireless spectrum is needed to meet this growing demand by consumers and businesses for mobile Internet services.

And Deloitte’s Duncan Stewart feels it will get worse before it gets better: “The demand for wireless bandwidth continues to grow causing increased spectrum exhaustion, especially in Canada’s urban areas — leading mainly to slower speeds, but sometimes an inability to access networks or dropped calls or data sessions”.

Rogers Communications agrees.

Yesterday they announced that they have signed agreements with Shaw Communications to secure an option to purchase Shaw’s AWS spectrum holdings in 2014.

According to Rogers President and CEO, Nadir Mohamed: “We’re investing in spectrum to ensure our customers continue to enjoy the incredibly fast speeds and throughput they crave, while ensuring our continued network leadership.”

The acquisition of Shaw’s unused spectrum will ensure Rogers maintains a network leadership position, particularly in Western Canada where Rogers has a significant share of the wireless market.

Shaw’s AWS spectrum holdings cover 188 million MHz POPs including 20 MHz across B.C., Alberta and Manitoba and 10 MHz in select B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario markets.  Under this agreement Rogers has acquired an option to purchase this spectrum and the option may be exercised only following receipt of Industry Canada and Competition Bureau approval.  

If approved by Industry Canada and the Competition Bureau, the purchase of the spectrum following an exercise of the option would likely take place in late 2014.