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Quebecor’s Videotron Ltd. subsidiary spent $830-million to acquire 294 blocks of spectrum – airwaves used to transmit wireless signals – in a federal auction that took place between June 15 and July 23.
The airwaves, which are in the 3,500-megahertz range, are considered beachfront property for 5G because they combine capacity – the ability to carry large amounts of data – with coverage, or the ability to travel long distances. The fifth generation of wireless services provides much faster speeds and less lag time than previous generations and promises to power emerging technologies such as smart cities and remote surgeries.
For the auction in June and July, in a bid to encourage greater competition in the wireless market, Ottawa set aside up to 50 megahertz of spectrum for smaller carriers in each of several areas where enough licenses were available. Videotron, which offers telecom services in Quebec and Ontario, was permitted to bid on the set-aside spectrum, allowing it to purchase the highly coveted airwaves at lower prices than what the three national carriers – BCE’s Bell Canada, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc. – paid for similar slices.
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