3500 MHz auction supports more competition, better coverage and faster deployment of 5G technologies for Canadians

News release

July 29, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Results of the 3500 MHz auction increased spectrum holdings of small and regional providers by over 50% across the country

Canadians rely on wireless services for work, school, finances and health care, making access to high‑quality and affordable services essential. That is why the Government of Canada is making spectrum available to encourage competition, improve rural connectivity and ensure the effective deployment of 5G technologies.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that Canadians will benefit from higher-quality telecom services at competitive prices as a result of the 3500 MHz spectrum auction that concluded on July 23, 2021.

In total, 1,495 out of 1,504 available licences were awarded to 15 Canadian companies, including 757 licences to small and regional providers across the country. In all 172 service areas, there is now at least one small or regional provider holding spectrum for the purpose of deploying new services to Canadians. Together, these small and regional providers have increased their total mobile spectrum holdings by over 50%, strengthening their ability to offer competitive services. In addition to encouraging competition, the results of this auction will improve Canada’s high-quality networks in every part of the country.


“The 3500 MHz auction is a key step in our government’s plan to promote competition in the telecom sector, improve rural connectivity, and ensure Canadians benefit from 5G technologies and services. As intended, small and regional providers have gained access to significantly more spectrum, meaning that Canadians can expect better wireless services at more competitive prices, which has never been more important for working, online learning and staying connected with loved ones.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • The auction started on June 15, 2021, with 23 Canadian companies participating and 15 companies winning spectrum, including national incumbents, regional providers, small local operators and other specialized telecommunications companies.

  • The rules for the auction, set out in the Policy and Licensing Framework for Spectrum in the 3500 MHz Band, included a set-aside of up to 50 MHz for small and regional providers to enhance competition in the Canadian wireless market—a method that has been proven to help lower prices.

  • Licences were made available based on 172 localized service areas covering the entire country, allowing bidders to target geographic markets, including rural areas.

  • The 3500 MHz spectrum band has been globally recognized as key for 5G networks as it provides both coverage and capacity for a wide array of new applications.

  • Winning bids totalled $8.91 billion, which will be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund administered by the Receiver General of Canada.

Associated links


Mohammad Hussain
Media Relations
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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