Thunder Bay

Tbaytel misses out on wireless spectrum opportunity

TBaytel failed to win any space in the wireless spectrum recently auctioned by the federal government.

Company official says owning part of the 700 megahertz spectrum not pivotal to Tbaytel's plans

Tbaytel spokesperson Katie Crowe says the company isn't disappointed it came away empty-handed from the federal government auction of space in the 700 megahertz spectrum.

TBaytel failed to win any space in the wireless spectrum recently auctioned by the federal government.

Ottawa was selling space in the 700 megahertz spectrum, where signals are stronger, and can more easily penetrate buildings and carry data over long distances.

Bidding ended earlier this month.

Katie Crowe, the manager of corporate brand communications for Tbaytel said the company isn't disappointed it came away empty-handed.

"It was something that would be a nice-to-have, but not necessarily a need-to-have," Crowe said.

"The spectrum itself is a good piece of spectrum to own, but it certainly wasn`t something that was felt was pivotal to our future plans."

TBaytel competed against nine other companies, including Bell, Rogers and Telus.

"Currently, we possess significant spectrum,” Crowe continued.

Tbaytel knew its 'tipping point'

She noted the company went into the auction with a carefully planned strategy on how it would bid.

"We knew that, if it did come to a certain point where the value was there for us — where we felt that we could acquire it at a level that was conducive to, not only our needs, but future plans and the cost — then we would continue to bid,” Crowe said.

“But at a certain point, we also knew that we needed an exit strategy, and knew where that tipping point was."

Crowe wouldn't divulge what the dollar amount was that the company refused to go over.

She added TBaytel has an in-building strategy, and took steps last year to improve signal strength in certain buildings around Thunder Bay, such as the Intercity Shopping Centre and Lakehead University.

Space on the 700 megahertz spectrum opened up when television signals moved from analogue to digital. The former "rabbit ears," or over-the-air signal, used the 700 megahertz band.

In total, the federal government raised $5.3 billion from the auction.

Novus and TBaytel were the two companies shut out, while four carriers won licenses to operate in northern Ontario — EastLink, Rogers, Telus, Bell — on the 700 megahertz spectrum.


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