August 2, 2021 – Canada’s recently completed 5G auction of 3.5 GHz licenses – results announced July 29, 2021 – blasted through the previous high-water market for mid-band spectrum licenses.

The total of C$8.91 billion (US$7.13 billion) in revenues for an average of 125 MHz per market in the 3450-3650 MHz range represents a record C$2.26 per MHz-pop or US$1.81… essentially double the valuations seen on average in the US C Band auction held earlier in 2021, and close to 10x the averages seen in earlier auctions.

Canada is often viewed as a country with relatively high retail prices for mobile services.

High prices for spectrum paid in auctions may ultimately flow to consumers helping to keep prices high in the future.

In our Report, we note how the CRTC became a “player” in this auction via the awkward or inappropriate timing of the release of two major decisions impacting telecom carriers across the country. This should provide food for thought and cause a rethink of the two telecom regulators approach, as is currently the case in Canada.

Also, we review elements of the auction that caused prices to be high, among other things due to the framework for the auction and details of the format.

For analysis of results and commentary on the auction, please see our c-Ahead Report below.