UPDATE 2-Globalive's Wind Mobile withdraws from Canada wireless auction

Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:29pm EST
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* Wind's main backer opts not to fund its participation in auction

* Canada's biggest 3 telecom firms set to benefit

* Move will hurt govt efforts to boost competition

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Globalive's Wind Mobile has withdrawn from a major Canadian auction of wireless spectrum, dealing a blow to government efforts to spur competition and boosting the prospects of the three big players that dominate the country's telecom sector.

Wind, a recent entrant to the Canadian market, on Monday said it quit the auction due to start the next day after its main backer, Europe' Vimpelcom Ltd, decided not to fund its participation.

The move all but assures that the country's biggest telecommunications providers, BCE Inc's Bell, Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp - will take the lion's share of the prized spectrum at a lower price than they might have otherwise expected to pay.

The 700 MHz spectrum is particularly prized for its ability to carry a signal over long distances and to penetrate thick walls, making it useful for both urban and rural deployment.

Canada's Conservative government had hoped the auction would support its broader strategy of having four strong mobile phone service providers in every region of the country, fighting for consumers and lowering prices in the process.   Continued...