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CNM Short Takes

News | 02/07/2001 5:00 am EST

Itemus fails to win Toronto PCS licence
W2N Inc, 20 per cent owned by new media incubator itemus inc, was an aggressive bidder in Canada’s first auction for PCS spectrum blocks, but failed in its bid to win a single licence in southern Ontario. W2N was one of seven original bidders vying for the coveted licences, but lost the GTA properties to Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, and Telus.
The company was successful in winning three licences: in eastern Quebec, Alberta and the former Telus licences in British Columbia. In total, the company is on the hook for $11.39 million for those bands.
Itemus president Jim Tobin scoffed late last year at analyst estimates that the auction could ultimately reach $1.5 billion in total bids. At the end of the auction last Thursday, the government netted $1.48 billion after 50 rounds of bidding in 14 days.
While sketchy with details, Tobin indicated that it was the company’s intent to win spectrum to guarantee a platform for a range of new wireless applications being developed by itemus member companies. It’s uncertain that, without a licence in the heavily populated southern Ontario region, those plans can proceed.
The other winners included Bell Mobility, which spent $720.5 million for 20 licences across the country, Rogers Wireless, which spent $393.5 million for 23 licences, and Telus which spent $355.9 million to buy five licences.
Microcell Telecommunications left the bidding mid-way through the auction when prices rose too high, as did a Sprint Corp-backed company when bidding in Toronto reached $100 million per licence.

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