Bidding strategies and usage plans for the spectrum up for grabs in Industry Canada’s 2300/3500 MHz spectrum auction are beginning to surface. While certain small players wouldn’t reveal plans when contacted by Report on Wireless prior to the start of the auction on February 9, others were willing to openly discuss their strategies for the auction and plans for the spectrum if they are able to secure licences. One bidder, which wanted to remain anonymous, says its reason for not talking about its strategy is that it "wants to fly under the radar" and hopefully not catch the attention of other rivals, both large and small. The company already holds licences in the 3500 MHz band it gained on a first-come, first-serve basis and will try to secure licences covering the same regions its existing licences cover. Several of the auction participants, including large national players and other smaller bidders, already have the rights to slices of the 3500 MHz band in rural areas (see box below). The bidder tells Report on Wireless that it is pretty easy to discern which licences are of interest, especially with respect to the other incumbent 3500 MHz spectrum licence holders. Another smaller existing Internet service provider (ISP) in western Canada, which also wanted to remain anonymous, was unwilling to go into details about the company’s plans or bidding strategy. A representative for the firm, which already holds 3500 MHz spectrum licences, says the company has a "grand plan" but declined to elaborate. Meanwhile, Wally Romansky, manager of small ISP Chatham Internet Access, says the company will focus on securing licences in the Chatham-Kent region, including the Wallaceburg licence. He tells RoW that the company doesn’t have a particular interest in a specific band and would be willing to settle for licences in either the 2300 MHz or 3500 MHz band. Chatham Internet Access currently offers wireless Internet access service for business customers, says Romansky, and the company is looking to expand into the consumer space. There are a substantial number of residential customers on dial-up packages and the ISP plans to use the spectrum, if it wins licences in the auction, to migrate them to a broadband wireless service. Telecom Ottawa COO Dave Dobbin was more forthcoming with his company’s bidding strategy and plans for using the spectrum, which plays into an agreement the company inked with BelAir Networks last week (see article here). The utility telco (utel) envisions using licences it wins in the auction to expand the reach of its fibre network to other communities in the National Capital Region. "With the acquisitions we’ve made, we’ve got fibre routes that go Ottawa to Kingston, Ottawa down through Winchester, through Morrisburg to Cornwall, Ottawa out to Alexandria, Smith Falls and all those areas. If you take all that, you layer that fibre network onto a 3.5 GHz radio licence, now you can do point-to-multipoint distribution into BellAir units where you can do the last mile," he tells RoW. Dobbin admits that the company likely has little chance of winning an Ottawa licence. "I think we’ll get bid out of Ottawa, but I think we’ve got a good chance (in places) like Hawkesbury, Cornwall, that kind of thing."