The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.  With Industry Canada’s auction of the unassigned 2300 MHz and 3500 MHz licences set to begin on Monday, January 10, one has to recall the first time the department licensed this bandwidth to get an understanding of what might take place this time around.  In 2004, nearly 850 spectrum licences were available and more than a dozen companies acquired significant bandwidth to be used to deliver everything from basic high-speed connectivity to Voice over IP over wireless. The auction certainly wasn’t memorable because of its $11-million haul, significantly lower than a sum Report on Wireless had predicted.  But it was significant for the several auction participants that secured themselves a healthy stable of spectrum holdings on which to build viable businesses for prices considered a steal. Pathcom Wireless, for example, acquired properties covering nearly the entire province of Alberta for less $100,000.  The auction will also be remembered for the vast number of licences unclaimed at the close of the bidding. About half of the 848 licences available at the outset of the auction in February 2004 didn’t receive a single bid from any of the participants.  The second time around for the department appears – at least at the outset – to be shaping up as an event that will be much more memorable. Some have said there will be intense bidding in a number of the most lucrative of the remaining properties.  Successful auction participants have already begun to emerge even before actual bidding begins. One such player is a 4253311 Canada Inc., a numbered company with ties to venture capital firm Columbia Capital. The firm placed a deposit covering 107 bids of which 61 were secured in first phase bidding – a stage in the auction that combined both the application process and the licences of interest.  While Report on Wireless doesn’t believe there will be a huge amount of money spent in this auction, bidding could turn out to be much more heated simply based on the number of participants. But then again, once the bidding begins, all hopefuls could realize that they really have no hope of winning licences against Bell, Rogers and Telus and pull out.