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Canada wireless auction is over; results expected in days -sources

Alastair Sharp and Euan Rocha
Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 2:26 PM ET

TORONTO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Canadian government has completed an auction of prized wireless spectrum and is poised to reveal the results within days, several sources with knowledge of the process said on Tuesday.

The 700 megahertz spectrum, which is valued for its ability to carry a signal over long distances and to penetrate buildings, will be used by Canada's big wireless companies and some smaller ones to build more powerful networks.

An announcement is expected as early as Wednesday afternoon and no later than Thursday, one of the sources said.

A second source familiar with the one-month auction said the process was very nearly complete at of the end of last week. A third source also said the main thrust of the auction had been finished at least a week ago.

The three sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the process. Government rules bar discussion of details of the auction by participants.

A spokesman for Canadian Industry Minister James Moore, whose department ran the auction, declined to comment on what he called speculation.

The airwaves auction could bring in between C$1.5 billion and C$1.8 billion ($1.4 billion to $1.6 billion) for the government, telecom analysts have estimated.

Industry Canada is conducting last-minute checks to verify that the results are legitimate, a necessary step since the auction used a complicated methodology to avoid collusion or unnatural bidding, two of the sources said.

The bidders included dominant national wireless providers Rogers Communications Inc, Telus Corp and BCE Inc's Bell as well as regional operators focused on the provinces of Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and elsewhere.