Shaw opts out of wireless spectrum auction amid Rogers deal

Shaw opts out of auction

Freedom Mobile and its parent Shaw Communications Inc. will not participate in a crucial upcoming wireless spectrum auction scheduled for later this year.

Shaw, which struck a deal in March to be acquired by Rogers Communications Inc. for $26 billion, is absent from an official list of applicants released by the federal department Tuesday that co-ordinates the auctions, which are vital to wireless communications.

A Shaw spokesman said the company has no comment on the auction.

The list of 24 applications includes the three biggest wireless providers — Rogers, Bell and Telus — as well as some smaller candidates.

Freedom has been Canada's fourth-largest wireless provider and an important competitor to the Big Three in terms of price.

The proposed Rogers takeover of Shaw, which will require regulatory approvals, has been in the spotlight at the Commons standing committee on industry, science and technology.

Most Liberal and opposition MPs on the committee have expressed concern over the impact on competition and some have questioned how the announcement would affect the auction.

Rogers chief executive Joe Natale, Shaw chief executive Brad Shaw and other officials from the wireless companies that appeared over the past two weeks said they couldn't discuss details of the auction.

However, critics of the Big Three's influence on the industry have said consumers and smaller telecom rivals would be the losers if Freedom is no longer a strong independent alternative to Rogers, Bell and Telus.

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