BCE asks feds to block Quebecor’s purchase of 5G airwaves in Western Canada

BCE Inc. is asking the federal government to block Quebecor Inc.’s purchase of 5G spectrum in Western Canada, stating the company didn’t meet the requirements to bid on airwaves there.

Bell’s court challenge comes after an auction of a key 5G spectrum by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada this summer.

The company said Videotron (a subsidiary of Quebecor), was able to purchase spectrum in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia that was set aside for smaller carriers, allowing it to access airwaves at a cheaper price than Canada’s largest carriers.

Read more: Feds say $8.9B raised from Canadian telecom auction for licenses in 5G wireless spectrum

Bell said the set-aside spectrum for smaller carriers was only eligible to companies that have pre-existing operations in the jurisdiction, and argued Quebecor doesn’t have a presence in those provinces.

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It’s asking the federal government to block Quebecor’s purchase and hold the auction again.

Quebecor and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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