Canada’s Moore Won’t Change Auction Rules on Verizon No Show

Canadian Industry Minister James Moore said the federal government doesn’t plan to change the rules of an auction of wireless airwaves set for January after Verizon Communications Inc. said it won’t expand into Canada.

“To those who are looking at our policies, we are not changing dates, we are not changing our policies, we’re moving forward,” Moore told reporters today in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

Verizon Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said Sept. 2 his company wasn’t coming to Canada after it agreed to buy Vodafone Group Plc’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, giving it full control of the most profitable U.S. mobile-phone operator for $130 billion in the biggest acquisition in more than a decade.

Verizon’s decision not to invest in Canada may encourage other carriers, possibly from abroad, to take a look at the market, Moore said.

“We’ll see what materializes,” Moore said, adding he won’t speculate about who may be interested.

The deadline for participants to register and submit a deposit is Sept. 17 for the January auction. The list of registrants will be published Sept. 23.

The three large incumbents -- BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp. -- waged a public relations battle with the government over the auction rules that they say favor foreign players such as Verizon. All three vowed Sept. 2 to continue lobbying the government to change the rules.

(Updates with Moore comments in second and fifth paragraphs.)
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