Bidding for a coveted piece of Canada's wireless market starts today.
Experts say the 700 megahertz waves up for auction are highly prized, because they let cellphone signals travel longer distances and can penetrate buildings and tunnels where calls are often dropped.
Ten players are in the bidding, including the big three telecom companies -- Bell, Rogers and Telus.
The others include regional bidders such as Quebecor's Videotron, MTS in Manitoba, Saskatchewan Telecommunications and Bragg Communications, which operates EastLink in Atlantic Canada.
However, Wind Mobile's parent, Globalive Communications, has pulled out due to a lack of funds -- a decision Industry Minister James Moore has reportedly called a private business decision.
Once the bids are submitted, it is expected to be weeks before Industry Canada discloses who won licences and how much they paid for them.
The previous auction in 2008 for different spectrum raised 4.3-billion dollars, but experts say lack of new competition means this auction won't likely raise as much.
Hopes for foreign competitors to shake up the industry were dashed last September when U-S giant Verizon dropped the idea of expanding into Canada.