Rogers Communications Inc. certainly has its gambling mojo back. It has now made massive (and related) bets on content and capacity that just might someday pay off. But Rogers is paying an awful lot, maybe too much, to find out.
The Toronto-based broadcast, cable and wireless-communications company went huge in the federal government’s wireless spectrum auction, whose results were unveiled late Wednesday. Indeed, Rogers’ purchase is much bigger than those of its two large competitors, BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. The auction, in which Ottawa is selling 20-year rights to the radio waves on which wireless data are carried, raised $5.3-billion – more than double what many industry analysts had predicted – and Rogers accounted for most of that. Its massive $3.3-billion commitment was more than triple what Bay Street analysts had expected. It was also triple the total of the next-biggest bidder, Telus.