Canadian mobile operator Public Mobile will shut down its CDMA network and move customers to services run by Telus, the ‘big three’ operator that agreed to acquire the company in October 2013.

Public Mobile said on its website that customers will need to buy a new handset from May and will be offered special pricing on three smartphones. It also tweeted that consumers will be given free services for a month.

The operator was set up following the issue of new spectrum licences in Canada in 2008. It operates in provinces of Ontario and Quebec and had around 250,000 connections when the Telus deal was announced, according to GSMA Intelligence figures.

The G block spectrum held by Public Mobile aligns with spectrum already held by Telus in western Canada. It is believed Telus will re-use the CDMA spectrum to bolster its LTE networks.

The Telus deal was promised to “ensure continuity of service and enhanced functionality” for Public Mobile’s customers.

Telus had 7.8 million connections at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013, roughly the same as fellow big three operator Bell Mobility, and behind market leader Rogers Wireless, which had more than 9.5 million connections.

The Canadian government’s attempts to attract a fourth major player to the Canadian market took a blow last month when an auction of spectrum suitable for 4G services failed to attract interest from any major foreign operators.

However, the auction raised close to $5 billion, higher than many expected, with Rogers accounting for more than 60 per cent of the value of the bids. Telus and Bell Mobility also flexed their financial muscle.

Despite the lack of foreign bidders the auction delivered the promise of greater competition as smaller player Videotron, which is based mostly in Quebec, acquired frequencies for other parts of the country, including the most populous areas.