Feature Article

August 16, 2013

Verizon No Longer Interested in Wind or Mobilicity, May Participate in Canadian Spectrum Auction

The Canadian wireless space shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to Americans. After all, while the U.S. wireless space is largely dominated by four providers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile USA — Canada’s is made up of three — Rogers, Bell and Telus. In both countries, there are a handful of smaller companies vying for attention, trying desperately to provide greater competition.

However, while many U.S. regional carriers are being scooped up by the bigger operators, this isn’t the case in Canada, due to a federal government ruling that certain spectrum gets held aside for new entrants. This is the reason why Telus’ attempted acquisition of Mobilicity was denied recently.

Mobilicity, along with Wind Mobile and Videotron, has attempted to drive down wireless pricing in Canada with little success. The fact is that none of these smaller carriers have the power or money to compete with Rogers, Bell and Telus on their level — which is why rumors that Verizon was interested in acquiring Wind and Mobilicity caused such a stir north of the border.

Unfortunately, hopes of a proper fourth provider in Canada were dashed against the rocks recently when Verizon tabled a preliminary offer to buy Wind. However, it doesn’t seem that the U.S. provider has given up on Canada just yet; after all, the country has much to offer.

According to Reuters, Verizon may instead be looking to take part in an upcoming Canadian spectrum auction, for which applications deadlines are September 17. The Super Wi-Fi and Shared Spectrum Summit, being held in Las Vegas August 27-29, will cover issues of spectrum licensing and related topics in depth.

Meanwhile, Canada’s “Big Three” are doing their best to prevent the possibility of Verizon to the market as the company threatens their dominance. Indeed, Rogers attempted to impede Verizon’s possible Canadian entry by backing a private equity bid for Wind and Mobilicity when Verizon was still showing interest in the two smaller players.

For now, at least, Rogers and the others can relax, but for many Canadian consumers, there’s still hope that Verizon hasn’t given up on a country that desperately needs the competition.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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