Telus, Bell, Rogers 'Disingenuous' About Verizon's Potential Canada Expansion

By Craig Galbraith Comments
Posted in News, International, Verizon, M&A
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**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest mergers in Q2 2013.**

Talk of Verizon buying a wireless operator in Canada is really stirring the pot.

Responding to concerns from Rogers Communications' CEO this week, Wind Mobile boss Anthony Lacavera said the idea that the country's regulations favor foreign telecom investment have no merit. Calling the claim "disingenuous," Lacavera told The Globe and Mail that there's no disadvantage for Rogers, Telus or Bell if they want to pursue the purchase of a smaller operator. Wind Mobile is a rumored acquisition target of Verizon.

Wind Mobile is Canada's fifth-largest wireless provider, with approximately 600,000 subscribers. By comparison, Rogers has more than 9 million and both Telus and Bell are over 7 million.

Canada's government has acknowledged wanting conditions ripe for a fourth national carrier that will increase competition. It recently did away with restrictions that previously required foreign investors to pursue a wireless company with less than 10 percent market share. And it blocked Telus from buying Mobilicity in part because its spectrum license doesn't expire until next year.

But Lacavera says the big telcos got plenty of help from the government when they established their wireless businesses, noting the allotment of spectrum in the '80s and '90s that gave the Big Three a significant advantage in the first place.

Bell Canada came out late this week with a two-page newspaper ad complaining about a perceived favoritism toward Verizon, citing a series of regulatory loopholes that the U.S. communications can use to its advantage if it wants to become a player in Canada's mobile market, the CBC noted.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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