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Verizon Looks to Enter Canadian Wireless Arena; Scoop Up Wind and Mobilicity?

June 27, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

 

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of Verizon entering the Great White North and we’re pretty sure that it’s not the first time our Canadian readers have heard about it, either. Those up North seem to get a rough deal when it comes to Wireless, there are only really three big players there and it seems like a much worse market than the one we have in the States. The idea of the New York based company buying into Canada seems a little far-fetched but, there’s now more info on just how they might go about it – and that it could well happen sooner than we all think.

It’s no secret that Verizon have been in talks with Wind, with an initial buyout bid of $700 Million being put forward by Big Red after weeks of “advanced talks” and now the Financial Post is reporting that Verizon may well have their sights set on more than just Wind. According to sources “familiar” with the matter, Big Red are in talks with Mobilicity as well as Wind, but that these talks are in the “very early stages of expressions of interest.” It’s starting to look like Verizon’s plan to enter the Canadian market is to buy up two new-entrant carriers that have already set-up shop and to go from there.

It seems like a decent plan but, while Verizon is the second-largest carrier here in the States, with around 98 Million subscribers, they’d be treated as a newbie in Canada. While that would mean that their brand would be nowhere near as strong as it is here, it would give them a better chance at the upcoming spectrum auction next January. It would allow them to buy two out of four blocks of spectrum in each region, with Rogers, Bell and Telus limited to being able to buy just one.

The “big three” in Canada control around 90% of the market in Canada and it’s believed that if Verizon enter the wireless market in Canada, the big three could stand to lose millions of subscribers in the next few years. Alek Krstajic – CEO of Public Mobile, the third of Canada’s new-entrant carriers – said this of Verizon and the market in Canada:

“But the minute Verizon steps into the party, it’s over. No one can [compete with that]. The incumbents can’t compete with that.”

There’s nothing concrete to come of this right now, accept that Verizon have confirmed they are indeed exploring their options in Canada. That and the fact that Wind mobile and Big Red are in talks but, the idea of them buying Mobilicity is still very much in the air. It would make a lot of sense for Verizon to start small, by buying out the smaller carriers, and offering something that the bigger players cannot match. The question I have for our Canadian readers is, do you want Verizon to move in?