The wireless landscape in Canada is in constant flux – the Big Three pretty much rule the Canada’s wireless networks from border to border. The Federal Government desperately would like another fourth major network to level the playing field and to create some much-needed competition to help keep services and options up and prices down for the subscribers. The Government has tried to encourage this by way of policies designed to favor investments in startup wireless carriers, such as blockings sales to incumbents – which happened when TELUS tried to buy Mobilicity a couple of times. They even positioned new spectrum auctions to favor startups and most recently passing laws to lower the amount of roaming fees that could be charged by the Big Three.
Tuesday morning, WIND Mobile is poised to announce a deal that they believe will give them the financial backing they need to become that viable fourth player. The company’s Canadian founder, Anthony Lacavera, is positioning a deal to buyout foreign backer, VimpelCom Ltd to get them out of Canada. His group of investors consists of Canadian hedge fund West Face Capital and California based private equity firm Tennenbaum Capital Partners and LG Capital Investors. Rounding out the investor’s list is Serruya Private Equity and Novus Wireless Communications, making most of the investors Canadian. The transaction is said to be close to $300 million CAD and would see Globalive retake control of the company, with Lacavera taking control of the new operation.
When the ownership deal is firmly in place, WIND will now be able to raise the necessary capital to bid in the upcoming AWS-3 auction early in 2015. It needs this spectrum to help them expand from their current 3G offerings to a nationwide LTE network. Analysts might point out that this supports the Government’s efforts to create that fourth wireless carrier, however, the ‘new’ WIND, with its 750,000 subscribers would be of little threat to Rogers, TELUS or Bell, who has a combined subscriber base of about 25 million. Jake Enwright, Press Secretary for Industry Minister James Moore, said they do not comment on the business transactions of companies, but was still preaching that this will increase competition and lower prices.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think of the state of Canada’s wireless business – do you think that a fourth carrier will really make a difference in pricing – is the new WIND Mobil large enough to make a difference…as always, we would love to hear from you.