“Rogers Communications, a leading diversified Canadian telecommunications and media company, said that it received all requisite governmental, creditor and court approvals and has completed the acquisitions of both Mobilicity and Shaw’s AWS wireless spectrum as announced last Wednesday, June 24, 2015.” This was the word from Rogers and is a new era for Mobilicity customers and rather a surprise after the government was making it so difficult for one of the Big Three to purchase an entrant, even one in court protection from bankruptcy.
Rogers and TELUS both were after Mobilicity, in fact, TELUS had made an offer last year that was shot down by Industry Canada, and they were not even the higher of the bidders this time around. There was even talk that TELUS may take the deal to court in protest of Rogers getting the sale, but so far, they have not done so. Rogers paid $440 million for all of Mobilicity’s business, which includes its approximately 150,000 subscribers, 30 employees and its spectrum – although the deal set up by the government specified that a portion of that spectrum had to go to WIND Mobile.
The question remains what will happen to current Mobilicity’s customers – majority shareholder John Bitove, made some ‘suggestions’ of his own and said he would like to see Mobilicity continue its operations as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) once it is purchased. Working as a MVNO, Mobilicity would retain 155,000 customers, about 150 “points of distribution.” This is unlikely to happen now that the Rogers’ deal is finalized. A more likely scenario will be that Rogers will transition them to one of their low-cost monthly plans on Chatr or Fido, its two low-cost brands. Mobilicity currently operates in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. They will probably offer Mobilicity’s incoming customers some specials on devices or programs to ease in the switch over, but will eventually be absorbed into Chatr or Fido’s regular plans.
While Rogers and Industry Minister praised the deal as helping to insure that the deal will bring about a first class wireless network and more competition to Canada – probably on the hopes of WIND Mobile growing into a larger competitor. However, not all people were happy with the Minister’s decision, as OpenMedia – watchdog of the people – claims that “He promised he wouldn’t, but today he broke that promise. Instead, he chose to approve a deal that gives Rogers and the Big Three, who currently control over 90% of the market, even more control….The government owes Canadians an explanation for their broken promises.”