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Rogers has Turned on Spectrum from Mobilicity/Shaw Deal

July 25, 2015 - Written By Cory McNutt

It was less than a month ago that the government and courts accepted Rogers bid to take over the fledgling Mobilicity and acquisition of Shaw’s AWS wireless spectrum…within that agreement Rogers must portion out some of the spectrum to WIND Mobile and make other spectrum available immediately.  Less than a month after the deal was finalized, Rogers has already has enabled faster mobile wireless speeds in parts of British Columbia and Alberta.

Specific areas in British Columbia that should see an upgrade in service are Burnaby, New Westminster, Kelowna and Richmond.  In Alberta area, Rogers and Fido customers in in Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Leduc, Nisku, Beaumont and Morinville, Calgary, Airdrie, Medicine Hat, Lloydminster, Wetaskiwin, Drayton Valley and Camrose will see AWS-1 activated.

A big part of why the Industry Minister gave its blessing to the deal, while definitely a benefit to Rogers, was that many Canadians would benefit from the deal by receiving better and faster wireless.  The Industry Minister is continually trying to push for more competition and better pricing, but also better coverage for the more rural areas.  Raj Doshi, executive vice president of Wireless at Rogers, said, “we’re opening more lanes on our wireless superhighway.  Those new lanes will mean faster speeds as we all stream more and more mobile video and connect with friends and family.  This spectrum is a valuable resource to Canadians and now it is being put to good use.”

Not everybody was in favor of this marriage – certainly not TELUS, who actually outbid Rogers on the deal, and the Canadian watchdog, OpenMedia, claimed that the Industry Minister “[Who] 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.”  There are still many other issues to resolve as the details get put into motion, for instance, the transitioning of Mobilicity’s 155,000 customers and their 150 stores and service centers.  Mobilicity’s majority shareholder, John Bitove, was hoping that Mobilicity would continued operations as a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), but Rogers is likely to offer them deals as Fido or Chatr customers.