The Canadian wireless market is a strange beast, with a whole bunch of upstarts creating the illusion of competition when in reality, the big boys still rule the roost. It'c a crowded market for sure but, it looks like it's about to get a lot more crowded as French giant Orange SA is said to be looking to enter Canada as an MVNO. According to the Globe and Mail Orange SA has met with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Industry Canada and Canada's Trade Commissioner Service for "exploratory talks".
Many of you might remember that Verizon was looking to head North earlier this year, with ambitious plans to purchase spectrum and even carriers outright. While those plans didn't pan out, Orange SA is looking to take a different route. Instead of setting up camp as a permanent resident with their spectrum and network, they're looking towards going the MVNO route. Leasing another company's existing network and offering their own plans. It's certainly not a bad idea and operating as an MVNO would look much better to the Canadian government than an outsider from Europe looking to muscle in on the homegrown competition. MVNOs typically operate with lower costs and appeal to those with their own devices or those that aren't after the latest and greatest smartphones.
While it's clear that Orange SA is seeking extra revenue streams internationally, Canada might not be in its sights just yet. A spokesperson for Orange had this to say: "Orange's overall M&A strategy is focused on consolidation and the development of areas of strategic interest, particularly in Africa. This prudent and selective strategy precludes any major investments."
Orange Horizons, a company set-up to seek out new sources of revenue, is apparently closely monitoring situations in numerous markets around the globe. As such, there's a chance that Canada, the US, parts of Latin America and the aforementioned Africa are all regions Orange SA is interested in. With the loss of mobilicity, the Canadian wireless market could do with some more competition but, only time will tell if Orange is about to set up shop in Canada, and whether or not they'll be even able to make a difference.