Quebecor Won’t Go to War with Bell

by Jordan Richardson on August 12, 2010

Quebecor is getting set to roll out its wireless network in the near future and it’s poised to go up against Bell Canada for critical market share in the province of Quebec, but the Montreal-based telecom and media company says it has no plans of engaging in a pricing war with their rival carrier.

“Bell is extremely aggressive, to a point that I don’t understand why they’re attacking on pricing so much,” Robert Dépatie, president and CEO of Vidéotron Ltée, said. “We have built our brand on customer service, values and product. We have no intention to match their pricing. If they want to do that war, they’re going to do it alone.”

Quebecor vastly needs to venture into the wireless sector to boost the company’s profile. It has been struggling as of late with cable and internet subscriber numbers, so it can use all the help it can get in terms of revenue.

By expanding into the wireless sector, Quebecor can give the company’s name some jump thanks to the instantaneous publicity to sell the company’s media assets to the general public. As a company, they’ve nearly always struggled with advertising and this venture could give them another shot at reaching a far-flung crowd of possibilities.

Analysts are predicting that Quebecor will mirror their own home phone launch from a few years ago. That launch, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau, was a tough pill for Bell to swallow. “We all know the incumbents, especially our friends Bell, were hit hard on the wireline business in Quebec when we launched,” he said.

The home phone launch saw the company offer services at significant discounts by bundling them with existing services, so it’s possible that Quebecor could go in the same direction with the wireless launch.

Bell, meanwhile, has been aggressively cutting prices in an attempt to strike while the iron is hot. It does look like they’re trying to lure their competition into a pricing war, as their tactics resemble those they’re employing in Toronto with Rogers and the TV markets.

Quebecor’s public refusal to play ball doesn’t have to mean much, though. The company will probably still move towards lower prices and will still attack Bell in some fashion. Even if it doesn’t result in all-out war, it’ll still offer residents more wireless choices in a market starving for them.

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