A Consolidation Carol

by Jordan Richardson on December 23, 2010

‘Twas not but a year and a half ago when good sir Alek Krstajic stood during an annual industry meeting and declared boldly that out of the new wireless entrants “Two will not be here next year, or will be here but have different business cards.”

It isn’t known whether ’twas the glow of the festive fires or the bounty of this holiday’s cheer, but good sir Krstajic may well be on to something. Through a snowy flurry of discounts and deals ranging o’er the last several months, many wise sages consider that times could be changing in the sector after all. One of our own perceptive scribes pondered these issues back in the bountiful spring of this very year.

‘Twas an unknown soul that’d first broached the proposition of consolidation, as the National Post‘s report cites: “Sources suggest it is Public Mobile that has blinked first, seeking a partnership or merger.”

The Post calls upon an anonymous source from a rival entrant, stating that the rival entrant most assuredly ’twas “approached” by Public Mobile. A second source, the dame or chap also of the unclaimed nature, noted that Public Mobile inquired directly with investors.

Is there something to these rather curious utterances or is it all a lot of poppycock?

‘Tis indeed true that the incumbents in Canada’s telecommunications sector have us “captive, bound, and double-ironed,” by Jove, so it makes sense that the new carriers would consider something of a merger. There is simply too much by way of overhead pressure from Rogers, Bell and Telus for the new companies to hope for much of a sustainable segment of market share.

Good sir Krstajic also stated in an interview earlier this week that consolidation made for a bloody fine notion. “I don’t think there is any question in my mind that it would be good for all parties concerned that the new entrants consolidate,” he said. “If you brought these three together, you’d have a really strong national footprint, distribution, call-centre efficiencies (and) stable pricing.” Krstajic even noted that some talks of the cursory kind had taken place, though nothing of any weight ’twas discussed.

And so as the lights grow dim on another year in Canada’s telecom sector, the three fresh-faced carriers may be up to something after all. Will we awaken in 2011 blessed by a consolidated trio of new carriers? Or will the flame of opportunity float out into the “bleak, dark night” like Jacob Marley’s ghost?

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