Wind Mobile to Become Fourth National Wireless Player

by Istvan Fekete on September 4, 2013

The Verizon–Vodafone deal means the end of Canadian wireless competition for some. Industry Minister James Moore says the conditions are just right for a fourth competitor to emerge in the market. Who will this player be?

Putting an end to media hysteria initiated by the Big Three, Verizon Wireless announced on Monday that Vodafone has agreed to sell its 45% stake in the red US wireless giant. This means Verizon has cut the cord on those Canadian dreamers who were hoping to see the deep-pocketed carrier entering the market and lowering their cellphone bill. Well, this isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

On the other hand, local players such as Wind Mobile – which, by the way, allegedly received a bid from Verizon — have expressed interest in acquiring the struggling Mobilicity. The government blocked the Telus–Mobilicity deal earlier this year, citing competition issues.

Speaking with The Lang & O’Leary Exchange, Anthony Lacavera, CEO of Wind Mobile, wasn’t disappointed by Verizon’s move. To the contrary, he said Canada didn’t need Verizon to achieve its business plan. “I don’t think we ever did need a Verizon for Wind to achieve its business plan,” Lacavera said in an interview with CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange.

“The demand for our products is clearly there. Prices have come down almost 18 per cent in the markets that we operate in,” he said.

“What’s key for us on spectrum side is government has put in place a policy framework now that ensures the availability of spectrum for new entrants, and that wasn’t so clear up until June of this year when the government announced the Telus and Mobilicity decision,” Lacavera said.

Although Wind Mobile had a rough start, it currently has over 650,000 subscribers, so it has big plans to fill in its networks, add more stores, and roll out in new areas. All of these moves depend on the spectrum auction.

James Moore spilled gas on the fire by saying that those who are closely following the wireless market may be surprised at the entrants who emerge in the fall spectrum auction. He once again highlighted that Ottawa’s wireless policy wasn’t dependent on Verizon.

“We’ve said all along that our policy is not dependent on whether Verizon comes or doesn’t come. We always knew that it was speculation whether Verizon decided to come to Canada,” Moore told The Lang & O’Leary Exchange.

“If [Verizon] had decided to come, it would have provided a different kind of competition and the incumbent firms would have to arrange their affairs differently.”

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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