Industry Minister Approves Telus Agreement to Acquire Public Mobile

by Istvan Fekete on October 24, 2013

Telus has entered into an agreement with Public Mobile to acquire the struggling wireless startup for an undisclosed price. The deal has received the green light from Industry Minister James Moore, who had previously blocked the Telus–Mobilicity deal earlier this year, but the agreement is still pending approval from the Competition Bureau.

In a press release issued yesterday, Canada’s No. 2 wireless player, Telus, emphasized that the transaction will ensure continuity of service and enhanced functionality for Public Mobile’s 280,000 wireless subscribers.

“We look forward to the successful completion of this transaction, and migrating Public Mobile’s customers onto TELUS’ world-class 4G LTE network while putting their spectrum to good use for millions of customers across Canada,” said Eros Spadotto, TELUS EVP of Technology Strategy and Operations. “Public Mobile’s PCS G block spectrum is part of a developing ecosystem that is being driven by the insatiable demand consumers have for access to wireless data applications.”

The deal received the blessing of Industry Minister James Moore because the G-block spectrum wasn’t part of the set-aside AWS spectrum. This was the reason why Ottawa blocked the $380 million Telus–Mobilicity deal in the first place, as Moore highlights in a press release.

“G-block spectrum licences were acquired in the 2008 spectrum auction but were not part of the 2008 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) set-aside. G-block spectrum is not used for the latest data plans and smart phones in Canada and is of a significantly lesser value than other types of spectrum. This transaction does not materially change the spectrum concentration of incumbents in this country and therefore will not diminish competition in our wireless sector.

“Canadians have been clear that they want more choice, better service and lower prices in our wireless sector. Our government will continue to enforce the moratorium on the transfer of set-aside AWS spectrum to incumbents. We will not approve any spectrum transfer request that decreases competition in our wireless sector to the detriment of consumers,” James Moore added.

Telus had indicated interest in the G-block spectrum earlier this year when it acquired a block of unused spectrum in that band from Novus Wireless Inc., for licenses covering Alberta and British Columbia.

What’s good news for Public Mobile customers is that they will finally see Apple’s latest hardware available through Telus. The latter wireless player highlighted that the recently launched iPhone 5c and 5s operate on the G-band.

Public Mobile was recently acquired by a venture capital firm and a private equity group, because other investors had withdrawn from the business they had helped launch three years ago.

Wind Mobile CEO, Anthony Lacavera, said that this takeover doesn’t affect the competitive landscape. It remains to be seen what will happen with Mobilicity, which is currently operating under the protection of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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