Telus Surpasses 113-Year-Old Bell as Canada’s No. 2 Wireless Player

by Istvan Fekete on February 14, 2014

The competition for the title of Canada’s No. 2 mobile carrier is between Telus and Bell. The two were very close to each other during Q3 of 2013, but holiday quarter sales (and acquisition of Public Mobile) has helped Telus to surpass Bell and officially become the country’s second-largest wireless player. In doing so, Telus is edging out a company that traces its roots back to the inventor of the telephone in the late nineteenth century.

Telus was incorporated in 1990, in Vancouver, BC, and today has more wireless subscribers than Bell, and for the first time it has led its rival for two consecutive quarters. Rogers remains the country’s No. 1 wireless player.

According to the Q4 2013 quarterly earnings report, Telus has 7.81 million wireless subscribes, and that includes 6.75 million customers on long-term contracts at the end of 2013. Bell, incorporated in April 1880, had 7.78 million subscribers, including 6.68 million postpaid wireless subscribers.

This is the first time the Vancouver-based telco has led its rival for two consecutive quarters in both total and postpaid subscribers. As Telus’s CEO Darren Entwistle pointed out in the press release, the company’s longstanding strategy turned out to be successful, as the carrier has recorded significant growth over the past year. Also, it is growing its business through acquisition (see the Telus-Public Mobile deal, which meant another 222,000 prepaid Public Mobile customers).

However, not every attempt has been successful. You may recall that Telus has twice bid for the struggling Mobilicity, Ottawa rejecting the deal due to a moratorium imposed on set-aside spectrum. But Canada’s No. 2 wireless player has reportedly now placed a third bid, but the deal isn’t likely to receive the green light from the government for the aforementioned reasons.

Telus will integrate Public Mobile’s spectrum into its own system in 2014, Joseph Natale, the company’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview with BusinessWeek. Public Mobile customers can expect migration offers from Telus to turn prepaid subscribers into more valuable postpaid smartphone users.

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

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