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Manitoba Premier on Bell MTS Deal: “You Get What You Pay For”

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Bell’s plan to acquire MTS for $3.9 billion in Manitoba has yet to be approved by regulators, but recent comments by the province’s Premier and BCE group president suggest prices could go up, based on the increase of quality services forthcoming.

When Bell and MTS announced yesterday they planned to blanket Highway 75 with LTE wireless coverage, the company, along with Premier Brian Pallister reiterated quality services are coming, but did not rule out potential price increases, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

BCE group president Wade Oosterman said “I think it’s way too early to speculate on (price changes). What I know with certainty is that quality will go up.”

Premier Brian Pallister noted “We’ve had cheaper, limited services. Now we get better service,” adding “you get what you pay for.”

The Premier is optimistic Bell and MTS will help bring coverage to dead zones in the province, citing the Vita region in the southeast an example, an area that has lacked communication infrastructure, a longstanding issue for first responders.

“I would make the case on the basis of public safety that we need to continue to expand our access to cell coverage around the province,” Pallister explained, noting the province was ready to pull out its cheque book to make it happen.

Opposition NDP leader Jim Maloway, a critic of the Bell MTS deal, said in a statement to the WFP “In jurisdictions with less competition — such as Toronto — cell phone rates are almost double the cost as in Manitoba.”

Rogers recently got a head start on its competitors and raised prices by $5 in the province on select plans.

If the Competition Bureau approves the deal, Bell has promised it will spend $1 billion in the province to improve coverage over the next five years.

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