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Quebecor Open to WIND Mobile Partnership for National Wireless Network

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Earlier this week WIND Mobile announced it had bought out the Canadian stake from its foreign owner, VimpelCom, now allowing the wireless startup to decide its own wireless destiny.

Yesterday, CEO Anthony Lacavera stated WIND Mobile was in talks with Quebecor but stated there were no plans for a deal anytime soon.

But Quebecor’s CFO, Jean-Francois Pruneau, speaking at CIBC’s annual investors’ conference in Montreal, said yesterday their company is still open to partnering with WIND Mobile for a national wireless network, according to the Financial Post.

“We have, I think, very valuable spectrum ownership which… we can contribute, blend in essentially in the venture and be a partner with them,” Quebecor chief financial officer Jean-François Pruneau said.

“Quebecor doesn’t have the balance sheet to stomach that investment [in a national wireless network] alone.”

Pruneau also revealed Quebecor could have acquired WIND Mobile based on its $300 million price tag, but decided against it because such a deal would have required more partners and capital for the project:

“We didn’t want to be the buyer of Wind for that specific reason,” said Mr. Pruneau. “Because once you’ve started that, you know, you’re at risk for the rest. And now that some financial partners have done what they’ve done, the [investment in Wind], we’re still interested. We’re certainly interested in talking with them.”

Still though, Quebecor says it has not decided whether a national wireless network is in their plans, as more is needed to reduce risks of their investment should they pursue a Canadian network:

“We are interested in participating. But not at any condition. And we might end up not participating and maybe just selling our spectrum. What we know is we have this very valuable assets in our hands and we control its destiny.”

Back in June, Quebecor launched its vision to bring an affordable, low-cost wireless service to Canadians, but said it would require help from the Federal Government, specifically in getting the ‘Big 3’ to set fair roaming rates.

Everybody wants Quebecor and WIND Mobile to partner up for a national wireless network. It might happen, but it’s not going to emerge overnight.

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