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Verizon CFO Confirms Interest in Expanding to Canadian Wireless Market

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According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo has confirmed the company is seeking to expand into the Canadian wireless market, confirming a report first published yesterday by The Globe and MailSpeaking to the WSJ

“We’re looking at the opportunity,” Mr. Shammo said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network conference in Washington. “This is just us dipping our toe in the water.”

Verizon sees an opportunity to acquire wireless spectrum from upstart WIND Mobile, but the CFO said talks are in early stages, plus barriers include unspecified regulatory complications could get in the way of such a decision.

Another report from Bloomberg has also confirmed WIND Mobile has been by interested buyers “from Canada and elsewhere,” with UBS AG advising the company’s sale. Verizon began to seriously consider a bid for WIND after hearing about Ottawa blocking the sale of Mobilicity to TELUS according to a source. That move by Industry Minister Christian Paradis encouraged Verizon to consider a bid since it would not have to compete with our incumbents to acquire WIND.

The Globe and Mail reports Verizon is said to be interested in participating in the Federal Government’s 700 MHz auction next January and becoming a formidable LTE carrier in Canada. The company’s buying power could lead to competitive pricing on smartphones on two year contracts, possibly undercutting our incumbents Rogers, TELUS and Bell.

Is Verizon the fourth carrier Ottawa is looking for? It looks like a large US carrier entering Canada is what it’ll take to disrupt our wireless industry, which has been painted as lacking competition.

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  • Thecho

    Please let this happen!!!

  • LF

    YES YES YES!!!

  • kkritsilas

    Verizon coming into Canada and buying either Wind, Mobilicity, or both and combining therm is a welcome change in my mind. I don’t want to see foriiegn carriers in Canada, but the business practices of the “Big 3 (Rogers, Telus, and Bell)” make it necessary. The government is also partially to blame. i put the blame partially on their not enforcing the tower sharing requirement in the 2008 spectrum auction, for making new entrants pay through the nose for spectrum, even though the spectrum owned by the Big 3 was given to them at no cost. I also blame them for allowing the Big 3 to get away with not using the spectrum they were given, and allowing them to hoard spectrum, even though they don’t have any investment in it. If the tower sharing regulations were enforced (allowing new entrants to have must wider coverage if enforced, and a major detriment to subscribing to new entrants currently), if the Big 3 were not permitted to bid on the AWS Spectrum Auctions (thereby driving up the price) and non-players (see Shaw, Videotron outside of Quebec, others). also driving up the costs for new entrants and putting a real crimp on the financial viability of the new entrants.

  • reformcanada

    Unfortunately it will never happen, unless the government is man enough to privatize licensing and abolish the CRTC. They won’t and no other party would do it either other than the libertarian party which has this in its platform, but they have no chance of ever forming a government.

    How can a government that is suppose to be all about small government be opposed to free market competition. It blows my mind!

  • draz

    Verizon is no different than Robelus.

    What we need is a better CRTC

  • xxxJDxxx

    They were given spectrum at no cost?

  • kkritsilas

    All of the original entrants (Rogers (originally Rogers/AT&T then Rogers-Cantel, Bell, and Telus) were given their spectrum at zero cost. They used to also charge subscribers a “network access fee”, which essentially was a subsidy over and above the charge for services for years. I have no doubt that the amount collected as a “network access fee” far exceeded the actual cost of the network build out, not to mention the whole concept of “network access fee” is questionable. Sort of having a plumber come to your house to repair something, and the plumber charging you for the cost of the tools to do the work.

    The new entrants got put behind the 8 ball from day one. Up front, they had to buy the spectrum licenses, a major financial hit before they could even begin to operate. Then, contrary to the rules set at the AWS spectrum, the tower sharing agreements were not adhered to, nor did the government enforce them, further limiting the appeal of the new entrants. Over and above that, some of the bidders for the AWS spectrum (Shaw, Videotron outside of Quebec) did bid on spectrum licenses, and never deployed, and can be argued never had any intention of deploying cell towers/service. They did serve to increase the cost for all bidders, but the “real” new entrants (Wind, Mobilicity, PUblic) could afford the increased cost the least, as they hadn’t even started to operate, while the original entrants had >25 years of accumulated profit from cell service to use in the bidding. Are the new entrants having trouble staying in business? You bet, it is inevitable.

    Kostas

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