Document Reveals Verizon Visited Ottawa in May, Decided WIND Mobile Bid

According to a report by the Globe and Mail, Verizon did not consider a bid for WIND Mobile until after a U.S. delegation traveled to Ottawa for a key meeting with Industry Canada officials back on May 21. This coincides with what Rogers earlier revealed Ottawa met with Verizon and offered ‘incentives’ for the company to setup shop in Canada. It appears discussions between both parties have been ongoing since the spring:

The New York-based telecom sent a contingent of staff to meet with officials from Industry Canada on May 21, according to a document obtained by The Globe and Mail. Although that document is short on specifics, two people familiar with the situation separately confirmed that Verizon employees and government officials conducted “exploratory talks” in Ottawa about wireless opportunities on that spring day.

This specific trip was important as weeks later Verizon came up with a $700 million offer for WIND Mobile and also signed a non-disclosure agreement with Mobilicity to acquire the wireless entrant. Back in June it was rumoured Verizon was in contention to bid for WIND Mobile and Mobilicity.

Sources say that following the trip to Ottawa, Verizon decided to undertake a more detailed assessment of potential “market opportunities” north of the border. Weeks later, it tabled a preliminary $700-million offer for Wind Mobile and signed a non-disclosure agreement with Mobilicity as part of early-stage talks with the struggling startup.

Industry Canada did not comment on the story other than to say:

“As part of departmental business, officials meet regularly with representatives from telecommunication companies as well as stakeholders on a variety of subjects,”

The report also reveals the following carriers have considered Canada as a wireless investment: AT&T Corp., T-Mobile, Vodafone Group PLC of Britain, Telenor Group of Norway and Japan’s NTT Docomo.

One source says if the U.S. wireless giant does not end up coming to Canada, it could negotiate a roaming deal with a Canadian carrier for its customers to roam here on a lowered rates.

Tension has mounted recently with the Big Three telcos launching a PR campaign against Ottawa urging for changes to its wireless rules to prevent Verizon from entering local markets. Incumbents have even put pressure on its employees to lobby Ottawa.

Just yesterday Industry Minister James Moore lashed back at incumbents over their misleading lobbying, specifically Bell Canada board member Anthony Fell who accused the former of not being able to handle telecommunications policy as a rookie Industry Minister.

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