Telus Deal to Acquire Public Mobile Approved by Industry Canada [u]

Ottawa has approved a deal for Telus to acquire Public Mobile’s wireless spectrum, reports the Financial Post:

The federal government has approved a deal for startup carrier Public Mobile to sell its wireless airwaves to Telus Corp.

Industry Minister James Moore said in a statement Wednesday afternoon his department approved a proposed transfer of spectrum licences in the G-block frequency.

In the same statement, Moore hinted a similar deal to acquire Mobilicity might not be approved due to restrictions on AWS spectrum:

“Our government will continue to enforce the moratorium on the transfer of set-aside AWS spectrum to incumbents,” Mr. Moore said. “We will not approve any spectrum transfer request that decreases competition in our wireless sector to the detriment of consumers.”

Meanwhile, Telus has issued a press release in response stating it has entered into an agreement to obtain “100 percent ownership” of Public Mobile and ensure the latter’s 280,000 customers continue to get service, now pending approval from the Competition Bureau.

Alek Krstajic, Public Mobile CEO, said in a statement “TELUS stood out as the company most committed to strong customer service and innovation. We are confident this is the right decision for our customers, our company, our employees and our investors.”

Eros Spadotto, TELUS EVP of Technology Strategy and Operations says Public Mobile’s airwaves, specifically its PCS G block will be valuable for iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c users:

“…the iPhone 5s and 5c have this spectrum ecosystem incorporated within their chipset, consistent with the trend across smartphone manufacturers to produce products that can be sold globally with a lessened need for customization on a market-by-market basis.”

Public Mobile has its wireless operations in Ontario and Quebec.

Update: Industry Minister James Moore clarifies the spectrum policy in this press release:

“G-block spectrum licences were acquired in the 2008 spectrum auction but were not part of the 2008 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) set-aside. G-block spectrum is not used for the latest data plans and smart phones in Canada and is of a significantly lesser value than other types of spectrum. This transaction does not materially change the spectrum concentration of incumbents in this country and therefore will not diminish competition in our wireless sector.”

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