Quebecor Sells 7 Wireless Spectrum Licenses to Shaw for $430 Million

Quebecor is selling off more of its wireless spectrum again, this time to Shaw. Here are the seven licenses being sold, in a $430 million deal that is set to require approvals from the Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada”

  • 10 MHz licences of 700 MHz spectrum in Southern Ontario; Alberta; BC
  • 20 MHz licenses of 2500 MHz spectrum in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver
This asset sell off will “enable Videotron to continue investing in the development of its network in Quebec and Eastern Ontario.” Quebecor explains it plans to expand and densify its 4G network and also the roll-out of 5G, as well as upgrade its IP wireline network.
Quebecor says “In fact, since Videotron launched its mobile telephony service, competitive forces have strengthened considerably in all markets where the company is present. This has resulted in substantial price decreases for consumers.”

Shaw CEO, Brad Shaw, said in a statement, “Considering the acquisition of WIND (now Freedom Mobile) in 2016, we now have more synergistic investment opportunities as a leading enhanced connectivity provider within our Canadian footprint.”

He added, “We believe this incremental investment in our wireless business, particularly with the addition of the 700 MHz spectrum, will materially improve our long-term wireless customer experience, and will further enable our ability to offer converged network solutions to our customers.”

Shaw also announced today the sale of its subsidiary ViaWest to Peak 10 for roughly $1.675 billion US (which they acquired for roughly $1.2 billion US in 2014). The company will use some of the cash from the ViaWest sale to fund the spectrum deal from Quebecor. Shaw says deployment of its newly acquired spectrum is estimated at about $350 million.

Last week, Quebecor sold its GTA AWS-1 spectrum to Rogers for $184 million. Quebecor made big spectrum gains during the Federal government’s 2500MHz auction in 2015, as it spent nearly $187 million for 18 licenses in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and BC, a 28% increase in spectrum holdings at the time.

Quebecor’s spectrum sell off means Videotron definitely will not be expanding outside Quebec. But there is good news for Freedom Mobile customers, as their wireless coverage will expand—but at what cost to consumers?

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