VMedia Ready to Compete with Rogers, Telus, Bell and Shaw

Toronto-based internet, TV, and phone service provider VMedia is now looking to take on Bell, Rogers, Shaw, and Telus in Manitoba — reports the Winnipeg Free Press.

The company has been all over Winnipeg’s advertising waterfront lately, marketing its ability to “Burst the high price bubble.”

VMedia has been around for almost a decade and serves the entire country. However, it wasn’t until the company was acquired by Quebecor in July that it gained a proper advertising budget.

VMedia pays wholesale rates to the Big Three (Bell, Rogers, and Telus) for access to their networks. The company then re-packages that network access into its own commercial offering and is still able to undercut the Big Three and national operators like Shaw because of its smaller size and, therefore, lower overhead.

The company’s TV packages cost anywhere from 15 to 25 cents less than larger cable companies and its high-speed internet service offers 75 Mbps for just $39.95 per month.

BellMTS, which is a subsidiary of Bell operating in Manitoba, is currently offering 940 Mbps at $110.00 per month. However, the average Canadian household doesn’t need gigabit internet — 75 Mbps is enough bandwidth to have three high-definition streaming services running at the same time while still leaving enough capacity for other uses.

“We just did not have enough capital to adequately promote ourselves right across the country even though we served the whole country,” said VMedia co-founder George Burger. “We have great pricing, great value but we’ve not been able to let enough people know about it.”

“Now with support of Quebecor and Videotron we can let people know we are out there,” Burger added. Quebecor chose Manitoba as the proving ground for VMedia because of the province’s lack of competition. According to a Quebecor spokesperson, advertising campaigns in Alberta, B.C., and Ottawa are coming soon.

Quebecor has also struck a deal with merger-hopefuls Rogers and Shaw to acquire Freedom Mobile from them for $2.85 billion CAD.

Freedom has 1.75 million subscribers in Alberta, B.C., and Ontario. Quebecor hopes to jumpstart its longstanding plans to expand its cellular service nationally by acquiring the company.

However, Quebecor’s Freedom acquisition is currently facing scrutiny from the Competition Bureau, which is yet to sign off on it. The sale is also contingent on the heavily-contested Rogers-Shaw merger being approved.

“The acquisition of VMedia is a clear signal that Quebecor is serious about creating healthy, sustainable competition in Canada and very much complementary to our intent to acquire Freedom Mobile, eventually enabling us to bundle Internet, TV and wireless services to bring down prices for Canadians,” a Quebecor spokesperson said.