Bell to Announce Areas Getting New 700MHz Wireless Spectrum Next Month

Bell CEO George Cope told an audience at the Canadian Club of Montreal yesterday the company has already started rolling out its 700MHz spectrum and will announce the communities set to receive wireless access in the next month or so, reports The Canadian Press:

“We’ve already begun to roll out, but we’re actually going to announce over the coming month or so all the different markets … right across the country,”

The 700MHz spectrum roll out will be completed at the end of 2015 and bring access to 97 per cent of the Canadian population, with rural communities benefitting thanks to the longer reach of the new spectrum. Bell acquired 31 licenses for the price of $565 million.

Cope said parent company BCE has spent $16 billion over the past five years to improve its overall broadband and wireless network and plans to invest $17.5 billion more in the next five years, which will include bringing more fibre connections right into homes:

“I think outside maybe some of the oilsands companies in Alberta we (will have) the largest capital expenditure program over the next number of years in Canada — all of this focusing on meeting business and consumers’ incredible demand for broadband wireless and wireline services.”

The Bell CEO said he was “extremely bullish” on the wireless industry (as revenues grew 4 to 5 per cent) despite a slowdown in growth due to the elimination of three year contracts which resulted in higher payments for customers with new two year terms.

Cope reiterated if rivals want to setup a national carrier they should not get special treatment from the government; he specifically mentioned example companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Quebec’s Videotron, which should be able to make it on their own in Canada like the ‘Big 3’.