According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo has confirmed the company is seeking to expand into the Canadian wireless market, confirming a report first published yesterday by The Globe and Mail. Speaking to the WSJ:
“We’re looking at the opportunity,” Mr. Shammo said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network conference in Washington. “This is just us dipping our toe in the water.”
Verizon sees an opportunity to acquire wireless spectrum from upstart WIND Mobile, but the CFO said talks are in early stages, plus barriers include unspecified regulatory complications could get in the way of such a decision.
Another report from Bloomberg has also confirmed WIND Mobile has been by interested buyers “from Canada and elsewhere,” with UBS AG advising the company’s sale. Verizon began to seriously consider a bid for WIND after hearing about Ottawa blocking the sale of Mobilicity to TELUS according to a source. That move by Industry Minister Christian Paradis encouraged Verizon to consider a bid since it would not have to compete with our incumbents to acquire WIND.
The Globe and Mail reports Verizon is said to be interested in participating in the Federal Government’s 700 MHz auction next January and becoming a formidable LTE carrier in Canada. The company’s buying power could lead to competitive pricing on smartphones on two year contracts, possibly undercutting our incumbents Rogers, TELUS and Bell.
Is Verizon the fourth carrier Ottawa is looking for? It looks like a large US carrier entering Canada is what it’ll take to disrupt our wireless industry, which has been painted as lacking competition.