Quebecor, the parent company of Videotron, says it is now moving forward with its plan to offer wireless services coast-to-coast in Canada.
Both Quebecor and Videotron recently announced it would be investing $830 million to obtain 294 blocks of 3500 MHz spectrum across Canada, as part of the federal government’s auction for 5G airwaves. More half of these blocks purchased were for outside of Quebec.
According to Quebecor, this investment puts the company “in key position to become the 4th telecom player that will rebalance competition in the rest of the country,” including the offering of 5G services nationwide.
Quebecor told investors last week it plans to grow Videotron “as a strong 4th player in the market”, specifically in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. The company says it “wants to break the Bell-Rogers-Telus oligopoly once again and revitalize the 4th wireless player policy.”
“This major investment paves the way for large-scale projects in Québec and other Canadian provinces in the coming years. Our success in Québec has served Quebecers well. Today, we are taking another step towards bringing leading-edge technology and healthy competition to more Canadian consumers,” said Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor, last week.
According to Videotron, it says it has “broken the big 3 oligopoly for the benefit of consumers,” citing how it is has become Quebec’s most respected telco for the 16th consecutive year, based on the Léger Reputation survey.
Quebecor says it plans to roll out its wireless service “in some urban and rural areas in the rest of Canada,” without specifying a timeline.
According to 2019 data from the Competition Bureau, wireless markets with a strong fourth player see prices 35-40% lower than elsewhere, points out Quebecor.
Rogers recently announced it would be buying Shaw for $26 billion, a deal being reviewed by regulators. Péladeau said in a recent interview with BNN Bloomberg his company is ready to have talks with Rogers, if the latter is required to divest Freedom Mobile as part its deal to buy Shaw.
The federal government raised $8.91 billion from its 3500 MHz spectrum auction, with winning bids from Rogers, Telus and Bell totalling over $5 billion of that amount.