Update: Verizon considering bid for WIND Mobile, apparently in “exploratory talks with investors”

Ian Hardy

June 17, 2013 10:15 am

Verizon-Wireless
Things could be getting a bit more interesting in Canada. According to the Globe and Mail this morning Verizon Wireless – the united States carrier that has over 100 million subscribers and quarterly revenues of $20 billion – might make a play into Canadian territory again.

Verizon is the key lead in a story that says they’re looking to set up shop in Canada and create the much talked about 4th national carrier the government desperately wants. Verizon and WIND Mobile have reportedly engaged in “exploratory talks with investors,” but Mobilicity is also a consideration.

The Globe notes that “The game plan would be for Verizon to take over a smaller player such as Wind Mobile and participate in the coming auction of new wireless spectrum to create a strong fourth carrier, said two industry sources familiar with the situation. The most attractive target is Wind, the larger and healthier of the two small operators, but Mobilicity is also an option. ‘They [Verizon] are definitely taking a hard look right now,’ said one source.”

The government changed the foreign ownership rules last year that allows non-Canadian companies to own a Canadian carrier that has 10% market share or less – so WIND and Mobilicity would be a perfect target. WIND Mobile currently has over 600,000 subscribers and Mobilicity has 250,000 subs. AT&T, Vodafone Group and Telenor were also included in the report, but lacking were details of any takeover talks.

The 700Mhz spectrum auction is scheduled to start January 14th, 2014.

Update: We’ve received a note that Scotiabank analyst Jeff Fan sent to his clients stating that he sees the Globe’s report as “noise… like many other headlines over the past few weeks.”

Scotia believes that Verizon taking over WIND is “highly unlikely” because “VZW cannot invest in wireless outside the continental U.S. due to the VZ/Vodafone shareholder agreement and it would be unlikely that VZ would invest in wireless outside of VZW… We do not believe VZ sees Canada’s 4th operator as attractive based on the track record, the lack of spectrum and inferior network. We also believe that VZ does not see the Canadian regulatory environment as stable based on the policies that the Canadian government has put in place to artificially support a 4th operator.”

Update #2: The Globe has responded and confirmed that talks between Verizon and WIND Mobile are happening. According to a post on Twitter, Globe’s telecom reporter Rita Trichur stated “Attention all naysayers on Bay Street and beyond … Verizon CFO confirms the story @globeandmail broke yesterday to the Wall Street Journal.”

The story on the Globe now quotes Fran Shammo, Verizon CFO, as saying “We’re looking at the opportunity. This is just us dipping our toe in the water.”

Of course, talks versus a final deal could be months/years away.

Source: Globe, Twitter
Via: Globe

  • Josh Brown

    Like we need another big red. Come on tmobile make a bid.

    • MSined

      T-Mo is the US’ version of WIND in Canada. They are in no position to “save them” when they are pre-occupied saving themselves.

    • Josh Brown

      They could offer unlimited north america and raise the price. I would love that.

    • Twonald

      that would be sweet, although i do have a tmobile card for when i’m in the states. it would save me from having two numbers though

    • MSined

      Not really, T-Mobile customers in the US who go to the Germany for example would still be roaming if they were on the T-Mobile Deutsche.

    • MSined

      That still doesn’t account for the fact T-Mobile would need to expand infrastructure in Canada, increase robustness of existing infrastructure AND fix the fact that they are bleeding customers in the US.

      I would love for T-Mo to be WIND/Mobilicity’s saviour, but we both know that’s just a pipe dream.

    • Josh Brown

      I would rather tmobile. Verizon has the worst business practices of all us carriers

    • Rashad Ismail

      are you retarded? 2yr contracts were already part of the new wireless code of conduct being implemented soon.

  • canuck07

    I usually try to buy Canadian whenever I can, and as patriotic as I am, I felt our 3 Canadian carriers need a lesson on competition so I’ll switch over to Verizon once they come up and build a network with better coverage.

  • jackjiarocks

    Do you guys know that Verizon is just as bad as AT&T. They are like Rogers in Canada while AT&T is Bell.
    Their Color are even like the twin brothers of Roberlus and Bellus -__-

    COME ON… T-MOBILE!!!!!!! Or Clearwire…….Hell i will even go for Sprint.:/

    • AA

      If anything, Rogers would be AT&T. & it’s just ROBELLUS (rogers bell telus) …

      roberlus and bellus haha

    • jackjiarocks

      Can you just imagine the commerical 10 years from now.

      Another First brought you by Rogers and AT&T.

      Scare the shitz out of me just by thinking it :(

    • Adam

      You know Rogers/AT&T used to be a thing right?

    • hyperhyper

      and it was just as scary back then too…

    • Savbers

      Telus/Verizon used to be a thing.

    • Ren596

      In an other one of his posts jackjiarocks states he is in High School So I Guess He Does NOT

    • Bravado

      It tells something about the Canadian market that Verizon is seen as a saviour.

    • jb

      Except that we have far better plans than they do, and our carriers are interoperable… What is it really telling?

    • S2556

      Also VZ does 2 year contracts which would really shake up the industry up here.

    • RoboBonobo

      Our contract periods will be limited to 2 years starting soon-ish.

    • S2556

      Source? I thought 3 years were here to stay. Would love to see 2 years become standard rather than 3. I have never had a phone last 3 years.

    • selonmoi

      There was this thing that happened a couple of weeks ago, where the CRTC released a whole set of new rules for mobile carriers. People talked about it a bunch.

      You may want to search on the Internet for more information.

    • S2556

      Ahh don’t know how I missed that. Good to know. Guess I might start signing contracts again starting December 2nd

    • selonmoi

      It tells me that Canadians don’t know much about how Verizon does business.

    • MSined

      You know that T-Mo is about in the same position that WIND is in but in the US. They just got their bid to be bought by AT&T shot down and you expect them to come and rescue a Canadian carrier?

  • MSined

    Damn, this is pretty big news. But strong competition will be contingent on Verizon being disruptive with pricing and not simply “matching” the Big 3’s price points.

  • Miguel A

    not sure how I feel about this…big red down south doesn’t really have a pristine reputation…but then again they’re the only one who seems willing to buy out the smaller carriers

  • ToniCipriani

    As long as they don’t lose that ownership rule completely, we’re still screwed either way.

  • selonmoi

    Holy shitballs. The day Verizon takes over WIND is the day I switch back to Telus.

    Verizon is the most anti-consumer company in the history of telecommunications.

  • rgl168

    I think T-Mo would be a better fit as their network is compatible with Wind and Mobi, but T-Mo has their own problems and Verizon should have deeper pocket book.

    Now, if Verizon is allowed to launch FiOS home service in Canada, I’ll ditch Rogers right away.

  • Frank

    If Verizon comes, and actually tries to be different from the Big (ie good plans for good price), then i’ll switch as soon as my contract with Bell ends.

    • jackjiarocks

      Dream high. Buddy!

  • CluelessCompanion

    Verizon will put really up the ante on the competition currently between Robellus. because they have the funds to buy up spectrum and are big enough not to be silenced by the CRTC. Even if they don’t keep the services at the same price (most probable), overall prices will still go down.

  • lusky3

    Even if they are the Rogers of the USA, another company doesn’t hurt as long as it drives competition.

  • dracos

    Right now I would like to see anyone come in and make Robelus shake at the knees.

  • beyond

    Too bad WIND can’t make it on their own, that would have been better.

    • Ren596

      Indeed
      But They Are No Moblicity (sp?)

  • Lirodon

    As long as they don’t show the same level of anti-consumerism their US counterpart shows (i.e. trying the best they can to get everyone off “unlimited” data, tarnishing the Galaxy Note II’s home button with a tacky logo, and forcing all Android phones to be heavilly locked down in the interests of “security”), more competition is good.

    But yeah, much like Bell/Rogers here, AT&T and Verizon are pretty much the “axis of evil” in the U.S. cellphone industry.

  • sirous sol

    sweet.

  • Cmarenburg

    Some of the best news in the mobile industry i have heard… even if it is just a rumor.

  • Daniel Pogue

    Competiton is a good thing but I have a bad feeling that it will just be Robellrius.

  • Matthew P

    AT&T? Verizon? I wonder what the new monopoly will be called: ROBELL&US? ROBELLIZON?

    Please T-mobile, help us Canadians!!! The gouging must stop!!!

    • HeyYoWL

      More likely Robellusizon, but I like yours better.

      +1 to ROBELLIZON!!!

  • Tony Sarju

    lol no. Verizon exists in Canada for other service offerings already.

  • HeyYoWL

    Sorry if I sound ignorant, but why is it such a big deal for the Canadian government that we have foreign ownership for a cell phone company? Is it just ‘to keep it Canadian’, or is it because of some real (and grounded in facts) concern? Am I alone in not caring whether or not a company is foreign owned as long as I get a fair priced option? Canadian owned certainly hasn’t allowed me to save very much money after all.

    • Petephone

      Wally World has been here for a couple of decades, new neighbour Target, people still buying vehicles from Big 3, all the fast food restaurants are state side also. I don’t see the ‘protectionism’ needed for a Cellular service

    • skullan

      It’s not just ‘keep it Canadian’, the theory is that whoever controls the lines of communication, can control the message or at least intercept it. National Security and Intelligence.

    • HeyYoWL

      Ok so let’s say that there is the possibility for messages or calls to be intercepted. As a normal consumer I’m going to ask “so what?”. What would a foreign entity do with this information that a local one couldn’t? Also, are people really putting in sensitive information in their emails/text messages? Like bank account numbers? I have never done so and I’m curious. And I’ve never said anything on the phone that I would care about if it was intercepted. I just don’t see justification for this paranoia that seems more in line with US thinking.

    • skullan

      Don’t take this the wrong way, I am not trying to be rude. Am I close in guessing you’re between the ages of 22 to 29? Too young to really remember the Cold War (or its tail end)?

      I’d say that the control of lines of communication is a function of national security. Remember, these are not just text/messages/emails, it’s voice and data. People use it for daily banking, vpning into a work environment, tracking the status of remote monitoring stations and a lot more.

      World War 1, World War 2 and the Cold War were examples of where communication, espionage and such would make a government want to control who can tap into the conversations themselves.

      With technology where it is now, if a foreign body had access and control to the dominant lines of communication (cellphone increasing, hardline decreasing), it could very well find out information that it should not have.

      That is my opinion. Again, not meaning to be rude, I’m just curious about the age

    • HeyYoWL

      Close enough on the age, but again what could a foreign entity do with this info that a local entity couldn’t? Look to the US and the whole NSA debacle as an example. If we a foreign owned provider, could they somehow use their own lines to tap into a national one? Say for example Vodafone came here, would they be able to tap into the data that’s on Rogers’ network? If not, since we’re talking about national security here, couldn’t any company or the Canadian government keep all their sensitive communications on a nationally owned brand?

      Again as a regular citizen I don’t really do anything that I would be afraid of being intercepted with the exception of some mobile banking I do that I could switch to branch banking if necessary, and if you there was fraud I’m covered by policies here just fine.

    • skullan

      I’m not sure about tapping into other’s networks, but I imagine it is possible. Google for ‘Hacker Spoofs Cell Phone Tower to Intercept Calls’ on wired(dot)com.

      But the question isn’t really whether or not they could tap into another national carrier, it’s the customers that it would have on their network that would need to be worried about in my opinion.

      There is also the question of Canadian information being held in another country. An example of this would be data residency and the US Patriot Act, or whatever nationality it would be.

      This is where a government of a foreign country could seize personal information about people using services.

      There is more than just what you transmit really, by introduction of a foreign country, there would need to be concerns addressed to prevent such privacy issues.

      Also keep in mind, people with family in the military talk. Sometimes things get said, hence the whole World War 2 posters regarding to loose lips sinking sheeps.

      You might not be concerned about this, but understanding the protectionism of the telecommunications field in relation to both national security and additionally, simply business by keeping out the bigger players to allow local players dominate isn’t hard.

      I don’t agree with preventing foreign ownership, however, there needs to be rules in place to prevent Canadian data from being allowed off Canadian soil and finally, processes in place to prevent strategic resources from encountering a scenario where a foreign company could be forced to intercept.

  • rgl168

    Re: Jeff Fan

    From Global News article:

    “Scotiabank analyst Jeff Fan’s says in a report that Canada’s wireless market is alive and well and argues that Canadians are paying lower monthly price plans for smartphones than our neighbours to the south…”

    “According to the Scotiabank report, monthly plans for smartphones are less expensive in Canada when compared to those in the U.S. The report also says that the belief that three-year contracts make Canadian plans less attractive is a myth.”

    “The report also deems the trap of three-year contracts a myth.”

    So just how trustworthy is this Jeff Fan guy? You’ll be the judge.

    • ToniCipriani

      I always thought these analysts are always just shills for their own firm’s positions. Talk about legal market manipulation.

    • hoo dat

      Jeff Fan is only as accurate as other tech analysts out there, which means not very. I’m constantly amazed how much stock people put in what comes out of analysts mouths, if they were baseball players they’d be batting 0.05.

    • jb

      he is right that we do, or have to option to, pay less…its up to the consumer to research and find better price options

    • Tom

      He’s actually telling the truth. Monthly plans ARE lower than what AT&T and Verizon offer, though still noticeably higher than what T-Mobile offers.

      If you’re bringing your own phone, Canadian providers are better than American ones. If you’re going contract, then American ones are better in the sense that contracts are only 2 years.

      E.g. AT&T’s contract plan is $39.99 for 450 minutes (no unlimited weekends/evenings like we have here), before you add $20 for a paltry 300 MB of data or $30 for 3 GB (I suspect most people go for the latter). And then SMS is 20 cents per text, or you can pay $20 for unlimited texting.

      My dad and I are on Fido (not on contracts) and my dad pays $56 for unlimited everything except the data is only 2 GB. I’m on their $39 plan with 600 MB. To get something somewhat equivalent to my dad’s plan on AT&T would be $90/month.

      Doesn’t mean The Big Three are saints though. I hate them all the same.

    • rgl168

      If you BYOD in US, you have lots of other options available, such as Red Pocket, H2O, Simple Mobile, Net10 and others. For example, H2O is an AT&T MVNO and offers the same 2GB data + unlim. talk/sms.

      Regardless, Verizon CFO confirms that they are indeed investigating. While a “Windizon” may or may not actually happens, it confirms my comments regarding Jeff Fan.

  • FlageJan1

    ooooo very nice

  • deltatux

    We need someone outside of North America to invest. Verizon is just as horrible as the Big 3. Let Vodafone, Hutchinson (3), Orange and etc. to come in and take WIND over instead. Vimpelcom doesn’t seem interested no more so why not other big European players, they seem to know how to treat consumers well unlike North American carriers.

    • skullan

      Well then, they need to step up. Right now, only Verizon really is being discussed.

  • Tom

    AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are just as bad as Robellus, no thanks.

    Verizon is also pretty evil when it comes to snooping on internet usage, and did I mention their love of locked bootloaders on Android devices?

    I’d like to see Vodafone or T-Mobile come in.

  • A_K_A

    Who is this scotia analyst dude?? First off, let’s check how much stock Scotia has in Robellus. Oops!! NEXT.

    • wildspin

      There are many reasons not to buy what the banksters say … one thing is they are potentially representing their own clients as well so they’d always like to play down rumors involving competitors.

      Even if there’s a said agreement between Verizon and Vodafone, they may also collectively decide the deal may serve up their common interest and give it green light too.

  • ScooterinAB

    We need to remember that Canada is really big. It’s not simply a matter of a large company coming in and suddenly we have a 4th national carrier. It takes years and trillions of dollars to roll out a network that can cover Canada, and no new entrant, no matter how large, is going to be able to pull that off in short order.

    The CRTC’s attitude to force a new carrier isn’t helping. A fourth national carrier isn’t going to be a budget carrier because they simply cannot afford it. You need to generate revenue in order to run a growing business, and any company that charges $30 per month for service isn’t generating revenue, no matter how large their parent is. And creating special concessions for a fourth carrier are unhealthy and unstable. What happens if a foreign carrier gets 10% market share? Are they not allowed to take on any more customers? Will they be kicked out of the country? Will they be forced to sell the company? If they sell, will anyone be allowed or able to buy it? It’s a mess.

    • wildspin

      Rules are made to be broken … because they are made by human. ;-)

      If everyone worries as much as you do, nothing will ever happen in this world.

    • Canadaboy

      Love to see people without grey cells (1) “and trillions of dollars” – really, trillions? (2) “what happens if a foreign carrier gets 10% …” – check the legislation. none of what you “worry” about would happen.

    • ScooterinAB

      Yes. Trillions. If any new company hopes to compare to the coverage of Bell, Rogers, or Telus, it will cost trillions of dollars in infrastructure alone. That’s with a T. Remember. Canada is really big. There are a lot of cell towers needed to build a reliable network that can cover the country. Even the big three have been unsuccessful in covering all of the land in Canada (let alone the entire populous, though they are getting close).

      As for your second point, please point me to the contingency plan in this legislation. I personally have not found anything, other that the CRTC making noise about wanting more carriers. I have not found any further details on how the CRTC intends to handle foreign entrants. If it’s there, please point it out, rather than just saying that it won’t happen.

    • heyman

      Bell/Rogers/Telus were granted concessions when they were first building their networks (cable, telephone, wireless).

  • A_K_A

    TMobile only serves android fones stateside. That sucks.

    • kevin c

      Not true, TMobile sells Androids, Blackberries, Windows Phones *AND* iPhones.

    • A_K_A

      iPhones not listed on site.

    • kevin c

      check it again, its on the front of the tmo website. I’d link it, but the forum is configured to block weblinks

    • Tom

      Nothing stops you from bringing your own. Besides, they’re no longer doing traditional contracts with the phones they do sell

  • Seppo

    This would be fantastic. Introducing some healthy competition, backed by s**tloads of V $$$.

    For those complaining about V not being different from the robber gang of 3, I have been V customer for almost 10 years now, and personally have been very happy w/ them. V is light years ahead of the Canadian trio in competitiveness, customer service, pricing etc…

    • A_K_A

      They need to knock off that $40 chg in share everything plan. Peeps wont go for that crap up here. What if you only want 1 device aka cell phone and not 10? Free revenue for V down south.

  • Thomas C. Riddell

    Wer all want T-mobile here if any USA Phone providers comes into canada

  • PT

    “We also believe that VZ does not see the Canadian regulatory
    environment as stable based on the policies that the Canadian government
    has put in place to artificially support a 4th operator.”

    I believe it!

  • IceCreamGuy

    Eff. Yes.

  • skullan

    If you’re under the impression that the other American wireless providers aren’t also court mandated to provide these records, you’re mistaken.

  • Stephen_81

    Canada is such an unattractive place to set up shop. Why would Verizon want to come in? Look at their revenue/user base. 20bn from 100mn per quarter means an average monthly price of $67.00 if they purchased WIND they would have to double the monthly plans to maintain their margins. Do we really want another carrier offering only high end plans? Canada doesn’t have enough people to support a US like T-Mobile. Wind and mobilicity have proven that.

    What we needed was a CRTC that didn’t have a “me too complex” and actually was looking out for Canadians and regulations that would actually help Canadians, the new regulations suck

  • Lukeiphone

    After reading the second update, I realize Scotia bank analyst was wrong and his analysis was in fact the “noise”. One bank I should stay away from.

  • Kenny G

    I’m having a hard time believing that people would start flocking over to Verizon if they came to Canada. If they’re as big as they seem in the states, people will just look for the cheaper deal.

    • ToniCipriani

      But Verizon has the money to make these deals to happen. Take a slight hit initially to garner market share.