According to a BNN report, AT&T considered entering the Canadian smartphone market earlier this year, either through a purchase of WIND Mobile or Mobilicity, but determined the market couldn’t support a fourth national player.
AT&T actually had a large stake in Canada in the early 2000’s, with Rogers buying out its 34% stake in in 2004 for $1.8 billion. As the wireless market has grown, and the rules around foreign telcos entering the country have shifted, some of them have considered coming back. But even with the Canadian government enticing a modicum of foreign investment, AT&T thinks there is “not enough room for four players in Canada,” according to a BNN source.
In addition to AT&T and Vodafone, who until a few weeks ago owned a 45% stake in U.S.-based Verizon, Norway’s Telenor considered entering Canada. Telenor may not be a well-known entity in North America, but they have a 33% stake in Dutch VimpelCom, the company that bought WIND’s parent Orascom in 2011.
Most of this summer was spent kvetching over Verizon’s potential Canadian entry, even though the maneuver was “way overblown,” according to the company’s CEO.