Bell MTS is the brand you’ll see in Manitoba selling telecom and wireless services to Manitobans. BCE’s massive acquisition is officially completed after all shareholder and regulatory approvals have been granted.
The conversation between Jay Forbes, president and CEO of MTS (Manitoba Telecom Services), and BCE CEO George Cope occurred on April 21st while the two executives were in Los Angeles, California. Then, eleven days later, a proposed buyout was on the table for $3.9 billion.
Of course, there is some fine print.
Bell is adding 470,000 subscribers to its base and becomes Canada’s second largest wireless carrier with over 8.9 million subs. It would actually be more but as part of the deal, and to encourage competition in the province, Bell will distribute 24,700 wireless customers to rural broadband provider Xplornet and approximately 140,000 subs to Telus.
In addition, Bell has agreed to transfer 40 MHz of 700 MHz, AWS-1 and 2500 MHz wireless spectrum to Xplornet, who has announced plans to launch a new wireless offering in the coming months.
From a distribution point of view, Bell MTS will have 69 retail locations across Manitoba, and will also be selling its products and services, including CraveTV, from The Source, Tbooth and WirelessWave locations. Telus will also benefit from a larger distribution network as it will see 13 retail locations former MTS locations become a Telus dealership, while Xplornet secures six retail locations across the province.
Bell MTS will see an investment of $1 billion over the next five years in Manitoba to improve its wireless network and will also make Winnipeg the Western Canada headquarters of BCE and Bell Canada.
Jay Forbes, MTS’ President and CEO, is departing the company. Dan McKeen leads the Bell MTS team from Winnipeg as Vice Chair, Bell MTS and Western Canada.
MTS customers can rest easy for now as George Cope stated the company will “maintain current MTS wireless price plans for at least 12 months after the closing of the acquisition.”
Cope also stated, “Bell is proud to be a major investor in Manitoba’s future, enabling economic development with the most advanced network infrastructure and service innovations for consumers and business customers. With the talent and experience of the MTS team backed by Bell’s scale and proven broadband strategy, Bell MTS will lead the way in Manitoba’s competitive communications industry.”