Videotron targets Summer 2010 for new network launch

Yesterday we noted that Videotron updated their website and stated that their “3G+ latest-generation wireless network is coming up fast”. Today is a different day and brings a full blown updated with a targeted launch of the Sumer of 2010. Below are some highlights from the official press release:

Robert Dépatie, President and CEO of Videotron said “We intend to launch a service that meets the highest quality standards that all customers have come to expect from Videotron… Videotron is determined to deliver on its promise of an unparalleled customer experience, to reflect our commitment to maintain our technological leadership and to offer what is best in the marketplace.”

Update on AWS Build-Out
The build-out of Videotron’s AWS project – a greenfield investment – has gained significant momentum since the acquisition of spectrum in the third quarter of 2008. As of December 21, 2009, all services and switching platforms have been installed and are operational, and interconnections have been established with Videotron’s existing fibre network, underpinning the delivery of a unique, integrated customer experience. Multi-phase reliability testing of these platforms is currently underway. Videotron has successfully entered into several site access agreements or had tower-sharing requests accepted in respect of nearly 60% of all antenna sites required for the AWS launch. Furthermore, the equipment for most of the contracted sites has been installed or is in the process of being installed.

AWS Launch Targeted for Summer 2010
Videotron still anticipates launching its AWS offering in the summer of 2010, when its new High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network is expected to be operational. The optimization of Videotron’s AWS build-out and launch project over the past year has evolved, resulting in a corresponding evolution of the project’s investment profile as compared to Videotron’s initial estimates. Nevertheless, Videotron believes that this will not have a material impact on Videotron’s results of operations or financial position, because Videotron anticipates that its optimized AWS project will further benefit its penetration, revenue generation and cash conversion objectives. As previously stated, Videotron still intends to finance future AWS project disbursements from cash on hand, funds generated by operations and, if necessary, available unused lines of credit.