Quebec-based Videotron has had a relationship with Rogers for many years. The regional carrier established them as their Canadian roaming partner, but a late-night press release tonight reveals the two competing carriers are getting significantly cozier. Rogers and Videotron have struck a 20-year agreement to expand the LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in Montreal, Ottawa and Québec City. They’ll share the costs and help “reduce the urban-rural digital divide,” but “will maintain their business independence, including their product and service portfolios, billing systems and customer data.”
Probably the most notable paragraph in the press release is the option for Videotron to possibly transfer their unused AWS spectrum to Rogers. This is a similar agreement that Rogers has with Calgary-based Shaw and would see them accumulate valuable spectrum, which I’m sure will be of concern from Bell, TELUS and WIND. Of course, this is all pending regulatory approvals: “In addition to the network sharing agreement, Videotron and Rogers have also come to an agreement regarding Videotron’s unused AWS spectrum in the Greater Toronto Area. Videotron will have the option to transfer its Toronto spectrum licence to Rogers, subject to regulatory approvals, beginning January 1, 2014 for a price of $180 million.”
Bottom line: faster data speeds are coming to wireless customers in Québec and Ottawa.