The price for Mobilicity’s spectrum and 175,000 subscribers is reportedly in the hundreds of millions. According to “sources familiar with the situation,” TELUS, who’s back again for the third time, is offering up $350 million, while Quebecor’s Videotron is bidding approximately $200 million. In addition to these two carriers, WIND Mobile and Cogeco are also in the running. It’s rumoured that WIND Mobile offered $190 million back in December. When Industry Canada shut down TELUS’ first proposed $380 million buyout last June, Industry Minister James Moore stated that the “spectrum set aside for new entrants was not intended to be transferred to incumbents. We will not waive this condition of licence and will not approve this, or any other, transfer of set-aside spectrum to an incumbent ahead of the five-year limit.” The limit expires in about two weeks — just about the same time that Mobilicity will be drained of all their cash. It’s unlikely, even after the moratorium is over, that TELUS will be allowed by the government to subsume Mobilicity’s AWS spectrum.
Videotron might want to expand outside Quebec, abd Scotia Capital’s Jeff Fan says Quebecor is “keeping its options open” and “is being opportunistic and is assessing this more for financial reasons rather than strategic reasons.”
Telus, Quebecor, Cogeco and Mobilicity declined to comment. Bill Aziz, Mobilicity’s chief restructuring officer, only stated that “we continue active discussions with multiple parties.”
During the 2008 spectrum auction, Mobilicity invested $243.1-million for 10 licenses in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.
Time will certainly tell the fate of Mobilicity. For now, the battle continues, but in the end they’ll fall.