Xplornet’s entrance into the Manitoba wireless market is imminent, if recent employment postings are any indication.
The Canadian telecommunications company posted listings for seven retail associates in Brandon, Manitoba (four part-time and three full-time), which means it will no doubt be opening the doors on its wireless operations in short order.
Xplornet acquired 24,700 wireless subscribers, six stores and 40MHz of 700MHz, AWS-1 and 2,500MHz spectrum in Manitoba as part of Bell’s acquisition of Manitoba-based regional carrier MTS.
Bell was made to agree to these terms by Canada’s Competition Bureau in order to complete its $3.9 billion acquisition of MTS, which closed in March 2017.
Xplornet — a Woodstock, New Brunswick-based private company — has been in operation for 15 years, mainly providing broadband internet to Canadians in rural and remote areas where satellite and fixed wireless service is necessary.
This new deal gives the smaller telecom an opportunity to break into the much more competitive Canadian wireless market.
Xplornet CEO Allison Lenehan recently spoke to the Financial Post’s Emily Jackson on what some might consider to be the daunting prospect of competing with Canada’s Big Three carriers — Rogers, Bell and Telus.
“I can unequivocally tell you that we won’t be like anybody else,” he told FP, adding: “It’s not our intention just to be the same as the Big Three in Manitoba.”
For now, the rates for Bell MTS plans remain well under the prices seen in less competitive wireless markets like Ontario, though there is some concern among consumers in Manitoba that prices will gradually increase now that a strong wireless fourth player has been knocked out of the market.
It remains unclear whether Xplornet will manage to take up the mantle and provide adequate competition to keep prices lower than the national average, but it certainly seems that the telecom is intent on trying.
Xplornet is among the qualified bidders listed for the government’s upcoming residual spectrum auction, which includes key 4G spectrum in the 700MHz and 2,500MHz bands.