Telus reportedly in talks to buy Mobilicity, spectrum likely the real prize

Canadians have been enjoying a minor renaissance in wireless competition since its AWS auction allowed a slew of smaller carriers to join the fray. Unfortunately, that diversity might be shrinking soon. The Globe and Mail reportedly has documents showing that Telus has been in active talks to buy Mobilicity through a share buyout deal. While the apparent leak doesn't mention the exact motivations, it's thought to be a spectrum grab when LTE on major Canadian carriers primarily leans on the very AWS frequencies that Mobilicity also uses for its 3G service. Neither Telus nor Mobilicity is commenting, although we'd note that there may be a few roadblocks (however temporary) if the scoop is accurate. Rules meant to preserve competition will prevent Telus from buying any newcomers' spectrum until early 2014, and Mobilicity left the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association just this week while accusing the industry group of being a puppet for bigger networks like Telus. If negotiations are real and still in progress, there could be some very awkward meetings ahead.

[Image credit: Andrew Currie, Flickr]

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WIND Mobile, Mobilicity & Public Mobile withdraw from Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association

CWTA has become voice of Big Three telcos at expense of consumers and new entrant mobile service providers

TORONTO, April 10, 2013 /CNW/ - After careful consideration, WIND Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity today announced their withdrawal from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA).

The three mobile service providers say the move is a direct result of their long-standing, mounting frustration with the CWTA's consistent bias in favour of Rogers, Bell and TELUS on a wide variety of issues. From this point, the CWTA does not, and cannot claim to, speak on behalf of the Canadian mobile wireless sector.

"When we were first approached by the CWTA, we were promised clear and fair representation on issues of true industry alignment," said Simon Lockie, Chief Regulatory Officer for WIND Mobile. "But despite making our objections and concerns abundantly clear on numerous occasions, the CWTA has repeatedly failed to honour this promise, leaving us no alternative but to withdraw."

"It has been evident for quite some time that, rather than being a true industry association which represents the views of all players regardless of size, the CWTA has instead largely been an advocate for Rogers, TELUS and Bell, and often directly contrary to the interests of new entrant wireless carriers," said Bob Boron, General Counsel and Senior Vice-President, Legal & Regulatory Affairs for Public Mobile.

"We have spent the better part of three years repeatedly voicing our opposition to the CWTA on a wide range of matters to the point of issuing a press release in January 2011 that publically expressed our dissent on the CWTA's position on wireless consumer protection," said Gary Wong, Director of Legal Affairs for Mobilicity. "There seems to be a blatant disregard of the new entrants in favour of acting in the best interests of the Big Three carriers and it is unacceptable."

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Telus reportedly in talks to buy Mobilicity, spectrum likely to be the prize