RCI moves to take control of wireless subsidiary

14 Sep 2004

Candian telco Rogers Communications Inc (RCI) has agreed to pay CAD1.767 billion (USD1.357 billion) for the 34% stake in its mobile subsidiary Rogers Wireless held by AT&T Wireless (ATTW). Under the deal, which is expected to close on 13 October, RCI will pay CAD36.37 for each of the 48.6 million shares held in Rogers Wireless by JVII General Partnership, a subsidiary of ATTW. The transaction will boost RCI’s overall stake in its cellular arm to 89%; the remainder is publicly held.

Rogers Wireless is the second largest of Canada’s seven mobile network operators. It launched services in Montreal and Toronto in July 1985, and within two years had completed continuous coverage of the 1,200 kilometer corridor from Windsor, Ontario through to Quebec City. In 1995, the company was awarded a Personal Communications Services (PCS) licence in the 2GHz band and the following year became the first wireless company in Canada to offer Digital PCS. Today its network reaches approximately 95% of the population and covers all ten provinces. In 2001 it launched GSM services, and by the end of 2002 had fully overlaid its network with GPRS infrastructure. In November 2003 it became the first Canadian cellco to launch a commercial EDGE offering. By the end of June 2004 Rogers Wireless claimed 3.93 million subscribers, representing a market share of 27%. The market is headed by Bell Mobility, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Canada, which claimed 4.6 million customers at the same date.

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