Toronto-based Rogers Wireless Communications has entered into an agreement with the board of rival cellco Montreal-based Microcell Communications for a friendly takeover of Microcell. Rogers has entered a cash bid of CAD1.4 billion (USD1.07 billion) for the operator, beating its main rival Telus whose CAD1.1 billion offer for the company was rejected by the board in May. Rogers said that the purchase would help it to target the youth market; it plans to provide services under Microcell’s well known Fido brand, which is popular among teenagers and young adults.
At the end of June 2004 Rogers Wireless was the second largest of Canada’s seven mobile network operators, behind Bell Mobility, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Canada. It launched services in Montreal and Toronto in July 1985, and within two years had completed continuous coverage of the 1,200 kilometre corridor from Windsor, Ontario through to Quebec City. 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. Microcell was the country’s fourth largest mobile operator at mid-2004. It launched its GSM-1900 network in 1996 and had deployed a GPRS network by the end of 2001. The takeover will give the merged Rogers and Microcell a market share of 35.3%, and a total customer base of 5.1 million, making it the largest national wireless carrier in the country.