Videotron confirms wireless bid, reveals national plans

14 Mar 2008

Quebecor Media, the parent of Quebec-based cableco Videotron, is the latest company to submit an application to compete in a wireless spectrum auction scheduled for late May, reports Videotron joins fellow cableco Shaw and regional full-service telco MTS on a growing list of bidders aiming to secure 2GHz band frequencies being sold by the government, with a 40MHz allocation reserved for new entrants or provincial operators planning to expand nationwide. The government will unveil the full list later today. Quebecor Media, which made a CAD317 million (USD320 million) deposit in order to take part in the auction, also said it aims to build a national cellular network; Videotron currently provides MVNO service over Rogers’ GSM network in Quebec. Pierre Karl Peladeau, chief executive officer of Quebecor, announced: ‘We have always stated clearly that our Videotron subsidiary planned to build its own wireless network to serve the Quebec market. However, exceptionally favourable conditions for new entrants, which may never occur again, persuaded us it is in the interest of our shareholders that we try to extend our deployment across Canada.’ Other would-be entrants to the wireless sector are rumoured to include foreign telcos (including US firms), and smaller cable operators such as Atlantic Canada-based EastLink.

Canada, Videotron