Canada’s Competition Bureau announced on Friday 29 November 2013 that it has issued a No Action Letter (NAL) with respect to nationwide operator Telus’ proposed acquisition of CDMA-based cellco Public Mobile, after determining that the transaction is unlikely to substantially lessen or prevent competition in the mobile services markets of Southern Ontario and Greater Montreal where Public Mobile has a presence. The NAL confirms that the Bureau will not, at this time, challenge the proposed transaction before the Competition Tribunal under the merger provisions of the Competition Act. ‘Our review concluded that remaining non-incumbents are likely to continue to provide effective competition in areas previously served by Public Mobile,’ said John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, adding: ‘But as the vast majority of Canadian wireless subscribers are served by three national incumbent providers, the Bureau will continue to closely monitor the evolution of competition in Canada’s wireless telecommunications industry and take action where appropriate.’
As part of its review, the Bureau learned that Public Mobile was going to discontinue its CAD19 (USD17.90) per-month ‘Unlimited Talk’ plan due to financial sustainability issues. The Commissioner was concerned that the proposed transaction could accelerate the timing of the elimination of the plan, but Telus advised the Bureau that it will continue to offer, under the Public Mobile brand, a CAD19/month Unlimited Talk plan until at least the end of 2014, on substantially the same terms as Public Mobile’s current package.