Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) has officially launched its Bell MTS division following the completion of its CAD3.9 billion (USD3.1 billion) acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS), which delists its shares from the Toronto Stock Exchange today (20 March 2017). Via the takeover Bell gains approximately 710,000 wireless, broadband internet and IPTV customers in Manitoba, whilst noting that it becomes the leading mobile provider in Manitoba with more than 470,000 total Bell and MTS cellular subscribers in the province (after divesting approximately 25% of MTS’ post-paid mobile subscribers to rival Telus). Bell MTS now starts a five-year, CAD1 billion broadband network expansion plan for Manitoba’s cities, traffic corridors, rural locations and remote communities, with Winnipeg serving as BCE’s headquarters in Western Canada.
New services becoming available for Manitobans from Bell MTS include Bell ‘Fibe TV’ IPTV and ‘Gigabit Fibe’ fibre internet, alongside the ‘CraveTV’ video streaming service (with more than a million subscribers nationwide) which from today is available to existing MTS Ultimate TV (IPTV) subscribers free of charge for the first month. BCE also highlights Bell MTS’ integration into its national network including comprehensive 4G LTE footprint ‘and the most extensive national data hosting, connectivity and cloud services for government and business customers.’ Bell MTS will maintain current MTS wireless price plans for at least twelve months. Work is also underway to integrate operations at a total of 69 Bell and MTS retail stores across the province, whilst Bell MTS wireless services will also become available at The Source, Tbooth Wireless and WirelessWave retail locations throughout Manitoba.
The first Bell MTS infrastructure project has been announced as 4G LTE deployment for the northern town of Churchill, the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’, which will also be connected with Gigabit Fibe and Fibe TV services. Other infrastructure projects in the pipeline include:
• LTE and Gigabit support for Winnipeg’s downtown Innovation Alley hub for students, creators and entrepreneurs
• continuous broadband wireless coverage along Manitoba’s critical north-south transportation corridor, Highways 6 and 75 from Manitoba’s ‘Hub of the North’ Thompson to the US border at Emerson
• expansion of mobile and wireline broadband networks in the mining centre of Flin Flon on the Saskatchewan border
• new wireless services for smaller towns and remote locations, including five underserved indigenous communities: Easterville, Gods Lake Narrows, Gods River, Grand Rapids and Red Sucker Lake.