Globalive sweetens offer to buy Freedom Mobile with Telus network deal – National


Globalive Capital has announced that it has signed a network and spectrum sharing agreement with Telus Corp. to strengthen its offer to buy Freedom Mobile.

Freedom is up for sale following Rogers Communications Inc.’s $26 billion deal to buy Shaw Communications Inc., the current owner of Freedom.

The sale of Freedom is expected to be a condition of this deal being approved by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and is seen as the best way to maintain competition in the wireless space while allowing the merger to go forward. forward.

However, the deal faces opposition from the Competition Bureau, which argues that the merger should not proceed even if Freedom Mobile changes hands.

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In documents filed May 9 with the Competition Tribunal, the regulator said the sale of Freedom Mobile would not add competition to the telecommunications sector, arguing that the new owners “are likely to provide financial, managerial , technical or other less efficient”. it is more difficult for the carrier to face Rogers, BCE Inc. and Telus.

In court documents, the watchdog also said the proposed deal between Rogers and Shaw would undo more than a decade of regulatory efforts to increase competition in the telecommunications sector.

The agreement with Globalive is conditional on the successful acquisition of Freedom Mobile.

Globalive Founder and Chairman Anthony Lacavera said his company’s ownership of Freedom would ultimately lead to lower cell phone bills and give customers “the same network experience” as customers of big business. Canadian telecommunications.

Lacavera also said it would continue to invest in Freedom and grow the network if Globalive’s bid for the carrier is successful.

“We plan to move forward and acquire more spectrum in the upcoming auctions which we will then share in the spectrum and network sharing agreement with Telus and further expand the capabilities of the Freedom network,” he said in an interview.

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Lacavera added that its offer will address Competition Bureau concerns about the sale of Freedom and the Rogers-Shaw deal as a whole.

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Meanwhile, Carleton University professor Dwayne Winseck doesn’t think the arrangement will be enough to satisfy the Competition Bureau.

“I just don’t see the concerns raised by the Competition Bureau in its application to the Competition Tribunal being outweighed by this,” he said in an interview.

Winseck said he’s also skeptical of the deal because he thinks it goes against Telus’ business interests and the efforts big telecoms have made over the years to essentially limit capacity. independent mobile operators to develop as viable rivals.

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“We’re being asked to accept that Telus is going to kind of break character here and allow Freedom to become a very formidable player in that it will have the resources and the access to compete with Telus, Rogers and Bell on the base. price, availability of access and size of data allowances, and I don’t see that happening.

He said Telus would “keep Freedom on a leash” and not allow him to challenge him on prices or the size of data allowances.

Telus already has a network-sharing agreement with Bell, which could further complicate Globalive’s deal, Winseck added, and will likely need to be brought into the discussion.

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In addition to Globalive, Quebecor Inc. has expressed interest in the carrier. Meanwhile, rural internet provider Xplornet Communications Inc. has reportedly been presented to regulators as a potential buyer.

Lacavera said he would like to see a US-based carrier such as T-Mobile step in, if Globalive isn’t the winning bidder.

Freedom Mobile, formerly known as Wind Mobile, was founded by Lacavera in 2008. After financial and foreign ownership issues, Wind Mobile was sold to Shaw in 2016 and changed its name.

– With files by Craig Wong

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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