BCE seals C$3.1bn Manitoba Telecom takeover

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Manitoba Telecom Services has been relaunched as Bell MTS with BCE pledging to invest C$1bn in network upgrades

Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) has completed its C$3.1 billion (£1.8 billion) takeover of Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS), unveiling plans to invest in fibre in the Canadian province.

Bell struck the deal to buy MTS, one of the last provincial operators to compete with national operators BCE, Rogers and Telus, in May 2016, and gained regulatory approval for the deal last month.

It adds 710,000 wireless, TV and Internet customers to BCE’s base, as well as MTS’ existing wireless infrastructure. The company has been relaunched as Bell MTS

To push through the deal, Bell agreed to a number of provisions, including selling off some of its base to rivals, and a $1 billion investment in infrastructure in the region over the next five years.

In an agreement entered into with the Canadian Competition Bureau and filed with the Competition Tribunal, Bell and MTS will also transfer to Xplornet Communications Inc. a total of 40MHz of 700MHz, AWS-1 and 2500MHz wireless spectrum currently held by MTS, which has also been approved by ISED; 24,700 wireless customers once Xplornet launches its mobile wireless service; and five retail outlets in Winnipeg and one in Brandon.

"Bell MTS will deliver the best broadband networks and unprecedented service innovation to Manitobans, growing competition, choice and value in communications throughout the province. In addition to our capital investments to roll out our Fibe and mobile LTE services in Manitoba, Bell MTS is also announcing today that it would maintain current MTS wireless price plans for at least 12 months after the closing of the acquisition," said George Cope, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada when it gained the regulatory thumbs up.

According to the Globe and Mail, Winnipeg will serve as BCE’s headquarters in Western Canada with Dan McKeen taking on the role of vice-chair of BCE MTS and Western Canada.