Earlier rumors that Verizon Wireless was eyeing expansion to the North proved false. At least that’s what the company’s CEO said at one point… though he did say that after Verizon decided to buy out Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, the move that came with a hefty price tag.
Now we’re learning that Verizon was not the only contender with the idea to expand to Canada. As BNN is reporting, AT&T also considered entering the market earlier this year, either by acquiring WIND Mobile or Mobilicity, only to determine the market couldn’t support a fourth national player.
AT&T isn’t new to the Canadian market though. It actually had a large stake in the country in the early 2000’s, only to sell it to Rogers in 2004 for $1.8 billion.
As the market has grown and the rules have changed, they’ve considered getting back to the game. Alas, nothing has happened and AT&T now may be eyeing Europe for expansion.
Another company that mulled entering the market is Norway’s Telenor, which is one of the world’s largest mobile telecommunications companies with operations in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, including large presence in India where it’s a majority owner of Uninor. Telenor is already indirectly involved in Canadian market through its 33% stake in Dutch VimpelCom, the company that bought WIND’s parent Orascom in 2011.
Canada’s 33.5 million citizens are covered by Big 3 carriers — Rogers, TELUS and Bell — their affiliate operators (Koodo, Fido, Virgin Mobile), and few smaller rivals like Mobilicity, Videotron, SaskTel and WIND Mobile. Similarly sized markets in Europe are usually served by no more than 3 big operators and we tend to agree with AT&T’s line that there’s “not enough room for four players.” What do you think?