Canadians Talking Tech

More disappointment for mobile telecom in Canada: Bell now owns all of Virgin Mobile

by Noah Bloom Posted in Canada, Mobile

Just when you thought things were getting exciting in Canada with more MVNOs, Bell Canada goes and buys the remaining stake it didn’t own in Virgin Mobile Canada. And the CWTA, for some incomprehensible reason, lets them. In their statement, Bell said that their mobile outfit Bell Mobility has bought the remaining 50% of Virgin Mobile Canada that it didn’t already own for $142M CAD ($122M USD).

Bell Canada acquires Virgin Canada, from Engadget

Image from Engadget

And if you’re wondering what that acronym (MVNO) in the previous paragraph stands for, it’s Mobile Virtual Network Operator. But if you are a mobile consumer in Canada, you might not even know what that is. You see, in most other countries (about 360), there are companies (about 400) that offer mobile services to their customers without actually owning cell towers and expensive networks! You ask, how’s that possible? These companies piggy-back on the big networks, but can still offer some sort of differentiated service or customer experience. Sounds great! And it still brings competition to a market, which means: new services, faster networks, and cheaper prices.

The preeminent global MVNO is Virgin. They’ve got lots of subscribers in the UK, USA, Australia, etc. There’s also Tracfone, Blyk, etc.

Well, back to Canada. MVNOs were great to bring some competition to the otherwise monopolistic market. Companies came along, even if many like Solo and Amp’d were cloaked as arms of the big guys, but now we’re watching them disappear. Bad bad CWTA. Letting the competition get eaten up by the big dogs is not good for Canadian consumers. NOT GOOD!

So here’s to the winners of the recent spectrum auction (Globalive, Quebecor/Videotron, Shaw) in Canada to bring potentially some fire into our market!

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