A blockbuster telecom deal will see Manitoba’s MTS sold to Bell.
It’s a monster deal worth $3.9-billion.
The deal was announced early Monday morning. There is no word yet on how it will directly affect your service or your MTS bill.
MTS President and CEO Jay Forbes tells 680 CJOB that it was BCE that recently approached them with the offer.
“We took this proposition, analyzed it, and just yesterday met as a board and decided to recommend this to our shareholders, hence today’s announcement.”
Telecom expert Mark Goldberg believes service should get better for customers, at least in theory.
“What I think we’re going to see is significant investment in upgrading the facilities that the people of Manitoba have. MTS has been under a lot of cash pressure,” he said.
Bell is promising better smartphone service outside the city and Forbes says the deal will also mean faster internet services.
“Including gigabit five internet, which is about 20 times faster than that which is currently offered in the marketplace, and an expansion of our mobile data services, our LTE network.”
We do know that the MTS head office here in Winnipeg will become Bell’s Western Canada headquarters. The company will be known as Bell MTS in Manitoba, though Forbes says the MTS Centre will keep its name as is.
When it comes to jobs in Manitoba, UNIFOR’s Paul McKie is worried about past trends repeating.
“The history of telecom takeovers around the world is once they buy them, they consolidate their operations. We would like to hear assurances from Bell and MTS that the jobs are going to stay in Manitoba.”
The deal is expected to close at the end of this year, or early next year. There is a litany of red tape and paperwork that needs to be done first.
Bell says it will also divest one-third of MTS’s postpaid wireless subscribers to Telus.