OTTAWA – Bell’s big purchase of Manitoba Telecom Services is going ahead, with a few conditions.
The Competition Bureau has come to an agreement with Bell, who can now continue with their $3.9-billion plans to buy MTS, with the new Bell MTS to launch March 17.
The bureau found that the proposed merger would result in the “removal of a strong regional competitor that was effective in constraining the pricing of Bell, Rogers and Telus products.”
It also found that taking MTS out of the market would result in “a substantial lessening or prevention of competition for retail wireless services in Manitoba,” which would likely increase prices.
As a result, Bell has to sell six retail stores and 24,700 subscribers to Xplornet, who already provides rural broadband internet in Manitoba and other provinces.
Bell also has to provide Xplornet with expedited access to their towers, certain roaming services and help with wireless phones for five years. This will allow Xplornet to enter the wireless game in Manitoba.
Bell has also committed to setting a third of MTS dealer locations to Telus as well as a ‘significant’ number of subscribers.
This was the final regulatory stamp of approval Bell needed to go ahead with the deal.