Feb 15 Canada's business competition watchdog
asked BCE Inc to sell six retail stores, some
subscribers and telecom spectrum to gain approval of its deal to
buy Manitoba Telecom Services.
BCE, Canada's largest telecom and media company, said last
May it would buy Manitoba Telecom for about C$3.1 billion ($2.5
billion) to expand its services in the western Canadian
Under the terms of the deal, BCE which operates as Bell
Canada, must sell 24,700 subscribers and 40 megahertz of
spectrum to privately held Xplornet Communications Inc.
BCE said in May it would divest one-third of MTS's postpaid
wireless subscribers to Telus Corp after the close of the
deal to allay regulatory concerns and reduce acquisition costs.
The investigation found that the deal would remove "a strong
regional competitor" that was effective in controlling the
pricing of Bell, Rogers Communications Inc and TELUS
Lesser competition in wireless services providers would
likely lead to higher prices and fewer options for Manitobans.
"Any future potential mergers by Canada's three largest
mobile wireless providers, Bell, Rogers and TELUS, can expect to
receive a close examination by the Bureau," the regulator said.
The Competition Bureau said the divestiture to Xplornet
would set up a new entrant in the Manitoba mobile wireless
Xplornet provides broadband internet through fixed wireless
and satellite networks throughout Canada, including rural
(Reporting by Vishaka George in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina