Telus to buy Public Mobile

Telus got the OK from Ottawa Wednesday to buy struggling wireless provider Public Mobile, a primarily talk-and-text service with 280,000 customers in Ont. and Que.

Terms not disclosed in purchase of talk-and-text spectrum licence

Scott Peterson explains what is known about the deal 2:21

Telus has received approval from Ottawa to acquire struggling wireless provider Public Mobile, a primarily talk-and-text service with 280,000 customers in Ontario and Quebec.

Federal Industry Minister James Moore says he has approved the transfer of Public Mobile's spectrum licence to Vancouver-based Telus and says the transaction doesn't affect competition in the wireless industry.

Moore says Public Mobile's spectrum – radio waves needed to operate cellphone networks – isn't used for the latest smartphones and data plans.

"This means Canadians will continue to benefit from quality spectrum being deployed across the country, resulting in dependable high-speed wireless services with the latest technologies at the best prices,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday.

Public Mobile bought its spectrum in 2008 and it was never under any restrictions preventing it from being sold — unlike new mobile players Wind Mobile and Mobilicity which bought a different kind of spectrum the government doesn't want sold to wireless incumbents Rogers, Bell or Telus.

Telus tried to buy struggling Mobilicity last spring, but the $380-million deal was rejected by Industry Canada.

Financial terms of the deal with Public Mobile, which launched in 2009, have not been disclosed.

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