Business

Rogers to shutter Mobilicity, move customers to Chatr

Almost a year after buying it for $465 million, Rogers will pull the plug on Mobilicity and move all of the discount wireless company's 154,000 customers to its own discount brand, Chatr.
Rogers bought Mobilicity in a $465 million deal last year, but so far has done little to the brand except for moving the network on to its own spectrum. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Almost a year after buying it for $465 million, Rogers will pull the plug on Mobilicity and move all of the discount wireless company's 154,000 customers to its own discount brand, Chatr.

This switch will be made later this summer, and Mobilicity says customers don't need to do anything for now. Mobilicity doesn't ask its customers to sign up for binding contracts, so customers are free to leave at any time. But if they do nothing, they will be moved over to become Chatr customers soon.

Created during the 2008 spectrum auction along with Wind Mobile and Public Mobile, Mobilicity serves customers in British Columbia, Alberta and Southern Ontario.

But much like other wireless upstarts, Mobilicity's network ran on inferior, sometimes spotty spectrum packets that gave customers slower, less reliable wireless coverage. But the price was right for more than 100,000 users, since Mobilicity offered prepaid unlimited plans for a fraction of the cost offered by the so-called Big Three.

Wireless spectrum FAQ

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Ever wonder what wireless spectrum is, and why the government auctions it off from time to time? Then check out this, our helpful explainer

The path to Tuesday's announcement started last summer, when Rogers paid $465 million for Mobilicity's customer base, spectrum and retail network, after the smaller company had twice been rebuffed by regulators when Telus tried to do the same thing.

Wind Mobile has since met a similar fate, being bought out by Shaw in a $1.6 billion deal that was finalized earlier this year.

Rogers ported Mobilicity customers on to its network shortly after the deal, although it was still run as an independent entity.

That will soon change, as Rogers will stop new sign-ups to Mobilicity in the near future. Existing customers will be given a range of new plans and pricing options to pick from — although the company was short on details in a FAQ to customers on Tuesday.

"Keep using your current plan and we will keep you up-to-date in the coming months as we get closer," the company said.

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