Vidéotron ready to step up as 4th wireless carrier
CEO Pierre Dion declares intention to roll out low-cost wireless across Canada
Quebecor President and CEO Pierre Dion said his company is prepared to become Canada’s fourth carrier, rolling out new low-cost wireless service across the country.
“Our vision is to provide Canadians with a new high quality, low-cost wireless choice and real wireless competition,” Dion said in a keynote speech to The 2014 Canadian Telecom Summit.
“We aim to deliver real low-cost wireless plans for consumers, real wireless competition, and a real new offering in the Canadian marketplace. Under the right conditions, we are ready, willing and able to become Canada’s “fourth wireless competitor.”
Quebecor outlined plans for expansion to its annual shareholders meeting in Montreal on Thursday, where former prime minister Brian Mulroney is to take up his post as chairman.
Quebecor’s Vidéotron wireless unit scored wireless licences in the 700 megahertz spectrum in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta in a spectrum auction earlier this year.
Already experienced in the Quebec market, where it has 500,000 customers, it now plans major investments in an expanded network and consolidation with willing partners.
Dion's statement about "willing partners" raises the idea of partnerships with other struggling wireless entrants, such as Mobilicity and Wind. Dion said he would consider combining forces with the small carriers.
Dion said he plans to build the business by offering ” Canadians outside Quebec the country’s best low-cost subscriber plans.” He called for federal action on roaming rates to get costs down, saying that is the key to Vidéotron's expansion outside Quebec..
“With a fair, competitive and level playing field on roaming, the stage will be set for a new era of consumer choice in Canada. It will benefit consumers, small businesses, and the economy at large,” he said. “It will be the dawn of a new sustainable and viable low-cost wireless service.”
Quebecor, based in Quebec, owns TVA, Sun Media, Canoe.ca and Nurun Inc. as well as Vidéotron.