The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bell weeks away from announcing list of communities to get wireless spectrum

  • Print

MONTREAL - Bell Canada will announce details in the coming weeks about a nearly two-year rollout that will bring new wireless service to hundreds of rural and remote Canadian markets.

"We've already begun to roll out, but we're actually going to announce over the coming month or so all the different markets...right across the country," CEO George Cope said Monday._

When completed by the end of 2015, almost 97 per cent of Canadians will have access to wireless spectrum, providing deeper broadband access than many countries in the world despite Canada's vast size and geographic challenges.

Bell parent company BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) spent $565.7 million for 31 licences as part of the record $5.27 billion that was raised by the federal government from an auction of 700 megahertz spectrum.

During a speech to the Canadian Club of Montreal, Cope said BCE has invested $16 billion over the last five years and plans to invest an additional $17.5 billion in the coming half-decade to improve its network, including bringing fibre connections straight to people's homes.

"I think outside maybe some of the oilsands companies in Alberta we (will have) the largest capital expenditure program over the next number of years in Canada — all of this focusing on meeting business and consumers' incredible demand for broadband wireless and wireline services."

He said BCE is a totally different company than it used to be, with less than seven per cent of revenues coming from traditional telephone service. Wireless accounts for one third of revenues, followed by the Internet at 25 per cent, while television brings in about 12 per cent.

Growth in the Canadian wireless industry has been slowed by the elimination of three-year contracts, which increased payments for handsets by dividing prices over a shorter time frame. However, Cope said he's "extremely bullish" on the wireless industry because revenues still grew four to five per cent and new LTE technology will only accelerate future expansion.

He said Bell is taking market share from cable companies with more than 2.5 million TV customers. Its sights are now set on overtaking Shaw as the largest TV services provider in about a year.

Cope told the business audience that Canada's wireless industry compares favourably against the world with deep investments, leading networks, competitive prices and faster speeds, adding that it is now tackling high roaming charges.

Meanwhile, Cope said neither Quebec rival Videotron, nor foreign competitors should get any special treatment or financial support to set up national wireless networks.

"If Verizon or AT&T wants to come to Canada, come. Bell is happy to compete with them but they have to compete on a level playing field," he said, adding that Quebecor's doesn't need any special treatment from Ottawa to compete either.

"I see no reason why Videotron needs any more support than Rogers, Telus or Bell. They're a large, capable, excellent company who needs no help from the Canadian government, just like the rest of us don't."

Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Cheap summer weekends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.
  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should confessions extracted through Mr. Big police stings be admissible in court?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google