Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Verizon no longer eyeing Canada

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TORONTO -- Verizon Communications Inc. is no longer interested in entering the Canadian wireless market, the company's CEO Lowell McAdam said Monday.

McAdam made the comments after the company announced it had agreed to pay US$130 billion for the 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless owned by British cellphone carrier Vodafone.

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"At this point in time we're not interested in entering the Canadian wireless market," McAdam said, according to Verizon spokesman Bob Varettoni.

Canada's wireless companies were quick to respond, saying Verizon's decision does not ease their concerns about wireless rules in this country.

Josh Blair, the executive vice-president of Telus (TSX:T) said he remains concerned about government policy on the spectrum -- the radio waves needed to make cellphone networks operate -- available to Canadian wireless carriers.

"This has never been about Verizon coming into Canada, or not, it's always been about fair access to spectrum," Blair said. "Spectrum is the lifeblood of our industry, and without fair access to it, that's going to potentially, permanently disadvantage Canadian companies," he said.

Bell Canada spokesman Mark Langton called it "significant news," but echoed Blair's concerns about regulations in Canada.

"The regulatory loopholes that give advantages to big foreign carriers remain and should be closed," he said. "Canadians have said they want competition, but only if it's fair competition."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 3, 2013 A16

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