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Montreal-based BCE proclaimed its $3.9-billion purchase of MTS as a win for the consumer, promising to boost infrastructure over the next five years — and data show the province needs it.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/05/2016 (2463 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Montreal-based BCE proclaimed its $3.9-billion purchase of MTS as a win for the consumer, promising to boost infrastructure over the next five years — and data show the province needs it.

Average download speeds in the province are some of the slowest in the country, according to an April 2016 report by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

The same report reveals the province has some of the slowest rural Internet speeds in the country, falling short of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s 2015 target of five megabytes per second for everyone in Canada.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES MTS CEO Jay Forbes (left) with BCE CEO George Cope. Cope says the purchase of MTS will take the Manitoba company’s product ‘to another level.’

“BCE’s commitment to invest $1 billion over five years into Manitoba’s telecommunications infrastructure will also contribute greatly to the prosperity of our province and the quality of our customer experience,” said Jay Forbes, MTS president and CEO.

But not all the low numbers are bad. The average price we pay for bundled service is well below the national average.

But those low prices were likely not sustainable, says Gerry Wall of Wall Communications. MTS could not go forward and spend the money it needed to with the prices it is charging. “It would be crazy from a customer-relations front to jack prices up immediately,” he said.

“But do you expect Manitoba mobile prices will go up to match the national price level, or are the national prices going to come down to meet Manitoba?”

The agreement announced Monday would add Manitoba’s largest phone, Internet and wireless company to BCE’s business, which includes the CTV television network, the former CHUM and Astral radio chains and Bell Canada.

Sources: CIRA, Wall Communication, IEDM, CRTC

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