July 9, 2020

Winnipeg
20° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Higher rates maybe, better service definitely: Bell's pitch to Manitobans

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>The MTS Building at 333 Main Street. </p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The MTS Building at 333 Main Street.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/5/2016 (1511 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MORRIS, Man. - BCE Inc. and the Manitoba government would not rule out higher cell phone and broadband Internet prices Friday if the company's plan to purchase Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. is approved by regulators.

But one certainty, they promised, is faster, more reliable coverage across the province.

"I think it's way too early to speculate on (price changes). What I know with certainty is that quality will go up," said BCE group president Wade Oosterman.

Premier Brian Pallister noted "you get what you pay for."

"We've had cheaper, limited services. Now we get better service," he said.

Montreal-based BCE Inc. (TSX: BCE) announced earlier this month a friendly deal, valued at $3.9 billion, to have Bell buy Manitoba Telecom Services, or MTS. The move would leave Manitoba with one less cellular and Internet provider.

The deal requires approval from regulators including the federal government and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. As part of the deal, Bell is promising to spend $1 billion on improvements over five years.

Oosterman, Pallister and others were on hand Friday to announce the first of those planned improvements — three cell towers to fill in dead zones along highway 75, the major link between Winnipeg and the United States border.

Pallister said he is hopeful the Bell-MTS deal will lead to filling in other dead zones in the province, such as the Vita area in the southeast, where municipal and emergency officials have long complained about a lack of communication infrastructure.

"I would make the case on the basis of public safety that we need to continue to expand our access to cell coverage around the province," Pallister said.

The government is willing to consider putting money on the table to make that happen, he added.

Oosterman would not specify what other parts of the province might see improvements but said, generally, some areas that are out of service range now will be brought in.

The opposition New Democrats in Manitoba said the Bell-MTS deal will be bad news for consumers.

"In jurisdictions with less competition — such as Toronto — cell phone rates are almost double the cost as in Manitoba," Maloway said in a written statement.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

LTE coverage (2014)

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Friday, May 20, 2016 at 12:14 PM CDT: Adds photo, related items

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

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

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

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

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us