Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mobilicity Still Needs a Buyer and Fate of Small Carrier Still to Be Decided

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mobilicity Still Needs a Buyer and Fate of Small Carrier Still to Be Decided

Article excerpt

Fate of Mobilicity still to be decided

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Financially-struggling wireless carrier Mobilicity said Wednesday it remains on the sale block, and has no plans to transfer its cellphone customers to rival Wind Mobile.

"The report that we are transferring our subscriber base to Wind is not true," said Mobilicity's chief restructuring officer Bill Aziz in a statement.

The National Post reported that unidentified industry sources say Mobilicity was going to shut down its money-losing operations by the end of September and that Toronto-based Wind Mobile would assume its 200,000 customers for little-to-no financial compensation.

The small wireless carrier has been seeking a buyer, or go into debt restructuring, since last spring after Ottawa blocked Telus from purchasing it in a $380-million deal. Earlier this week, U.S. telecom Verizon, which had been rumoured to be interested in Mobilicity, said it was not moving into Canada.

Wind Mobile chairman and CEO Anthony Lacavera wouldn't comment on the report, but said he's still interested in buying Mobilicity. He has been trying to acquire Mobilicity for months.

"New entrants clearly need to find a way to work together and we maintain our interest in a dialogue with Mobilicity about how we can most effectively combine," Lacavera said.

Both Mobilicity and Wind Mobile bought spectrum -- radio waves needed to make cellphone networks operate -- in 2008 in an auction designed to bring new players to a market dominated by Rogers (TSX:RCI.B), Telus (TSX:T) and Bell (TSX:BCE).

Wind Mobile launched in December 2009 and Mobilicity about six months later.

If merged, Wind and Mobilicity would have more than 800,000 cellphone customers scattered in major cities while the big three carriers will have a combined 25 million.

Lacavera has said that he wants to build Wind Mobile into Canada's fourth national carrier. Mobilicity and Wind Mobile's network coverage overlaps in major cities such as Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa. …

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