PE-backed Xplornet to launch Mobile Wireless Service in Manitoba

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By Ted Liu

Xplornet Communications Inc., a portfolio company of Sandler Capital, McKenna Gale Capital, Werlund Capital, is launching a competing mobile wireless business in Manitoba.

As part of consent agreement between BCE/Bell (TSX/NYSE: BCE), The Competition Bureau, and Xplornet related to Bell’s acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services (TSX: MTS), Bell must sell six retail stores, 24,700 subscribers and 40 MHz of spectrum to Xplornet. Xplornet will establish itself as a new entrant in the Manitoba mobile wireless services market. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Bell will also provide Xplornet with key services including expedited access to Bell’s towers in Manitoba for five years, temporary access to a mobile wireless network in a specified territory in Manitoba for three years, support for wireless handset procurement for five years and certain negotiated mobile wireless roaming services for five years. In addition, postpaid Bell Mobility customers in Manitoba who are under contract at the time of the consent agreement will be able to switch to Xplornet without penalty.

As of its MTS acquisition, Bell will also sell a significant number of its MTS subscribers and approximately one-third of its MTS dealer locations to TELUS (TSX: T; NYSE: TU).

Following the approval by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the Competition Bureau, Bell-MTS transaction, valued at approximately $3.9 billion, is set to close on March 17, 2017.

photo credit: Rodion Kutsaev via unsplash