Canadian cellco Wind Mobile is assessing the value of Mobilicity’s assets, after its smaller 3G mobile rival won court approval last month to put itself up for auction. Potential buyers for all or part of Mobilicity’s business were given until 2 December to register interest and 9 December to submit bids, after the federal government disallowed for a second time a proposed takeover of Mobilicity by nationwide operator Telus. Wind, which has previously conducted due diligence on Mobilicity, was among the interested parties to come forward, its CEO Tony Lacavera confirmed yesterday, expressing keenness to analyse the financially struggling company’s assets, including its 1700MHz/2100MHz (AWS) frequencies. In a telephone interview quoted by Bloomberg, Lacavera admitted: ‘Wind certainly needs more spectrum to compete long-term; we want to roll out LTE … Mobilicity has spectrum.’ TeleGeography reports that debt-stricken Mobilicity is steadily losing customers, with around 189,000 remaining at the end of September 2013 according to recent court filings, down from 236,000 at the start of the year, whereas Wind’s customer base grew from 590,000 to 636,000 in the same nine-month period. Mobilicity’s court-sanctioned creditor protection expires on 20 December. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that the two rivals were awarded their spectrum licences in Q1 2009, with Mobilicity paying CAD243 million (USD229 million) for AWS 3G/4G frequencies covering ten of Canada’s largest urban areas with a combined population of 16.1 million, while Wind – currently part of the Vimpelcom Group – bought 30 regional concessions for CAD442 million giving it an extensive licensed footprint in all Canadian provinces except Quebec. Mobilicity’s 3G network currently covers Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa, but its rollout has ceased, whereas Wind’s actively expanding network covers these five major cities plus at least 17 other key markets and approximately 14 million people.
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