Verizon is currently one of the top two carriers in the U.S., recently boasting 98.9 million retail connections and a 4G LTE network that's available in nearly 500 markets. Now a new report claims that Verizon Communications, parent company of Verizon Wireless, may be planning to try its hand at the Canadian wireless market as well.
Sources speaking to The Globe and Mail claim that Verizon has held early discussions with Canadian operator Wind Mobile about a possible acquisition. The tipsters explain that Verizon would like to purchase a smaller Canadian carrier like Wind Mobile and take part in the country's upcoming spectrum auction, grabbing up enough airwaves to help create a strong fourth operator to take on Bell, Telus and Rogers. “They [Verizon] are definitely taking a hard look right now,” one of the sources said.
The report goes on to say that while Wind Mobile is most attractive to Verizon, the company could also take over Mobilicity, which recently tried to sell itself to Telus but had its deal shot down by the Canadian government. The government has recently relaxed its restrictions on foreign ownership, though, which could help lead to a Verizon or some other carrier snatching up one of Canada's smaller operators. Along with Verizon, it's said that AT&T, Britain's Vodafone Group Plc and Norway's Telenor Group are all interested in investing in a Canadian carrier.
As I noted previously, Verizon is a large U.S. carrier with experience rolling out LTE service, two traits that'd likely help it to turn around one of Canada's struggling smaller carriers. Verizon also has past experience in the Canadian wireless industry, having been a major shareholder in Telus before selling its stock in the company in 2004. All of those attributes make Verizon an attractive investor that the Canadian government would likely be happy to have in their country if Verizon ultimately decides to pick up Wind or Mobilicity. Whether or not that will happen is still up in the air, but it's definitely interesting to hear that the top two U.S. carriers are thinking about extending their presence to the north.