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Telecom news roundup: the season of acquisitions [Jan. 28-Feb. 4]

Bell quietly acquired Distributel in December

Rogers’ takeover of Shaw has dominated telecom headlines for the last two years. While it is the largest telecom acquisition in Canadian history, it’s not the only recent one. Bell has quietly acquired Distributel and Telus has also reportedly taken over two independent providers.

For more information, here’s a recap of some of the biggest telecom stories in Canada this week.

Business

Rogers, Shaw, and QuĂ©becor have extended the deadline to close their associated acquisitions to February 17th. The parties are still waiting for Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne to approve the transfer of Shaw’s wireless licenses to VidĂ©otron. Rogers and Shaw previously set their voluntary deadline as January 31st. But the Minister has stated he’s in no hurry to provide approval and wants Rogers and QuĂ©becor to commit to wireless affordability.

As the new chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Vicky Eatrides wants to waste no time revamping wholesale internet pricing. In an interview with MobileSyrup, she promised a new model is coming soon.

SaskTel continues to roll out its 5G network, which is now available in Lumsden and other communities.

The Saskatchewan telecom company also partnered with Stafford Communications to increase broadband access in rural areas in the province.

Bell and Staples have entered an exclusive partnership. The office supply store will set up in-store kiosks to sell Bell, Virgin Plus, and Lucky Mobile services. The kiosks will come in the spring.

The CRTC has a new Ontario commissioner. Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez has elected Bram Abramson to the position.

Bell Aliant says a software update led to a 911 landline outage in the Atlantic provinces. The problem occurred in the early hours of January 31st and impacted residents in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. The outage lasted two and a half hours and resulted from a 10-digit dialling change in New Brunswick.

Bell announced its plans to acquire Distributel in September 2022, only to quietly complete the transaction months later. Bell didn’t share any details of the regulatory approval process or how much the transaction was worth.

Rogers released its last quarterly report for 2022, showing it added 193,000 wireless post paid customers. The telecom company also increased its profits by 25 percent.

Telus has grown its banner by quietly adding internet service providers Start.ca and Altima to its business profile.

Deals

Samsung has revealed its new Galaxy S23 lineup and devices will be available in Canada starting February 17th. New releases are always expensive, but Samsung is offering more than $800 in savings through trade-ins. More details are available here.

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