article-aa

On Mirko Bibic’s first day as head of Canada’s biggest telecom, he described Huawei as a “great partner.” He also asked for “clarity” from the federal government on whether or not Huawei will be banned from the country’s 5G networks. (Bloomberg)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The Liberals have repeatedly said a decision on Huawei will not be a political one. However, Bibic’s appeal comes as the government faces growing pressure from the Conservatives and the U.S. to ban the Chinese firm. Washington is pushing countries around the world to restrict the company, which it says is a national security risk, but China is threatening trade action if bans are imposed. Australia and the U.S. have imposed restrictions on the company and Germany and the U.K. are mulling bans. Bell and Telus, which both use Huawei equipment extensively in their networks, could face at least $1 billion in costs if they’re ordered to remove Huawei’s material.

article-aa

Pending shareholder and regulatory approval, the two companies have agreed to a US$2.6-billion deal, including debt, that will see Cincinnati Bell shareholders receive US$10.50 per share. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: This latest purchase expands Brookfield’s presence in the global telecoms market. In July, its parent company, Brookfield Asset Management, was part of a consortium that spent US$2.3 billion to buy Vodafone’s telecoms in New Zealand. In October, it acquired a minority stake in Brazilian telecom Oi. And last week, Brookfield Infrastructure bought a 93 per cent stake in the U.K.-based Wireless Infrastructure Group for US$506 million, and purchased a telecom tower company in India from Reliance Jio for US$3.7 billion. It touted many of those deals in its third-quarter conference call with investors, which noted that it made $36 million in its data infrastructure funds from operations, almost double the amount earned in the year previous.

article-aa

Cable Amos, which operates a television and internet network, currently serves 23 Quebec municipalities. The deal is subject to federal government approval; Montreal-based Videotron expects it to close in the spring of 2020. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: This is the latest move in an escalating fight between Bell and Videotron for market share in Quebec. Last week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ordered Bell to provide its rival with access to its network in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Que. at reasonable prices. Today’s announcement also focuses on the market potential of the region, which has almost 150,000 people. “We’re serious about establishing ourselves in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, as the transaction we are announcing today shows,” said Videotron CEO Jean-François Pruneau today. The battle for market share is a small part of a bigger fight raging between two of Canada’s largest media companies: Bell and Quebecor, which owns Videotron. Last week, the CRTC sided with Videotron in an unrelated dispute. Earlier this year, the two firms got in a protracted fight over the licence fees for each other’s sports channels.

article-aa

The bureau is calling for a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) policy that would require the Big Three to sell access to regional carriers like Freedom Mobile and Vidéotron, as part of a 51-page submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The sale requirement would be temporary and contingent on regional carriers expanding their own networks. The bureau is also calling for a reduction in roaming rates, and tower-sharing and site-access rules that would benefit smaller carriers. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The most significant ask from the bureau was echoed in the platform of the recently re-elected Liberal Party. Both want MVNOs to become a bigger part of Canada’s wireless landscape. There’s another powerful group pushing for the same thing: in July, my colleague Murad broke the news that Google was asking Ottawa to make it easier to expand MVNOs in Canada. The company already runs one, Google Fi, in the United States. Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw have all opposed widespread MVNO rollouts in their own recent submissions to the CRTC; the telecoms will now have until March 23, 2020 to submit to the CRTC again and challenge the Competition Bureau’s proposed regulatory framework. During the election campaign, the Liberals said they wanted to work with telecoms for two years and then step in if prices don’t go down enough. The bureau is offering the Liberals a path forward for how to do the latter.

article-aa

In a formal petition to the prime minister’s cabinet on Wednesday, Bell claimed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)’s August ruling—which reduced the rates small internet providers must pay large ones like Bell by 15 to 43 per cent—has lowered wholesale broadband rates below the cost of service, disincentivizing investment in new products in the country. The company referenced Encana’s recent decision to move its headquarters to the U.S. amid an “already difficult” investment environment in the country. (Bloomberg)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: Bell and other telecom heavyweights have argued that the new rates erode their resources to expand services in rural communities—which the government has made a priority—as smaller providers could eat into their market share. Bell said it would scale back its rural broadband initiative by 20 per cent in light of the CRTC decision, though the regulator said in its ruling that the company didn’t provide enough evidence to support its cost projections under the new pay structure. Still, the Federal Court of Appeal issued a temporary stay of the rulings for Bell and five other large telecoms in September.

article-aa

The telecom giant, which already streams HBO content on Crave, signed an exclusive agreement with Warner Bros. to start streaming HBO Max content in Canada in 2020. It will include original shows like “Green Lantern,” a reboot of “Gossip Girl” and a series inspired by the Dune science-fiction novels. However, the deal excludes films by Studio Ghibli, which will feature in the U.S. launch of the new channel. (The Logic, Globe and Mail)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: This deal means HBO Max won’t launch as a standalone service in Canada, and sharpens Crave’s competitive edge in the increasingly crowded streaming market. Its basic monthly pricing starts at $9.99, but to access the platform’s full library of HBO shows and movies—including the incoming content from HBO Max—subscribers will have to pay $19.98. Though Crave said it won’t increase its prices because of the new deal, at its top tier—priced at $25.99—it remains one of the most expensive major streaming options in the country, costing more than Netflix, which tops out at $16.99; Amazon Prime at $7.99; Disney Plus at $8.99; and Apple TV Plus at $5.99. The last two services are set to launch in November.

article-aa

The Quebec telecom said that since it announced plans to focus on the province’s Abitibi-Témiscamingue region in July, Bell has been doing “everything in its power to block competition.” Bell declined to comment. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: This is a small part of a larger war that’s been raging for months between Bell and Vidéotron’s parent firm, Quebecor. In April, Quebecor briefly cut off Bell subscribers’ access to its TVA Sports channel as part of a fight over royalty fees. In July, Bell purchased French-language streaming service Noovo.ca, prompting Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau to accuse Bell of trying to become a monopoly. The repeated claim that Bell either is, or is seeking to become, a monopoly comes as the Competition Bureau is looking for anti-competitive moves to investigate. In July, the bureau said it would focus on telecom and digital economy competition over the coming year. Quebecor has had some success raising concerns with other federal agencies about Bell; in September, the CRTC ordered Bell could not cut off Vidéotron customers’ roaming service.