Recent chatter had it looking like Verizon was moving forward with plans to expand into Canada. But while that may have been the case last week, it seems that is no longer the plan. The details come by way of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam who has said rather clearly that “Verizon is not going to Canada.”
While the initial thought here would be to put some blame on the recent Vodafone deal, that is not why Verizon has decided not to venture north into Canada. In fact, further comments from McAdam touched on that very subject.
“It has nothing to do with the Vodafone deal, it has to do with our view of what kind of value we could get for shareholders. If we thought it had great value creation we would do it.”
Anyway, had Verizon gone into Canada that may have lead to some changes with the other carriers. Of course, there is always the could have/should have bit. Ultimately though, what this means at the moment is that there is now one less company participating in the 700MHz spectrum auction that will take place in January.
That auction will now include Rogers, Telus and BCE and according to the rules, each of those carriers will be able to bid on just one of four available blocks of spectrum. The interesting twist here, had Verizon moved into Canada and participated in the auction, they would have been able to bid on two blocks.
That all being said, the Canadian carriers seem to be more interested in fair and equal access to the spectrum. A rep from Telus has said it was never about Verizon coming to Canada, but more about “fair access to spectrum.” There was also similar comments from BCE who called the Verizon news “significant” and touched on how the “regulatory loopholes that give advantages to big foreign carriers remain and should be closed.”
Of course, perhaps the bit that sums this up the best came from Lowell McAdam who said speculation about Verizon Wireless moving into Canada was “way overblown” and that the press made “much more of our interest in Canada than there was inside our company.”