Canada has been a relative
afterthought in the international telecom infrastructure market. It has
not witnessed the explosive growth in wireless that Central and South America
have experienced as of late. Canada has not received the attention of
emerging market players the way that India and some portions of Africa and the
Middle East have. For decades, our Neighbors to the North have enjoyed a
relatively stable market for the biggest driver of growth in the telecom siting
business – broadband providers. The Big 3 (Rogers, Telus & Bell) have
seen potential competitors come and go, but none has yet threatened their
stranglehold on the market for broadband wireless. Is that all about to
Industry Canada (the FCC’s
Canadian counterpart) has expressed an interest in auctioning off new spectrum
allocations to new market entrants and upstarts, and limiting the potential for
further spectrum consolidation among the Big 3 (which is more like the Big 2.5 with
Telus and Bell collaborating as much as competing). Being debated right
now for the upcoming 700 MHz auction are spectrum caps for incumbent carriers
and substantial rural build-out requirements exceeding those imposed by the FCC
(90% pop coverage within 5 years, and 97% within 7!).
This is all music to
Verizon’s ears. They have reportedly been in talks to acquire Wind Mobile
and/or Mobility. Verizon’s CFO hasn’t announced any plans, but has been
making encouraging statements about contiguous spectrum positions and adjacent
market economies of scale. That has to be a frightening prospect for
those currently sitting comfortably atop the market. Indeed, the opening
salvos in this cross-border skirmish have already been fired (see Open Letter from Bell
Canada, and recent protestations from certain Canadian unions).
Interesting that the same 700 MHz auction restrictions that Verizon is fighting
in the US might just help it break into the Canadian market.
If Industry Canada and the
pro-competition crowd have their way, the next big international growth market
for wireless infrastructure will be hosted by our hockey-loving friends up
north. InSight’s early entry into the Canadian tower market is looking
better by the day; will we see more US investment moving in that direction?
The attorneys in the Shulman
Rogers Tower Group have successfully represented tower owners in all manner of
business transactions, including the sale of assets. We know the market,
and what it takes to maximize the return on your investment. When you
sign up for brokerage service, we will: help
to get all of your documents in order, provide an analysis of your assets given
current market conditions, identify potential buyers, negotiate the best price
and terms available, and assist with any post-closing issues which may
arise. Whether it’s time to raise capital for additional site development
or cash-out, let the professionals at Shulman Rogers help you get the most out
of your sites.
The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact a member of the Shulman Rogers Tower Group or the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work.
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