As part of the government approval process, BCE agreed to divest wireless airwaves and subscribers to Xplornet Communications Inc., enabling the rural Internet provider to start selling mobile services in Manitoba. It will be Xplornet’s first foray into the cellular business and the company will control only a small chunk of the market in the province – with 24,900 subscribers and six retail stores – but that was enough for federal authorities to bless the deal.
Founded in New Brunswick and now headquartered in Markham, Ont., Xplornet is growing fast and recently committed about $500-million to new satellite technology. But the privately held company isn’t Shaw Communications Inc., the legacy cable provider that many analysts expected to play the role of fourth player as part of the deal’s approval.
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