MTS gives thumbs-up to telco foreign ownership reforms

2012-03-14 19:56 ET - News Release


Mr. Pierre Blouin reports


Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., including its two operating divisions MTS and Allstream, is welcoming the federal government's decision to support innovation in Canada's telecommunications sector and loosen restrictions on investment. Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis made the announcement this afternoon at a news conference in Russell, Ont.

"This is a positive development for MTS Allstream and for Canadians and Canadian businesses," said Pierre Blouin, chief executive officer, MTS Allstream. "This announcement means more investment, better prices and more choice for Canadians. The federal government should be congratulated for its focus on strengthening the Canadian economy and its support for more investment in Canada's telecommunications sector."

Under current Canadian law, foreign investors are prohibited from directly owning more than 20 per cent of a Canadian telecommunications business, limiting domestic companies' access to capital and partnerships. Once the legislative amendments necessary to give effect to the minister's announcement today have been passed, competitive providers which have 10-per-cent-or-less market share in Canada's telecommunications market will be open to increased foreign investment. Investment restrictions remain applicable to telecommunications carriers that are also broadcast distributors, such as MTS in Manitoba.

"For MTS Allstream this announcement means greater access to capital and the potential to open up valuable new opportunities, particularly for Allstream. The removal of these restrictions will allow Canada to assume its place as a destination for investment and opportunity in the digital economy, " Mr. Blouin noted.

Mr. Blouin also commented on the wireless auction policy announced by the minister.

"While we will need to review the spectrum cap approach adopted by the minister, we understand that the government is endeavouring to strike the appropriate balance of enabling greater competition in the marketplace to the benefit of consumers while also pursuing the important goal of greater deployment of wireless broadband services to rural areas," he added.

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