October 22, 2010 / 4:37 PM / 10 years ago

Mobilicity extends Canadian wireless footprint

TORONTO (Reuters) - Mobilicity, a recent entrant in Canada’s wireless sector, is stretching out from its Toronto base to launch networks in Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton in November, its chief executive said on Friday.

“We’re really busy these days,” Dave Dobbin, said in an interview. “We’re targeting Canadians who are looking for a better deal on their wireless.”

The privately held company aims to challenge Canada’s dominant telecom companies after buying spectrum in a 2008 government auction.

Mobilicity is banking on a no-contract, pay-in-advance unlimited-use model as it takes on the three heavyweight incumbents in the telecom sector: BCE’s Bell Canada, Rogers Communications and Telus.

“Canadians aren’t stupid, they can do the math. With us they pay C$65 ($63) for unlimited data, with Bell, Telus or Rogers they get screwed out of C$200,” he said.

Mobilicity launched a service in the Toronto area in May after paying C$243 million for spectrum in 2008.

Dobbin did not provide subscriber numbers. Fellow upstart Wind Mobile, which launched in December, said it reached 100,000 subscribers in July and is offering services in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

Mobilicity has licenses to operate in 13 of the 16 largest Canadian cities, covering roughly half the population, Dobbin said, and plans further launches within six months.

The federal government is considering ways to ease foreign ownership restrictions in telecoms to spark further competition, and Dobbin said he supports an option that would drop all limits for companies with less than 10 percent of the market but keep the rules in place for incumbents, who control roughly 95 percent.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Rob Wilson

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