Despite having doused speculations in September that it would bail out two of the country’s struggling startup wireless carriers, Verizon Communications appears not to be ready yet to turn its back on Canada. The possibility of the American telecom giant expanding here surfaced once more when it was reported yesterday that it hired a lobbyist to me with Canadian federal officials.
An entry in the federal lobbyist registry indicates that Verizon hired Peter Burn of consultancy firm Dentons Canada LLP to discuss telecom policy with Industry Canada officials and the Prime Minister’s Office. The entry said Burn is allowed to write to or meet with members of the government and discuss the “telecommunications policy framework, including section 7 of the Telecommunications Act, subsection 5 (1) of the Radio communications Act and the policies and rules promulgated by Industry Canada therein.”
While Burn was hired on October 22, the registry entry was only made public yesterday, according to a report appearing on the web site of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The report said the registry entry listed a subsidiary called Verizon Canada with an address on Adelaide Street in Toronto.
Earlier this summer some executives of Verizon gave the impression that the company might be planning to launch a mobile service in Canada. Talks were ripe that the company was eyeing to buy up either Wind Mobile or Mobilicity.
This resulted in local incumbents BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp. to complain publicly that government policies around foreign ownership of telecom companies favoured Verizon.
By September Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon told Bloomberg News that his company was not expanding to Canada and that Verizon’s interest in the country was “way overblown.”
Verizon did now put down a deposit on the upcoming wireless spectrum where a new block of high quality 700 MHz spectrum is going up for sale next January.
Verizon eventually bought out its British partner Vodafone group for $13 billion.