Bell Mobility launches Western expansion

Bell Mobility announced yesterday that it is officially launching its Western expansion with a consumer marketing campaign in Alberta and British Columbia in a move that could mean more competitive pricing and service for consumers across Canada, suggested one analyst.

Iain Grant, with the Brockville, Ont.-based Yankee Group in Canada, said while Bell Mobility has had operations in Western Canada – using its chief competitor Burnaby B.C.-based Telus Mobility’s facilities – for some time, the new campaign could greatly benefit users nation-wide.

“It means more choice,” Grant said. “One presumes they’ll be competing based upon better service and price.”

Grant expects the competition for Canadian wireless subscribers should heat up as a result of Bell’s latest push with Bell, Telus, Rogers AT&T, and Fido (Microcell) all competing much more intensely.

At one time the wireless providers shared the same network, until Bell and Telus realized they were “no longer friends,” Grant said. However, as a concession, both parties agreed that customers would not receive a shock by having service discontinued, so Bell continued to use Telus’ network in the west and Telus used Bell’s in central and eastern Canada.

Over the past 18 months, Bell Mobility has announced its investing $180 million to expand its network into Alberta and British Columbia and established offices in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. When the network lights up early in 2002, it will be the first 3G-ready wireless network in Western Canada, Bell officials said. Now Bell plans to aggressively campaign in Western Canada with consumer campaigns consisting of television, radio, and print advertising as well as street promotions. As part of Bell Mobility’s national commitment, it will be adopted across the country, said Pierre Blouin, Bell Mobility’s president and CEO.

Bell has opened 12 Bell World stores in the West and is gaining tremendous momentum, Blouin added. Last week alone, four new Bell World locations opened their doors, he pointed out. Bell Mobility’s suite of wireless products and services is available through Bell World, Future Shop, Wireless Wave and Staples stores in Alberta and British Columbia.

Meanwhile Telus has been aggressive too. In January 2001 Telus completed a $6-billion acquisition of former competitor Clearnet giving Telus its own eastern and central Canada operation independent of Bell.

Bell Mobility can be reached at

The Yankee Group is at

Telus Mobility is at

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