TORONTO -(Dow Jones)- Rogers Communications Inc. (RG) and Bell Canada have agreed to build and manage a Canada-wide wireless broadband network and will jointly and equally fund the initial network deployment costs, estimated at C$200 million over a three-year period.
In a news release, the companies said they will pool their wireless broadband spectrum holdings into a joint venture, Inukshuk Internet Inc., which will build and operate the network.
They said that Inukshuk will be the network services provider to Rogers and Bell and their units, and will operate on a cost recovery basis. The arrangement will allow the companies to minimize costs and maximize wireless broadband network coverage by pooling their spectrum holdings and leveraging both companies' existing wireless tower and network transport infrastructures, they said.
Inukshuk will be owned and controlled equally by Rogers and Bell and will plan, design, build, operate and maintain a Canada-wide wireless broadband telecommunications network. Bell and Rogers will each have the right to use 50% of the network's total transmission capacity. Sales, marketing, end-user customer care and billing functions will be provided directly by Rogers and Bell to their respective customers, they said.
They said that Inukshuk expects to negotiate a roaming agreement with Clearwire Corp. (CWIRE.XX), a U.S.-based company building a similar wireless broadband network, allowing Rogers and Bell to offer customers access to an extensive Canada-U.S. wireless broadband footprint.
They said Inukshuk plans to continue to use network equipment manufactured by NextNet, a unit of Clearwire.
They said that separately, Bell has reached an agreement with companies controlled directly or indirectly by Craig McCaw under which Bell will acquire the remaining 50% of NR Communications that it doesn't already own. NR Communications and a unit of Rogers are the two partners in the current Inukshuk joint venture, which holds about 98 MHz of wireless broadband spectrum in the 2.5 GHz frequency range across much of Canada.
Rogers controls and will contribute to the joint venture its entire broadband wireless spectrum in the 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz frequency ranges. Bell controls and will contribute to the joint venture all of its broadband wireless spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz frequency ranges, they added.
Rogers is a communications and media company.
Bell Canada, a unit of BCE Inc. (BCE), is a communications company.
Company Web Sites: http://www.rogers.com and http://www.bell.ca
-Tara Zachariah, Dow Jones Newswires; 416-306-2100
(END) Dow Jones Newswires"
|Previous Story||Next Story|