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Verizon Confirms Interest in Bidding for Canada's Wind Mobile

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USA's Verizon Communications has confirmed that it is mulling a bid to buy Canada's Wind Mobile in a move that would mark its entry into the Canadian market.

Wind Mobile is "one of many" options under consideration, Bob Varettoni, a spokesman for Verizon, told Bloomberg News in an e-mail. "We constantly evaluate a wide variety of business opportunities."

The comments follow on from suggestions by Verizon's Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo suggesting an acquisition might be possible.

Wind Mobile is currently subject to an agreed takeover bid from minority shareholder, Russia's VimpelCom, although that is facing regulatory delays due to local concerns about a Russian owner taking control of the company.

The Canadian government is however keen to boost competition in the mobile market, which is dominated by three incumbent operators. Supporting a bid for one of the smaller networks by a company with deep pockets to fund expansion would fit in with that agenda.

Verizon would have to invest heavily though -- especially in bidding for radio spectrum in the forthcoming auction in order to secure access to nationwide coverage.

Wind Mobile ended last year with around 600,000 customers, although it hasn't updated its subscriber figures since then.

On the web: Bloomberg News

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Tags: verizon communications  wind mobile  Canada