Verizon not entering Canada's wireless market

The head of Verizon Communications Inc. says the U.S. company is not planning to enter the Canadian wireless telecom market.

"Verizon is not going to Canada," company CEO Lowell McAdam said in an interview with the Bloomberg news service.

McAdam said speculation that his company was about to wade into the Canadian market was “way overblown."

He made the comments following the announcement of a deal that will see Verizon pay $130 billion US to buy the 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless that is currently held by British cellphone company Vodaphone.

A Verizon spokesman confirmed McAdam's comments to CBC, saying the CEO said at this point in time the company doesn't plan to enter the Canadian wireless market.

Talk of a possible Verizon entry into Canada set off a heated war of words involving the existing three major players in the Canadian wireless market — Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. — against the federal government.

The companies launched a public relations campaign in which they argued that government wireless policy would give an unfair advantage to a foreign company that wanted to enter Canada.

Meanwhile, the Conservative government, which has stated that it wants to see a fourth national telecom player, had argued that the entry of Verizon would benefit consumers through increased competition.

Speculation that Verizon was considering a bid in next year's auction of wireless spectrum or a possible acquisition of small Canadian players, such as Wind Mobile or Mobilicity, also drew criticism from unions that represent workers at the Big 3 telecom companies.

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