Cogeco continues to maintain the suspense surrounding its entry into the mobile services market in Canada, but maintains that development is expected “soon” for a mobile service offering in the United States where the company is present in 13 states.
Cogeco says it has undertaken plans to enter the US mobile market through agreements with virtual mobile operators to lease access to their networks.
“We are in a better position in the United States,” said Cogeco CEO Philippe Jetté during a press meeting organized Thursday on the sidelines of the annual meeting of shareholders of the Quebec telecommunications company.
“It’s much easier to negotiate with operators in the US. There are more than a hundred virtual operators active in the American market. The market exists,” he adds.
In this context, he says, there is no need to acquire and deploy spectrum, nor to ensure administrative functions.
“There is a national infrastructure made to accommodate virtual operators. The big players are not only willing, but they welcome commercial agreements as additional sources of income for them. It’s much easier to negotiate a voice to enter the mobile market in the United States. »
He recalls that in Canada, there is a regulatory framework announced by the CRTC last year and different steps to take including that of owning spectrum, negotiating with national players, and after a period of negotiations there can be an arbitration period that may be necessary to force commercial agreements to obtain competitive rates.
Information about the United States will follow soon, said Philippe Jetté, before indicating that Cogeco would communicate upcoming developments in Canada as agreements can be concluded with Canadian operators.
And regarding negotiations with Bell, Rogers Telus, he says it takes “a very long time” to obtain a commercially reasonable price. “The players on the other side of the table are trying to delay our entry into the market as long as possible,” he says.
He invites the federal government to create conditions allowing companies like Cogeco to enter the market quickly.
But even in the case of successful negotiations with the country’s national network operators, Philippe Jetté maintains that he does not foresee a major deployment of wireless activities in Canada in the short term “because we still have work to do.”
Philippe Jetté also wanted to send a message to the federal regulator in anticipation of the CRTC hearing which will soon be held on the regulatory framework for the wholesale internet services market in which Cogeco will participate.
The regulatory framework forces Cogeco to share its wired Internet networks with resellers at prices regulated by the CRTC.
The issue, says Philippe Jetté, is that the largest Canadian telecommunications companies are now among the largest users of our networks, through this CRTC resale regime, because several internet service resellers have been acquired by these large companies.
“This situation is unacceptable and we will ask the CRTC to prohibit the three largest Canadian operators (Bell, Rogers and Telus) from accessing the resale regime, which was never designed for them. »
The company also presented its financial performance at the start of the year. The figures turn out to be relatively in line with rather modest expectations taking into account the current economic and competitive context.
For one, TD analyst Vince Valentini judges the results for September, October and November better than he feared, emphasizing that expectations were low due to comments from management and the trend observed. during previous quarters.
“No one is going to argue that these are good results on an absolute basis,” he says. “However, compared to low expectations, this is clearly a positive surprise. »
Management also maintains unchanged the financial projections for the 2024 financial year that it presented at the beginning of November.