Cogeco, a stalwart of cable, dives into wireless

Originally published by The Globe and Mail (for Globe and Mail subscribers only)
Author: Christine Dobby

With two recent purchases of spectrum, cable and internet provider Cogeco Communications Inc. is signalling wireless ambitions.

The Montreal-based cable company, which operates mainly in suburban and semi-rural parts of Ontario and Quebec, has been bulking up on the radio waves used to carry LTE (long-term evolution or 4G) cellular signals. In May, it spent $24.3-million to win 23 licences in a government sale for spectrum that was not purchased in previous auctions. And, late last month, it invested $8-million to purchase Kian Telecom, a small operator that owned 10 additional spectrum licences.

Cogeco has so far not built a wireless network of its own but in recent years it has been public about its desire to offer the popular service to its television and internet customers. The company has always said it would only invest in wireless if it could do so profitably, and building from scratch can be prohibitively expensive and end in failure or firesale.

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