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Wind Mobile eyes another run at rival Mobilicity

Sources have said that Mobilicity is seeking at least $350-million for its assets which include spectrum and 189,239 active subscribers.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Wind Mobile's parent company is taking another look at potentially purchasing struggling start-up carrier Mobilicity.

Globalive Wireless Management Corp., which operates the Wind Mobile brand, confirmed Tuesday that it is participating in Mobilicity's court-monitored sale process and "assessing the value" of its assets.

Even so, there is no guarantee that Globalive will make a binding offer for its smaller rival, which has been under court protection from creditors since late September. The two companies have attempted to merge at least twice since the 2008 spectrum auction only to have those talks sour.

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"Wind requires additional spectrum in order to advance our business plan for next generation wireless services and compete long-term on a level playing field with the Big Three," Wind Mobile chief executive Anthony Lacavera said in a statement.

He added: "Wind has always maintained the need for new entrants to consolidate and work together to compete against the oligopoly."

Globalive is declining to disclose any specifics on its potential interest in Mobilicity, including how much the company might be worth.

Sources have said that Mobilicity is seeking at least $350-million for its assets which include spectrum and 189,239 active subscribers.

Telus Corp. has made two attempts to purchase Mobilicity this year, including its original $380-million proposal. The federal government, however, rejected both offers due to rules prohibiting established carriers from purchasing new entrants before 2014.

Vancouver-based Telus, however, did secure Ottawa's blessing this fall to acquire another struggling new entrant carrier, Public Mobile, for an undisclosed amount. Public Mobile, though, never faced any restrictions on selling its spectrum because the type it purchased is considered less valuable.

Mobilicity, which is legally known as Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Holdings Inc., paid $243.1-million for licences reserved for new entrants during the 2008 spectrum auction. It became the first new entrant carrier to win court protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act at the end of September.

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The "government must do more and enforce the pro-competition agenda to ensure long-term competition in Canada's increasingly critical wireless industry," said Mr. Lacavera.

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