Bell Canada Acquires Virgin Mobile Canada As Pricing Pressures Mount

Bell Canada has acquired Virgin Mobile (NYSE: VM) Canada in the hopes of driving wireless-customer growth and competing more effectively with other discount providers. Bell Canada, which already owned half of Virgin Mobile Canada, paid $142 million for the remaining stake, reports the Financial Post.

In a conference call discussing first-quarter financial results, Bell Canada’s CEO George Cope said it sees an opportunity to start selling the service in The Source, a chain of electronics stores that Bell Canada bought in March. The Virgin brand will start being sold in stores starting in January, after a contract with Rogers Communications expires.

The Financial Post wrote that in Canada, competition has been growing among pre-paid providers as both Rogers and Telus have started offering cheaper plans through their respective discount brands, Fido and Koodo. Now Bell Canada will have two discount providers — Virgin and Solo. Cope said they may consider eliminating one of the two brands later. During the quarter, Bell added 30,000 new subscribers, which is 5,000 less than a year ago. Additions were largely affected by fewer new prepaid customers.

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