Despite domestic pressure, Canada appears open to Verizon entering wireless market

Canadian industry leaders as well as executives from Canada's three largest wireless carriers have undertaken a major public relations campaign against Canadian government regulations and rules that could pave the way for Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) to enter the Canadian wireless market. However, the government in Ottawa appears to be resisting such pressure and remains open to foreign investment in the market, according to a Reuters analysis. "We want all regions of Canada to benefit from competitive market forces, which is why more progress must be made," Canadian Industry Minister James Moore said last week. "We will continue to stay the course by ensuring Canadians benefit from a competitive telecommunications industry."

New rules in the country relax restrictions on foreign ownership in small telecom companies with a market share of 10 percent or less, and also could give foreign carriers a leg up in January's auction of 700 MHz spectrum. 

During Verizon's second-quarter earnings conference call, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said that Verizon is interested in exploring options to enter the Canadian wireless market, but he stressed that it is "really an exploratory exercise for us." Verizon reportedly made an initial offer of somewhere between $600 million and $800 million to buy fledgling Canadian wireless carrier Wind Mobile. Reports have also indicated that Verizon is in talks with rival wireless startup Mobilicity over a possible deal. Article