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Three foreign telcos besides Verizon eyed entering Canada

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At least three foreign telcos aside from Verizon (VZ-N) have looked at bidding for wireless spectrum in Canada, a source close to the situation tells BNN.

The three companies are said to have been Vodafone, AT&T and Norway's Telenor.

Another source says an overseas foreign telco inquired about the upcoming spectrum auction, but was counseled not to bother. That source declined to identify the company.

For much of the summer, it was believed U.S. carrier Verizon was interested in bidding for wireless spectrum in Canada in the upcoming spectrum auction.

However, when the company announced it was purchasing Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion US, Verizon's CEO poured cold water on reports of the company's interest in Canada saying they had been overblown.

The Harper government is on record as wanting a fourth major competitor in wireless markets across the country. The so-called incumbents---Rogers (RCI.B-T), Telus (T-T) and BCE (BCE-T)---launched an aggressive public campaign against a possible incursion by Verizon.

The deadline to register for the 700 megahertz spectrum auction is September 17.

Telenor is a 33% owner (with 43% voting rights) in Vimpelcom, the company that owns Wind Mobile.

BCE owns Bell Media, which owns BNN.
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