Orange is weighing up the possibility of entering the Canadian market as an MVNO, according to The Globe and Mail.
Representatives from Orange Horizons, a subsidiary of the French telecoms group, are believed to have held “exploratory talks” with Canada’s telecoms regulator and the country’s trade commissioner service about wireless opportunities.
Orange Horizons, formed in January 2013, is charged with seeking out new business opportunities in countries where Orange is not present.
Canada’s authorities have been keen to boost competition in the national mobile market – dominated by BCE, Rogers and Telus – but so far without much success
Indeed, the big three incumbents launched an aggressive summer campaign to keep Verizon from coming to Canada under more favourable rules for new-entrants.
It seems to have worked – at least for the time being. A spectrum auction, scheduled for January 2014, failed to attract interest from any major foreign player.
Moreover, the number of mobile players in Canada is shrinking. Telus recently purchased regional operator Public Mobile, while Moblicity, another regional player, has gone into receivership.
A spokesperson for Paris-based Orange, quoted by The Globe and Mail, played down the company’s potential interest in Canada:
“Orange’s overall M&A strategy is focused on consolidation and the development of areas of strategic interest, particularly in Africa,” he said. “This prudent and selective strategy precludes any major investments.”
The remit of Orange Horizons does, however, include the possible launch of MVNOs. Expansion into other countries nonetheless has been low key so far.
In a July press release, the Orange subsidiary reported it had launched its own retail outlets in South Africa and Portugal, providing additional support for customers travelling from neighbouring countries or from France
Websites and e-commerce activities have also been launched in seven countries: South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.