Canadian telco confirms C$1 billion, five-year broadband network expansion in Manitoba.

BCE, parent company of Bell Canada, has completed its C$3.9 billion (€2.7 billion) acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS).

The Canadian telco has renamed the company Bell MTS, and confirmed plans to plough C$1 billion into expanding its broadband networks in Manitoba’s cities, traffic corridors, and rural and remote communities.

"Bell is proud to be a major investor in Manitoba’s future, enabling economic development with the most advanced network infrastructure and service innovations for consumers and business customers. With the talent and experience of the MTS team backed by Bell’s scale and proven broadband strategy, Bell MTS will lead the way in Manitoba’s competitive communications industry," said George Cope, CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, in a statement late last week.

MTS CEO Jay Forbes has stepped down. He is being replaced by BCE’s Dan McKeen, who will take on the roll of vice chair of Bell MTS and Western Canada. BCE also confirmed that Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital, will serve as the headquarters for Bell’s Western Canada operations.

"I would like to thank departing MTS CEO Jay Forbes for his exceptional leadership of MTS and his support in completing the C$3.9 billion Bell MTS transaction, enabling a new era of communications investment and growth in Manitoba while creating tremendous value for customers, shareholders and team members," Cope said.

BCE agreed to acquire MTS in May 2016. The C$3.9 billion purchase price consisted of C$3.1 billion in cash and stock, and the assumption of C$800 million in net debt. MTS shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal in June.

BCE marked the completion of the deal with the launch of 4G services in the remote town of Churchill, famous for its local population of wild polar bears.

"A growing ecotourism and research centre, the polar bear capital of the world is now served by the mobile network ranked faster than any in Canada and the United States, and will soon be connected with new broadband fibre connections," said McKeen.

"It’s a great example of the Bell MTS plan to efficiently deliver the outstanding TV, Internet, mobile and business services to Manitobans."