Today, Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) was acquired by the Bell group of companies in a transaction valued at approximately $3.9 billion.

MTS has a long history going all the way back to 1908, as the descendant company of Manitoba Government Telephones, and this is not the first time the province's telephone system has linked ties with Bell.

Manitoba Government Telephones first went into operation after the government of Manitoba bought Bell Canada 's Manitoba operations, in the early 1900s.

The service stayed public until 1996 when the Provincial government of Premier Gary Filmon decided to sell the Manitoba Telephone System to private shareholders. And now it’s part of Bell again, as things have come full circle.

"Welcoming MTS to the Bell group of companies opens new opportunities for unprecedented broadband communications investment, innovation and growth for urban and rural Manitoba locations alike,” said George Cope, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada.

“Bell is excited to be part of the clear growth opportunities in Manitoba, and we plan to contribute new communications infrastructure and technologies that deliver the latest wireless, Internet, TV and media services to residents and businesses throughout the province,” Cope added.

The good news for consumers is that Bell plans to invest $1 billion in capital over 5 years after the transaction closes, in order to speed Manitoba up, so to speak.

The company plans to expand its broadband networks and services throughout the province, including:
  • Gigabit Fibe Internet availability, delivering Internet speeds on average up to 20 times faster than those currently offered to MTS customers, within 12 months after the transaction closes,
  • the rollout of Fibe TV, Bell's innovative broadband television service,
  • accelerated expansion of the company's award-winning LTE wireless network throughout the province, with average data speeds twice as fast as those now available to MTS customers,
  • integration of MTS's Winnipeg data centre with Bell's existing national network of 27 data and cloud computing centres, Canada's largest, and the country's most extensive broadband fibre network footprint.
What about MTS wireless service? Along with the news of the acquisition of MTS, Bell has announced that post-deal, it will divest one-third of MTS postpaid wireless subscribers to TELUS, in order to maintain wireless competition within the province.

According to a press release, going forward the combined company's Manitoba operations will be known as Bell MTS in recognition of the powerful brand presence the MTS team has built across in the province.

Once the deal is completed, Winnipeg will become Western Canada headquarters for Bell and with the addition of MTS's 2,700 employees, Bell's Western team will grow to a total of 6,900 people.

Full completion of the acquisition is expected to occur at the end of 2016 or early 2017.