As part of its investment programme, Bell MTS announced a number of initial projects in its Manitoba capital. The operator will sponsor Winnipeg's downtown Innovation Alley hub for students, creators and entrepreneurs including superfast LTE-Advanced mobile and Gigabit Fibe Internet services. It will provide continuous broadband mobile coverage along Manitoba's critical north-south transportation corridor, Highways 6 and 75 from Manitoba's "Hub of the North" Thompson to the US border at Emerson. It will expand mobile and wireline broadband networks in the mining centre of Flin Flon on the Saskatchewan border, and start new mobile services for smaller towns and remote locations, including 5 underserved Indigenous communities Easterville, Gods Lake Narrows, Gods River, Grand Rapids and Red Sucker Lake.
BCE also said The Bell Let's Talk initiative will expand in Manitoba with a new dedicated fund for Indigenous mental health chaired by Winnipeg's Clara Hughes, a Canadian Olympian and national spokesperson for Bell Let's Talk. The Bell Let's Talk team is consulting with leaders from Manitoba Indigenous communities on plans for program funding announcements.
As part of its launch plan, Bell MTS will maintain current MTS wireless price plans for at least 12 months from 17 March. Integrating operations at a total of 69 Bell and MTS retail stores across the province, Bell MTS will offer the full range of MTS and Bell mobile, TV, internet and home phone services, including MTS Ultimate TV and Bell Satellite TV, as well as enhanced services like Fibe TV and Fibe Internet, and exclusive products like the Wireless 4K PVR and the HomeHub 3000 residential gateway, as they become available. Bell MTS wireless services will also become available at The Source, Tbooth wireless and WirelessWave locations throughout Manitoba. CraveTV is now also available to MTS Ultimate TV subscribers who will get the first month free when they sign up.
Bell MTS will be led by Dan McKeen, vice chair at Bell MTS & Western Canada, who will also continue to serve in a national role as senior VP for Small Business. McKeen was most recently Bell's vice chair at Bell Aliant. Glen LeBlanc, Bell's CFO, will become the new vice chair at Bell Aliant in addition to his CFO responsibilities, working from Bell's Montreal national headquarters and Bell Aliant's offices in Halifax. Martine Turcotte will continue as vice chair, Quebec, also based in Montreal.
With the closing of the deal between BCE and MTS, Bell gains around 710,000 mobile, internet and IPTV customers in Manitoba, a 5 percent increase in its total broadband service subscribers, and becomes the number 1 mobile provider in Manitoba with more than 470,000 total Bell and MTS wireless subscribers. Bell will update its 2017 financial guidance targets to reflect the transaction when it reports first quarter 2017 results on 26 April.
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