TBayTel signs agreement to purchase Superior Wireless

From the TBayTel web site at http://tbaytel.net

TBayTel Enters Into Agreement to Purchase Superior Wireless Inc. - August 21, 2006

TBayTel, Canada’s largest independent telecommunications company announced that it has signed a letter of agreement to purchase Superior Wireless Inc., a local and regional cellular and broadband Internet provider. This purchase significantly expands TBayTel’s regional services package across Northern Ontario. ... Click here to READ the entire press release ...

From Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal at

TBayTel rings up big deal

TBayTel’s acquisition of Superior Wireless will improve cellular telephone reception in Northwestern Ontario, but isn’t expected to generate additional revenue for the City of Thunder Bay.

Gary Armstrong, the chief financial officer of TBayTel, said Monday cellphone users won’t get coverage in areas where it wasn’t available before, but existing reception will be better.

“If you’re driving from Kenora to the Sault, you will get improved coverage along that corridor,” Armstrong said.

“It won’t be continual, but it will be greatly improved.”

TBayTel announced Monday that it has purchased Superior Wireless, a company owned by a group of eight business people for an undisclosed amount.

The deal makes TBayTel the primary cellphone provider in Northwestern Ontario and expands the company’s coverage by 11,000 customers.

TBayTel has continual cellphone coverage from Nipigon to Rainy River, and localized coverage in small towns like Marathon, Schreiber, Terrace Bay and Upsala.

The deal gives TBayTel access to towns like Wawa, White River and Manitouwadge, and First Nations communities.

“This fills in a lot of gaps,” Armstrong said.

Thunder Bay city council approved the deal after talking about it in a behind-closed-doors meeting Monday.

Mayor Lynn Peterson praised the deal.

“I’m pleased to represent the City of Thunder Bay as TBayTel takes a decisive step in evolving as a leading-edge local and regional telecommunications provider,” she said.

TBayTel generates a dividend of $16.5 million a year for the city, which is its sole shareholder.

TBayTel chairman Donald Paterson said the utility has committed to giving the city that amount annually for the next three years.

Paterson said city council will expect the board to look at increasing the dividend now. “We’ll be looking at that,” he said.

Ken Esau, acting president and chief executive of TBayTel, said the deal could provide savings for customers in the region who want “bundled” wireless packages.

Don Wing, president of Superior Wireless, said his company has provided cellular and Internet access across the region for five years.

“TBayTel’s telecommunications strength combined with Superior Wireless’s solid regional network significantly improves cellular and broadband services for residents for the Northwest as well as parts of the Northeast,” he said.

Esau said negotiations were held over the past few weeks while discussions began in November 2004.

Discussions continued last November when Wing indicated he was thinking about selling Superior Wireless.

“Don, being a person from Thunder Bay, thought that he would like to talk with TBayTel and we had a long discussion about it,” Esau said.

Wing said it was important to have one “strong, seamless network for everybody” in the region. “With us competing against each other, it wasn’t the best use of funds,” he said.

The deal comes into effect Sept. 8 at which point Superior Wireless will be absorbed by TBayTel.

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