It is almost exactly ten years since I became involved in putting together a small group to bid for cellular licences in Canada for a company then known as Cantel Cellular Radio Group Inc. – a consortium of Telemedia Inc., First City Financial and Rogers Telecommunications Limited. By the end of 1983, we were successful in winning the first of many national, wireless licences.

To describe the ensuing decade as exciting is an understatement. The growth from a handful of seconded people from the founding companies, together with some consultants, to an organization with half a billion dollars in revenue and a staff of 2500 operating as Canada’s only national telephone company, is a phenomenal story.

Cantel’s approach was then, and continues to be, to obtain all the necessary licences we need to be able to operate in any part of the wireless communications field anywhere in Canada. 1992 saw us win additional licences that will prove their value in the years to come. Just as a reminder, Cantel already has national licences in:

• cellular, where we now serve 87% of the population of Canada

• paging, where we serve essentially the same market areas as cellular with state-of-the-art, 900 MHz service (and have frequencies that are North-America wide, allowing international paging)

• mobile data, for which we predict a great future, even though we prudently wrote-off some of our initial equipment last year. We recently announced a range of new services for the frequencies for which we have a licence.

During 1992, we were awarded two, new national licences:

• Air-to-Ground. The Canadian airline industry is still in a confused state but we will, in the future, be very glad we have the ability to serve Cantel customers in the air as well as on the ground.

• A Digital Cordless Telephone licence. This is sometimes known as PCS for Personal Communications Service. Cantel was one of four successful licencees for frequencies for this potential new service. DCT is a very new technology with newly established standards. Our approach to this new way of serving a consumer and business market is one of continued experimentation, some of which we expect will be done in conjunction with the other licencees. We need to assure ourselves of the availability of the appropriate equipment and assure ourselves of the best approach to the market.

In effect, we now have all the rights we need to all the frequencies to continue our growth in Canada in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.

Cantel’s approach has remained consistent from the start:

• wireless is our only business

• we operate only in Canada (like the tea commercial)

The challenge of the next couple of years will be to capitalize on this unique position in this high-growth industry.