Wind Mobile gets new $425-million financing arrangement for network upgrade

TORONTO – Wind Mobile Corp. has arranged for up to $425 million of financing that will support an upgrade of its network to LTE technology.

The Toronto-based company has been doggedly growing its business since launching the service six years ago, the first of several new competitors for the three established national carriers: Rogers, Telus and Bell.

The big networks — which continue to dominate the Canadian market — have already deployed LTE technology across most of their territory, enabling their networks to deliver higher data speeds and more service features to their customers.

The much smaller Wind has sometimes had difficulty raising funds for its capital investments but a change in its ownership structure late last year cleared the way for it to raise funds.

Wind said Thursday that a syndicate of major Canadian banks, led by Toronto-Dominion, Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, will provide new secured debt financing.

Finland’s export credit agency will also provide financial support for Wind’s purchases from Nokia Networks, which will be the sole supplier for the LTE upgrade.

Industry Canada rules on mandatory roaming access mean that if Wind Mobile builds an LTE network of its own, its customers should be able to access the LTE networks of the incumbent carriers while outside Wind’s coverage zone.