Clearnet Communications - History


Clearnet Communications Inc. was launched by The Lenbrook Group in the early 1980s as a national provider of Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR), two-way radio systems commonly used by taxicab and package delivery services. In 1994, Clearnet acquired the assets of Motorola's SMR network giving Clearnet the critical mass of radio spectrum to accomplish a conversion to a digital system. At the same time, Clearnet, with new strategic partners in Motorola and Nextel, completed an initial public offering to pay for this conversion.

In December 1995, Clearnet was awarded a 30 MHz national PCS license by Industry Canada. Mobile service under the Clearnet brand was launched later that year. A new service was launched in 1996 as the Mike network, using iDEN phones with its push-to-talk (PTT) functionality. In 1997, Mike added the "Green Card" roaming option through its partnership with Nextel, which offered notably low prices on international service. Mike is marketed primarily towards business and industrial customers who need the PTT functionality.

Prior to their merger with Telus Mobility, Clearnet had developed an innovative out of the box cell phone marketing system, where their phones were available at various retail stores, besides their own. To activate a Clearnet cell phone, a customer simply called the company with a credit card, went through an instant credit check, and if approved, they set up their Clearnet account over the phone. Within an hour or two, the customer could use his or her mobile phone service.

On August 21, 2000 Clearnet was sold to Telus Corp. at an announced value of $6.6 billion, the largest telecommunications acquisition in Canadian history. At the point of sale, Clearnet had acquired the largest block of available wireless spectrum of any wireless player in Canada and served approximately 700,000 Canadian users. This launched Telus as a national brand, and they have since become one of the three big mobile vendors in Canada. The Clearnet brand was initially taken over by Telus branding but was re-introduced in 2011 as a fighter brand in certain markets.

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