MTS Allstream, CPP Investment Board and Blackstone form consortium to pursue national wireless initiative

    -- Consortium combines financial strength, wireless management expertise,
    strong portfolio of existing wireless assets and leading track record of
    wireless and telecom investing --

    TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. ("MTS
Allstream"), the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ("CPPIB") and The
Blackstone Group L.P. ("Blackstone") announced today that they have formed a
consortium to make a deposit and submit an application to bid as a new entrant
in the upcoming Advanced Wireless Services ("AWS") spectrum auction.
    The consortium made a $340 million deposit in the form of letters of
credit to Industry Canada.
    The auction, which is scheduled to begin on May 27, 2008, is being
conducted by Industry Canada. One of the objectives of the auction is to
foster greater competition and innovation in the Canadian wireless market.
    As contemplated, MTS Allstream, CPPIB and Blackstone will each own
approximately one-third of the new entity. Ownership and governance of the new
entity will comply with Canadian ownership and control rules for the
telecommunications sector and the AWS auction rules.
    It is contemplated that if the consortium is successful in acquiring
spectrum licenses, André Tremblay and a team of veteran managers with deep
expertise in the wireless telecom industry will manage the new wireless
company. Mr. Tremblay was previously the founding CEO of Microcell, operator
of the Fido brand wireless service. He and his team have extensive experience
launching a competitive new entrant in the Canadian wireless market.
    Pierre Blouin, Chief Executive Officer, MTS Allstream, said, "We are
moving towards the auction with exceptionally strong partners, a clear and
disciplined strategy, and a focus on creating long term value for our
shareholders. By participating in this group with a minority interest, MTS is
well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity and maintain its current
dividend policy."
    "A strong new entrant has the potential to bring much-needed innovation
to Canada's wireless telecom sector." Mr. Blouin added, "If our group is
successful, we will have created the opportunity for our Allstream Enterprise
division to offer very rich wireless voice and data products to its large
business customers across Canada through a preferred wholesale arrangement and
without affecting our successful wireless business in Manitoba."
    The parties to the consortium do not intend to provide further comment
regarding their plans or strategies until such time as they have finalized
their discussions and executed definitive agreements.
    Goldman, Sachs & Co. and CIBC World Markets Inc. are advising MTS
Allstream on the formation of the Consortium. Torys LLP and Aikins, MacAulay &
Thorvaldson LLP are legal advisors to MTS.

    About MTS Allstream

    MTS Allstream Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Manitoba Telecom
Services Inc., and is one of Canada's leading national communication solutions
providers, delivering innovative products and services through the Enterprise
Solutions and Consumer Markets divisions. The Enterprise Solutions division,
which operates under the Allstream brand nationally and under the MTS
Allstream brand in Manitoba, is a leading competitor in the national business
and wholesale markets. This division offers customers a portfolio of solutions
tailored to the needs of medium and large businesses looking for success in a
world of rapidly evolving technology - IP connectivity, unified
communications, IT consulting and security services, and voice and data
connectivity services. The Consumer Markets division leads every
telecommunications market segment in Manitoba, delivering a full suite of next
generation wireless, high-speed Internet and data, digital television and
wireline voice services under the MTS brand, as well as small business
services in select markets across Canada under the Allstream brand, and
security and alarm monitoring services through AAA Alarm Systems Ltd., an
affiliate of MTS Allstream which also operates in other western provinces. MTS
Allstream's extensive national broadband fibre optic network spans more than
24,300 kilometres, and provides international connections through strategic
alliances and interconnection agreements with other international service
providers. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.'s common shares are listed on The
Toronto Stock Exchange (trading symbol: MBT). For more information, please

    About The Blackstone Group

    The Blackstone Group is a leading global alternative asset manager and
provider of financial advisory services. Its alternative asset management
businesses include the management of corporate private equity funds, real
estate opportunity funds, funds of hedge funds, mezzanine funds, senior debt
funds, proprietary hedge funds and closed-end mutual funds. The Blackstone
Group also provides various financial advisory services, including mergers and
acquisitions advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund
placement service. Further information is available at

    About the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

    The CPP Investment Board invests the funds not needed by the Canada
Pension Plan to pay current benefits on behalf of 17 million Canadian
contributors and beneficiaries. In order to build a diversified portfolio of
CPP assets, the CPP Investment Board is investing in publicly-traded stocks,
private equities, real estate, inflation-linked bonds, infrastructure and
fixed income. Based in Toronto, the CPP Investment Board is governed and
managed independently of the Canada Pension Plan and at arm's length from
governments. At December 31, 2007 the CPP Fund totaled $119.4 billion.

    %SEDAR: 00003357EF

For further information:

For further information: about MTS Allstream, please contact: Media:
Greg Burch, Manager Corporate Communications, (416) 345-3576, (204) 941-8576,; Investors: Ian Chadsey, Vice-President
Investor Relations, (204) 941-8283,; For
more information about the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, please
contact: Joel Kranc, Manager, Communications, (416) 874-5163,;
For more information about The Blackstone Group, please contact: John Ford,
SVP, Corporate Communications, (212) 583-5559,

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