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IN THIS ISSUE:** Sprint Canada Becomes Rogers Telecom ** Cable Telephony On A Roll Rogers Videotron Cogeco Shaw ** Saskatchewan Appeals VoIP Decision ** MTS-Allstream Buys Delphi Solutions ** CRTC Wants Comment On Bell Digital Voice ** Navigata Cuts Webphone Pricing ** Shift Claims 1000 Business Customers ** Rogers Drops $5 LD Plan ** Cellcos Intro Inter-Carrier Multimedia ** Telus Loses Appeal on Union Jurisdiction ** Telecom Policy Review Panel Issues Guidelines ** CRTC Corrects VoIP Winback Ruling ** Should Telco Local Fibre Be Deregulated? ** Telcos to Pilot Bad Debt Repayment Plans ** 8-1-1 Approved for Health 'Teletriage' ** Rim Sales Up, Shares Down ** Sears to Install 200 Freefones
SPRINT CANADA BECOMES ROGERS TELECOM: After receiving shareholder and court approvals, Rogers Communications completed its acquisition of Call-Net Enterprises and its operating subsidiary, Sprint Canada, on July 1. Call-Net is now Rogers Telecom Holdings Inc., and Sprint Canada has been renamed Rogers Telecom Inc.** Call-Net, launched in 1986, was Canada's first successful long distance reseller. It survived intense hostility from the telcos and repeated CRTC orders to desist until the Commission changed the rules to allow resale in 1990. It subsequently became a facilities- based long distance and local service provider with more than 600,000 customers across the country.
CABLE TELEPHONY ON A ROLL: Canada's cable TV companies are now firmly committed to the residential phone market. Among the latest developments:** On July 1, Rogers Cable launched Rogers Home Phone service in the Greater Toronto Area. Rates range from $25.46 to $35.66 a month for customers who also take other Rogers services.
** Videotron says it has signed up 42,000 customers since launching phone service in January, achieving 8% penetration on Montreal's south shore. It will begin offering phone service in Quebec City on July 11.** Cogeco Cable's telephone service, introduced in June in Burlington and Oakville, Ontario, is now available in Trois-Rivires, Trois- Rivires Ouest and Pointe-du-lac, Quebec.
** Shaw Communications says it had 22,450 Digital Phone lines installed or pending in Calgary and Edmonton by May 31. The company now expects that 20% of its cable TV customers will take its phone service within three years, rather than five years as previously predicted.
SASKATCHEWAN APPEALS VoIP DECISION: The Government of Saskatchewan has asked the federal Cabinet to review the CRTC's VoIP decision (Telecom Decision 2005-28).. It says the decision disadvantages SaskTel and will 'result in long term and irrevocable harm' to the province.
MTS-ALLSTREAM BUYS DELPHI SOLUTIONS: MTS Allstream has acquired Markham-based Delphi Solutions Corp. for approximately $15 million cash. Delphi is best-known as a provider of Mitel, Nortel and Toshiba PBXs to small and mid-sized business across Canada. Delphi's management, including president Ed Lavin, will remain in place.
CRTC WANTS COMMENT ON BELL DIGITAL VOICE: CRTC Telecom Public Notice2005-9 invites comments on Bell's Digital Voice tariff, which received interim approval in June (see Telecom Update #486). To participate, notify the Commission by July 15.
NAVIGATA CUTS WEBPHONE PRICING: Navigata, a Sasktel subsidiary operating in B.C. and Alberta, has cut the price of Webphone, its access-independent VoIP service. Basic service is now $15.95/month; Basic service plus 1000 minutes of North American long distance is $29.95/month. (See Telecom Update #430)
SHIFT CLAIMS 1000 BUSINESS CUSTOMERS: Shift Networks, which provides hosted multi-line IP telephone systems to small businesses in Calgary and Edmonton, says it added 483 new customers in the second quarter, bringing the total to more than 1,000. Shift customers purchase IP phones telephones, routers, installation and training from Shift, and must sign 36-month service agreements.
ROGERS DROPS $5 LD PLAN: Following Bell Canada's example, Rogers has stopped offering 1,000 minutes of long distance for $5 to its bundle customers. Existing customers have been grandfathered.
CELLCOS INTRO INTER-CARRIER MULTIMEDIA: On July 1, Canada's cellular carriers launched inter-carrier multimedia message services, allowing customers with MMS-capable phones to exchange text, pictures, and video no matter which carrier each uses.
TELUS LOSES APPEAL ON UNION JURISDICTION: The Supreme Court has refused to hear Telus' appeal against a Canada Industrial Relations Board ruling that former Clearnet employees are now represented by the Telecommunications Workers Union bargaining unit. (See Telecom Update #434, #439)
TELECOM POLICY REVIEW PANEL ISSUES GUIDELINES: The Telecom Policy Review panel has posted additional guidelines for submissions, which are due August 15 (see Telecom Update #485).
CRTC CORRECTS VOIP WINBACK RULING: The CRTC has confirmed that the incumbent telcos are only prohibited for three months (not twelve) from attempting to win back business customers who have chosen a competitor's local service.
SHOULD TELCO LOCAL FIBRE BE DEREGULATED? In Public Notice 2005-8, the CRTC asks whether the incumbent telcos' high-speed intra-exchange digital services face enough competition in some markets to warrant deregulation, as requested by Bell Canada (see Telecom Update #422). To participate, notify the Commission by July 8.
TELCOS TO PILOT BAD DEBT REPAYMENT PLANS: The CRTC has ordered Aliant, Bell, MTS and Telus to conduct 18-month trials of a program to allow subscribers who were disconnected for non-payment to re-subscribe and pay their debts off over time. The CRTC points to SaskTel's existing program as a model.
RIM SALES UP, SHARES DOWN: Does anyone understand the stock market? Research In Motion doubled its profit in the three months ended May28, and it added 592,000 new subscribers in the last quarter, exceeding its announced target of 560,000 to 590,000. Its stock promptly fell 7%, because some analysts had predicted it would add considerably more.
SEARS TO INSTALL 200 FREEFONES: Sears Canada has signed a 3-year contract to install some 200 courtesy phones provided by Toronto-based Freefone Inc., in 122 stores across Canada. Freefones include a15-inch video display which shows advertising while customers make free local calls.
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