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IN THIS ISSUE:** Former Bell Exec to Head MTS-Allstream ** Alberta Plans Canada's First Wi-Max Net ** Yukon, NWT Get Wireless Competitor ** Shaw Quits Cable Association ** Cellphones Up 481,000 in Three Months ** Bell, March Ally for Surveillance ** Amtelecom Buys Rural Telco ** Competitors, Cablecos Battle over Voice QoS ** Rogers Wants Ban on Wireless Junk Voicemail ** Ontera Waives Charges for Kashechewan Customers ** Dog Days for Cellphones ** Wi-LAN, Cisco Settle Suit ** Globalstar Readies Satellite Launch ** Nortel Buys into Vodavi ** Court Approves TIW Payout ** Branson Says Virgin Deal "Close" ** Cogeco Sales, Profits Rise ** IIC Conference in Ottawa Next Week
FORMER BELL EXEC TO HEAD MTS-ALLSTREAM: Pierre Blouin, former head of Bell Canada's consumer and wireless organizations, has been named CEO of MTS Allstream, Canada's third-largest telecom carrier. He replaces Bill Fraser, who previously announced his plan to retire.** Blouin left Bell in September after a reorganization removed Bell Mobility from his portfolio. He had been with the telco for 20 years. (See Telecom Update #495)
ALBERTA PLANS CANADA'S FIRST WI-MAX NET: The Alberta Special Areas Board has contracted with Nortel Networks and Netago Wireless to deploy what is believed to be the first commercial network in Canada based on the new Wi-Max standard. The network will bring high-speed Internet access (1 Mpbs to 3 Mbps) to about 80% of businesses and residences in rural parts of southeastern Alberta by the third quarter of 2006.
YUKON, NWT GET WIRELESS COMPETITOR: Cellular competition began in Yukon this week when Ice Wireless Inc. launched service in Whitehorse. The Ice consortium plans to extend coverage soon to Yellowknife; one of its partners, New North Networks, has served Inuvik since 1999. Until now Bell Mobility has been the sole provider in most of the North.
SHAW QUITS CABLE ASSOCIATION: Shaw Communications has resigned from the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association, citing "divergent interests and different strategic objectives." The CCTA expressed regret and promised to continue "business as usual."
CELLPHONES UP 481,000 IN THREE MONTHS: There are now more than 16 million cellphones in use in Canada. Figures compiled by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association show a net increase of 481,000 phones in the third quarter of 2005, and over a million in the first three quarters.** Rogers added 402,000 subscribers in the first nine months of the year. Telus Mobility grew by 349,000; Bell/Aliant added 306,000.
BELL, MARCH ALLY FOR SURVEILLANCE: Bell Canada and March Networks have formed a partnership to develop and market video surveillance applications in Canada. Development will take place at the Bell Advanced Solutions Innovations Centre in Ottawa, a joint venture of March's holding company and Bell. (See Telecom Update #500)
AMTELECOM BUYS RURAL TELCO: Amtelecom, Ontario's third-largest independent telco, has bought the tenth-largest, People's Communications of Forest, for $21 million. Amtelecom gains about 5,000 phone subscribers, bringing its total to approximately 27,000.
COMPETITORS, CABLECOS BATTLE OVER VOICE QoS: Cybersurf, supported by Vonage, Primus, and a coalition of Quebec ISPs (see Telecom Update #507), wants the CRTC to order Shaw, Rogers, and Videotron to make PacketCable functionality available to ISPs, and to require Shaw to allow competitors to resell a Quality of Service enhancement it currently markets to its own Internet customers.** Videotron, the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association, and Telus say such an order is unwarranted and would amount to a revision of the VoIP decision.
DOG DAYS FOR CELLPHONES: Vancouver-based On4 Communications says it will introduce a $350 cellphone for dogs early in 2006. The bone-shaped PetCell, a GPS-equipped handsfree (pawsfree?) device, will enable owners to track runaway dogs, and allow them to talk to lonely home-alone pets. Calls to the dog-phone will require a passcode, to ensure the pet isn't bothered by wrong numbers and telemarketers.
WI-LAN, CISCO SETTLE SUIT: Cisco Systems has purchased patents from Wi-LAN Inc, settling a suit for patent infringement filed by the Calgary wireless broadband developer in 2004. (See Telecom Update #439)
GLOBALSTAR READIES SATELLITE LAUNCH: Globalstar has signed contracts with two European companies and obtained U.S. government approval to launch up to eight spare satellites in Kazakhstan, beginning in2007. The satellite phone provider is also building a new satellite gateway in Wasilla, Alaska.
NORTEL BUYS INTO VODAVI: In an SEC filing dated December 2, Nortel Networks says its Korean subsidiary has acquired 23.3% of the outstanding shares of Vodavi Technologies, an Arizona company that manufactures IP-based business telephone systems.
COURT APPROVES TIW PAYOUT: Telesystem International Wireless, which is going out of business, has obtained court approval to distribute $259 million to shareholders. A further $27 million payout may follow. (See Telecom Update #502)
BRANSON SAYS VIRGIN DEAL "CLOSE": Virgin Mobile Holdings has rejected NTL's offer to buy the cellco for US$1.4 billion, but Virgin's owner Richard Branson says the two sides are "quite close." In Canada, Virgin Mobile is a partnership between Branson's company and Bell. (See Telecom Update #427)
COGECO SALES, PROFITS RISE: Cogeco Cable says that its digital and Internet customer base grew by 22.5% and 15.9%, respectively, in its2005 fiscal year. Revenue increased 5.3%, to $554 million; net income was $28.7 million.
IIC CONFERENCE IN OTTAWA NEXT WEEK: The Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications is holding its fifth annual conference at the Ottawa Congress Centre on December 12-13. The theme of this year's meeting is "Broadband: Are We Ready?" See the IIC'S website for the conference agenda and registration information.
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