Briefing

Telus threatens to slash $1 billion in investment, 5,000 staff and philanthropy if government mandates price cuts and MVNOs

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CEO Darren Entwistle told a CRTC hearing that the firm’s board has signed a resolution ordering management to reduce spending if it is required to reduce rates by 25 per cent, as the Liberals have proposed, and provide network access to new competitors at set prices, per the telecommunications regulator’s suggestion. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The CEOs of Bell and Rogers have also warned they’ll scale back investment if regulatory decisions go against them. Entwistle suggested Telus’s board resolution and numbers are meant to put teeth to the threat, in an attempt to counter “views that this is just theatre perpetrated by the incumbents.” That presents a direct challenge to the government on one of its policy priorities for the current parliament. Entwistle disagreed that “there’s an issue to solve as it relates to affordability.” But in a January interview with The Logic, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains described dealing with the “affordability issue” as his “one simple goal.” He also said he was confident Ottawa and the telecom firms could work together, citing joint programs like $10 internet plans for low-income families. But even that aroused contention during Entwistle’s CRTC appearance, when a commissioner referred to it as a government initiative; the Telus CEO was quick to note his company started it.