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Chief technology officer Ibrahim Gedeon said there was no agreement, a day after The Globe and Mail reported that Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) had asked Telus to remove the Huawei equipment. (Reuters)

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Talking point: The federal government is considering whether to ban Huawei from working on 5G, but the network around Ottawa is 4G. Some security experts are concerned that poses a risk anyway. “Allowing Huawei around sensitive, even insensitive, government institutions is problematic because it is an organization that is a statutory arm of the Chinese government,” said Andrew Ellis, a former CSIS assistant director of operations.

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Stockholm-based Ericsson will provide radio access network equipment for Bell’s 5G network, an initial version of which is ready, but has yet to be launched. Telus will work with Ericsson and Finland-based Nokia, which has already partnered with Bell. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Canada’s telecoms are forging ahead making deals with suppliers while they await a federal decision on whether to allow the use of Huawei’s technology in Canada’s 5G networks. Telus has previously said it would use equipment from the Chinese company in its 5G network; Bell has partnered with Huawei on 5G in the past, and on Tuesday it did not rule out a role for the company in its network. “Huawei has been a reliable and innovative partner in the past and we would consider working with them in 5G if the federal government allows their participation,” a company spokesperson said.

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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.

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The company intends to launch the network by the end of 2020. (Financial Post)

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Talking point: Telus’s decision comes one week after SaskTel received provincial approval to buy Huawei equipment for its non-core 4G network. The two telecoms are moving ahead with Huawei despite warnings from Canadian and U.S. national security experts, who claim it poses a national security risk due to its connections with Chinese intelligence. The Canadian government has yet to decide whether it will impose restrictions on Huawei. Telus’s announcement comes the same day as its fourth-quarter earnings, in which it reported a 2.5 per cent quarterly revenue increase to $3.9 billion, and forecasted that revenue will grow six to eight per cent this year. Unlike competitor Rogers, which recently announced plans to increase its capital expenditure this year, Telus said it will spend $2.75 billion, a drop from $2.9 billion in 2019.

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As part of the financing—for which RBC Capital Markets acted as agent—Telus will become the preferred wireless provider for the urban-tech company and will gain two positions on Miovision’s board of directors. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Founded in 2005, Miovision’s smart-traffic platform is used by 17,000 municipalities to “modernize” their traffic management. The company plans to use its new capital to “accelerate” the growth of its platforms and increase its workforce. Miovision CEO Kurtis McBride told The Globe and Mail he envisions the company helping create open data civic infrastructures for cities. McBride said Telus’s involvement could give the telecommunications giant access to build its 5G network by attaching “small cells” to Miovision’s traffic infrastructure. A spokesperson told The Logic the two companies are “also exploring other ways the two companies can work together to help cities gain access to the data they need to make city life better for their citizens,” but wouldn’t offer further details.

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The Canadian telecom’s international unit is acquiring Berlin-based Competence Call Center (CCC) using a mixture of debt and equity, and is planning to take it public within 24 months. (The Logic, Business in Vancouver)

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Talking point: The acquisition will be one of the largest transactions in Telus International’s history. The company said it expects the combined annualized revenue in 2019 to pass $1.75 billion and its earnings to increase to about $400 million. Post-merger, Telus International will have a team 50,000 strong, working in 20 countries across North and Central America, Europe and Asia to beef up its content-moderation efforts, which include monitoring websites and social media platforms for clients. The CCC acquisition comes two months after Telus closed a deal to buy the home security firm ADT Security Services Canada for $700 million.

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The bureau is calling for a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) policy that would require the Big Three to sell access to regional carriers like Freedom Mobile and Vidéotron, as part of a 51-page submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The sale requirement would be temporary and contingent on regional carriers expanding their own networks. The bureau is also calling for a reduction in roaming rates, and tower-sharing and site-access rules that would benefit smaller carriers. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The most significant ask from the bureau was echoed in the platform of the recently re-elected Liberal Party. Both want MVNOs to become a bigger part of Canada’s wireless landscape. There’s another powerful group pushing for the same thing: in July, my colleague Murad broke the news that Google was asking Ottawa to make it easier to expand MVNOs in Canada. The company already runs one, Google Fi, in the United States. Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw have all opposed widespread MVNO rollouts in their own recent submissions to the CRTC; the telecoms will now have until March 23, 2020 to submit to the CRTC again and challenge the Competition Bureau’s proposed regulatory framework. During the election campaign, the Liberals said they wanted to work with telecoms for two years and then step in if prices don’t go down enough. The bureau is offering the Liberals a path forward for how to do the latter.

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The telecommunications firm added 193,000 customers in the third quarter. Churn, the rate at which customers switch to competitors, rose slightly to 1.09 per cent. Net income declined 1.6 per cent from the same period a year ago to $440 million. Dividends increased to 58.25 cents per share, up from 56.25 cents per share. Shares were up four per cent as publication time.(The Logic)

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Talking point: Telus, Rogers and Bell launched unlimited data plans this summer—a move that seems to have hit Rogers the hardest while leaving Bell and Telus relatively unscathed. Instead, Telus attributed its profit dip to increased costs associated with technology investments and acquisitions; its $700-million purchase of ADT Canada, an automated-security firm, closed Wednesday. Heightened competition and an unwillingness to match its rivals’ “uneconomic market offers” accounted for the increase in customer churn, it said. The company said its dividends, which grew despite the profit slip, will be supported by increased free cash flow from investments in its network, as well as lower capital expenditures over 2020 and 2021. To support that growth, the firm will have to keep abreast of the competition in the increasingly competitive telecom space, which could become even more aggressive if the Liberals follow through on their plan to introduce new competition.