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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.

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Acquiring the Canadian arm of the U.S.-based home-security company gives Telus its roughly 500,000 customers, five times the number currently signed up for the telecom’s SmartHome Security and Secure Business services. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year, following regulatory approval and other closing conditions. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Telus launched its security service last year, with features including fire, flood and break-in monitoring, remote locking and thermostat control and home health monitoring. It brought Telus into competition with other Canadian telecoms that have invested in the space. Bell acquired Toronto-based AlarmForce in January 2018 to expand its connected-home services (it sold the home-security firm’s Western Canada operations to Telus). Rogers has also offered smart-home monitoring since 2011. A home-security service is one more thing the telecoms can offer to try to stem their losses from cord-cutting.

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A report from Opensignal, an analytics firm, found that Telus outpaced Bell and Rogers in 4G availability, download speed, video experience—based on load times and frequency of interruptions—and latency, referring to the lag time in live communication apps. Telus and Rogers tied in upload speed. (The Logic)

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Talking point: While Telus outpaced the other two firms in most of the categories, it wasn’t by a significant amount. For example, the report noted that Telus was the first to reach 90 per cent 4G availability at 90.1 per cent, which means users were able to access the network that percentage of the time. Rogers and Bell were behind by just a few percentage points, at 87.9 per cent and 88.6 per cent, respectively. Opensignal noted incremental advances in 4G are now expected in Canada as companies turn their attention to launching 5G. But one 4G metric operators are still improving upon is download speed: peak speeds passed 180 MBps across the country; in Montreal and Toronto, Telus speeds neared 300 MBps.

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Bell is offering a $75 monthly plan including up to 10 gigabytes of full-speed data per month; once that’s surpassed, it will offer unlimited data at slower speeds. Telus will charge $75 a month for 15 gigabytes of full-speed data with a standard overage fee. The Bell offer will end June 30; Telus’ will end July 2. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The moves come as the CRTC plans to hold a hearing on the wireless market in January, where it is expected to encourage lower prices and more competition among carriers. Bell and Rogers’ approach is new for Canada’s Big Three telecoms, which have been slow to adopt so-called “unlimited” data plans relative to their U.S. counterparts. However, though the plans are being advertised as being unlimited, they aren’t quite—in Rogers’ case, after users hit the full-speed data threshold, they will be throttled to 256 Kbps, a significant reduction. Freedom Mobile has been offering a similar “unlimited” plan for a while now in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. It offers 10 gigabytes of full-speed data for $60 a month, with an additional four gigabytes on its own regional network and one gigabyte nationally. The carrier also throttles its download speeds after that to 256 Kbps, though its upload speeds are slower, at 128 Kbps.

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Telus reported higher profits, revenue and earnings per share in its first-quarter results, compared with its results from the same period a year ago. Part of the growth came from data services, in both the wireless and wired (like fibre optics) divisions. The company raised its shareholder dividend on the news, but the stock fell 0.97 per cent in late-afternoon trading. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Telus is no longer categorizing new customers by prepaid and postpaid, the latter of which analysts rely heavily on. Telus reported 11,000 new wireless customers, lagging behind the 38,282 for Bell, 48,000 for Freedom and 39,800 for Vidéotron. Regional players are generally outpacing the Big Three in new-customer sign-ups. However, Telus only counts mobile phone customers in that number. The company also signed up 49,000 connected devices that it’s counting in a separate category, including tablets, internet keys, wearables and connected automobile systems, according to Erin Dermer, director of media relations. In a piece of good news for Telus: the Canadian government is putting the decision on whether or not to ban Huawei on the back burner. Telus had previously warned that such a ban would pose a material risk to the company.

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The court ruled that individual customers must pursue their claims via arbitration because of the terms of their service agreements with the telecommunications company. The subject of the attempted class action was Telus’ policy of rounding the number of minutes a call used in a caller’s plan up to the nearest minute. The proposed class involved two million Ontario residents, 600,000 of whom were business users. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The ruling could save Telus some money. The lawsuit was seeking $500 million in damages; each business customer will now have to decide whether to pursue their own arbitration case, instead of the cheaper and easier route of simply qualifying for the class. But it could also be an important precedent for arbitration clauses. The court decided that Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act—which overrides compulsory negotiation rules—doesn’t apply to business customers.