Avoids duplicated network build-out representing over $500 million in capital expenditures; Canadians to benefit from new competition, faster deployment of 3G wireless services
Scarborough, Ontario - TELUS Mobility, the national wireless telecommunications business unit of TELUS Corporation ("TELUS", TSE: T, T.A; NYSE: TU), today announced that it has entered into Agreements with Bell Mobility, including its affiliates, and Aliant Telecom Wireless that will enable a more cost-effective and efficient rollout of next-generation wireless digital services across Canada, particularly in smaller urban centres and rural areas.
These reciprocal Agreements extend and enhance current roaming and resale agreements by, among other things, reducing the wholesale pricing for such services to encourage the use of existing digital CDMA (code division multiple access) networks. Participating carriers will be able to profitably attract new subscribers and significantly extend non-urban digital roaming coverage for existing clients without building duplicate CDMA digital networks in areas not previously covered by their respective digital networks. At the same time, participating carriers will be able to derive more use and revenue from existing, underutilized facilities in less-populated areas.
"These Agreements allow us to offer competitive new services to millions of Canadians in hundreds of communities across Ontario, Qubec and Atlantic Canada, while speeding the rollout of our next-generation wireless services nationwide," said George Cope, President and Chief Executive Officer of TELUS Mobility. "The agreements greatly expand our digital CDMA coverage across Canada, improving our quality of service and significantly increasing our addressable market, while avoiding significant capital and operating expenditures. We will now have tremendous flexibility to accelerate the introduction of high-speed Third Generation (3G) wireless technologies on a very cost-effective basis."
The Agreements facilitate the provision of advanced digital services on a national basis, the promotion of additional cell-site utilization, the significant reduction of capital expenditures, and the potential to realize operating cost savings. Canadians in many non-urban areas will benefit from additional wireless competition, choice and advanced digital services that this Agreement is expected to foster. The Agreements do not alter the up-to-four wireless player competitive environment that exists in most major urban markets across Canada. As it has previously announced, Bell Mobility plans to invest more than $180 million to build its digital network in major urban centres in Alberta and British Columbia.
By avoiding the duplicated build-out of each other's non-urban digital footprints, TELUS Mobility and Bell Mobility would each avoid capital expenditures in excess of $500 million, in addition to related annual operating expenses, over the 10-year term of the Agreements.
Under the terms of these Agreements, TELUS Mobility's national digital CDMA wireless service coverage, currently at approximately 64%, is expected to be extended to approximately 87% of the Canadian population, or by more than 7 million POPs1. This includes significant population centres such as: Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Sarnia, North Bay, Timmins, Cornwall, Chatham, Belleville, Woodstock, Stratford, Brockville, Trenton and the Muskoka Lakes area in Ontario; Beauport, Chicoutimi, Jonquière, Trois-Rivières, Drummondville, Aylmer and Val d'Or in Québec; Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick; St. John's, Newfoundland; Charlottetown, PEI; Sydney and Lunenburg in Nova Scotia; and many more. Important traffic corridors, such as the 400-series highways in Ontario, and major routes in Québec and the Atlantic provinces will also have greatly improved digital CDMA coverage.
TELUS Mobility has signed Agreements with Bell Mobility, covering its affiliates NorTel Mobility, Télébec Mobilité and Northwestel Mobility, and with Aliant, covering the Aliant Telecom Wireless companies - MTT Mobility, NBTel Mobility, NewTel Mobility and IslandTel Mobility.
Parties to the Agreements will provide network interconnections to enable, as commercially and technically practicable, the seamless provision of voice and data services across Canada. TELUS Mobility remains committed to existing analog roaming arrangements with Rogers AT&T Wireless in Manitoba, Ontario and Québec, and other roaming arrangements with Manitoba Telecom Service Inc. in Manitoba and SaskTel in Saskatchewan. TELUS Mobility's Mike Network is not included in the Agreements.
TELUS Mobility provides a full suite of wireless services to more than 2.3 million clients across Canada. For more information, please visit us at www.telusmobility.com. TELUS Corporation (TSE: T, T.A; NYSE: TU) is one of Canada's leading telecommunications companies, providing a full range of telecommunications products and services that connect Canadians to the world. The company is the leading service provider in Western Canada and provides data, Internet Protocol, voice and wireless services to Central and Eastern Canada.
1A POP is defined as one person living in a population area included in a wireless networks coverage area
TELUS Mobility and Bell will hold a joint conference call with investors and financial analysts at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Media are invited to listen in to this conference by calling (416) 695-5801 or (800) 478-9326. The conference call will also be available live on the Web site at www.telus.com/investorcall.
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This news release and management discussion and analysis contains statements about expected future events and financial and operating results of that are forward-looking and subject to risks and uncertainties. TELUS' actual results, performance, or achievement could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements are qualified in their entirety by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations and may not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers or divestitures. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include but are not limited to: general business and economic conditions in Canada and in TELUS' service territories; competition in wireline and wireless services, including voice, data and Internet services and within the Canadian telecommunications industry generally; levels of capital expenditures; corporate restructurings and successful integration of acquisitions; capital and operating expense savings; adverse regulatory action; collective agreement negotiations; technological advances; the effect of health and safety concerns and other risk factors described in TELUS' comprehensive public disclosure documents, including the Annual Information Form for 2000, and in other filings with securities commissions in Canada and the U.S. TELUS disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.