TELUS calls on Industry Minister to review the facts and make a fair decision for all Canadians

TELUS calls on Industry Minister to review the facts and make a fair decision 
for all Canadians 
VANCOUVER, Aug. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - TELUS is calling on Industry Minister James 
Moore to carefully consider all the facts and perspectives about the upcoming 
700 MHz wireless spectrum auction to ensure he makes a fair and thoughtful 
decision on how to proceed. Without clarification, the current auction 
structure has the potential to impact thousands of Canadian jobs, drain 
billions of dollars from Canadian pension plans, and significantly reduce 
investment in rural wireless infrastructure that is critical to improved 
healthcare and education and the competitiveness of Canada's small businesses. 
"We welcome competition from any quarter, and have advocated for lifting 
foreign ownership restrictions in Canada since 2001," said Darren Entwistle, 
TELUS President and CEO. "Our only ask is that we be allowed to compete on a 
level playing field, without being hobbled by special advantages granted to 
foreign companies that dwarf Canada's entire telecom industry." 
The current rules have three critical loopholes that give giant foreign 
carriers like Verizon unfair advantages over Canadian companies: 


    --  The current rules would allow Verizon to bid on two of the four
        blocks of prime wireless spectrum being auctioned, fully half
        the available prime bandwidth which wireless companies will
        require to serve customers into the future, especially in rural
        Canada given the superior signal reach of 700 MHz spectrum.
        This could result in one of Canada's major wireless companies
        as well as the developing wireless firms not acquiring any of
        this vital spectrum at all. Canada has globally-leading
        wireless service quality based on the highest private
        investment in telecom networks per-capita worldwide as
        documented in the recent OECD study. This service quality would
        be compromised if this unfair distribution of spectrum occurs.
    --  The current rules would allow Verizon to build infrastructure
        in urban centres only and ignore rural and suburban Canada. The
        current rules would furthermore allow Verizon to piggyback on
        existing Canadian networks rather than building their own
        network. Notably, if Verizon was required to build their own
        network, it would result in significant job creation and
        economic investment across the country, especially in rural
        Canada.
    --  The current rules would allow Verizon to buy small wireless
        carriers in Canada while preventing Canadian firms like TELUS
        from competing to buy them. This would enable Verizon to
        purchase these firms at artificially depressed values and
        thereby gain access to the spectrum they bought at a 41 per
        cent taxpayer-subsidized discount in 2008.

Since 2000, TELUS has repeatedly argued against asymmetrical rules and has 
raised concerns about these loopholes at every stage of the auction process. 
The industry was assured that it need not be concerned about a huge foreign 
corporation taking advantage of rules that were intended to protect Canada's 
small, developing wireless companies.

"The situation has changed now that Verizon has confirmed it may take 
advantage of these loopholes to gain preferential treatment in Canada, and we 
are calling on the Minister to adapt to that change and close the loopholes," 
commented Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO. "This straightforward 
action would protect Canadian jobs, the many Canadian pension funds that have 
large investments in Canadian telcos, rural investment in wireless and 
wireline networks, and the sustainability of Canada's world-leading wireless 
and wireline service quality. Our request is not to stop Verizon. Rather, our 
ask is only that we be allowed to compete on a level playing field, and that a 
foreign company that dwarfs our entire home-grown industry not be given 
special favours to enter into our market. It would be a simple thing indeed to 
apply the same auction rules to Verizon as those that apply to us, to require 
Verizon to build their own network rather than being gifted the ability to 
piggyback on ours, and to open up the purchase process for Canadian companies 
to all comers rather than reserving these assets for foreign interests. It is 
important to note that the U.S. government is not providing reciprocal, 
preferential treatment for Canadian telecom companies within America."

Ironically, Verizon is on the record opposing well-funded players receiving 
any preferential access to spectrum or special treatment in the next U.S. 
spectrum auction, stating in their filing to the FCC on U.S. Incentive 
Auctions on March 12, 2013 that "… there is no basis for the Commission to 
give certain large companies a regulatory hand-out…so they can acquire 
spectrum…at substantial discount over the price that would otherwise be 
received."

Mr. Entwistle added that time is of the essence, as the first auction deposits 
are due September 17 and there will be no going back after that time unless 
the minister amends the rules or delays the auction in advance of this date in 
order to take the necessary time to consider all of the facts.

"We met with the new Industry Minister for the first time Monday to discuss a 
significant volume of information and share with him a well-considered and 
independently sourced perspective on this critically important matter," Mr. 
Entwistle said. "We think the government owes it to Canadians to take the time 
required to carefully review and consider the information we have provided, as 
well as information only now coming forward from Canada's unions, academics, 
and the business community, before making a decision that will impact our 
country's economy, jobs and pensions for numerous Canadians, and the quality 
of our wireless service for generations to come. Generational investments in 
telecom infrastructure will be impacted by the Minister's decision, and the 
importance of a fair policy that benefits all Canadians cannot be overstated."

Mr. Entwistle added the issue is so critical that the boards of directors of 
TELUS, Bell and Rogers took the unprecedented step of sending the Prime 
Minister a joint letter on July 9. This letter can be found at 
www.FairForCanada.ca in response to Minister Moore's recent statement.

"We encourage Minister Moore to thoughtfully consider the letter from our 
well-regarded and experienced board members and all of the information we have 
provided, and to think through the ramifications of leaving loopholes in the 
auction rules that will hand Corporate America a huge gift at the expense of 
Canadians."

About TELUS 
TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a leading national telecommunications company in 
Canada, with $11 billion of annual revenue and 13.2million customer 
connections, including 7.7million wireless subscribers, 3.4million 
wireline network access lines, 1.4million Internet subscribers and 712,000 
TELUS TV customers. Led since 2000 by President and CEO, Darren Entwistle, 
TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including 
wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and 
video.

In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members 
and retirees have contributed more than $300million to charitable and 
not-for-profit organizations and volunteered 4.8million hours of service to 
local communities since 2000. Fourteen TELUS Community Boards lead TELUS' 
local philanthropic initiatives. TELUS was honoured to be named the most 
outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of 
Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this 
prestigious international recognition.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com.



SOURCE  TELUS Corporation 
Shawn Hall TELUS Social and Media Relations 604-695-6500 604-619-7913 
shawn.hall@telus.com 
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ST: British Columbia
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-0- Aug/01/2013 18:18 GMT
 
 
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