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    Telus grabs rich federal job away from BCE  
    Vancouver Sun  
   

By Fiona Anderson

 
    Friday, June 29, 2007  
   

Contract pays $ 213 million over 5 years

Telus Corp. is continuing its march eastward, winning a lucrative federal government contract that was previously in the hands of rival and former potential merger partner BCE Inc.

It’s the third time in less than a year the Vancouver- based telecommunications company — the second largest in the country — has snatched a government contract out of the hands of its larger Montreal- based competitor.

Under the newest contract — estimated to be worth $ 213 million over five years — Telus will provide and manage the telecommunications services for the Department of National Defence both at its national and international locations.

Whenever members of DND need to communicate with each other Telus “ will manage that network . . . [ and] provide the secure transportation of data and information from any point within that network,” Telus’s president of business solutions, Joe Natale said in an interview.

And while the focus is currently on data, the network could eventually support both voice and video, he said.

“ One of the reasons they picked us is that we’ve really built some reputation for what’s being known as ‘ converged’ networks that allow all those types of traffic to be routed and managed on one single network,” Natale said. “ So we’re starting with data and we’re going to expand over the course of time.”

The contract, while currently for a five- year term, is renewable in one- year increments for up to nine years.

Telus came out a big winner in February as well when the federal government awarded it almost $ 42 million worth of wireless contracts, while Rogers Communications Inc., Canada’s largest cellphone provider, received $ 35 million and Bell was left with the dregs — contracts worth less than $ 350,000.

And in September, the Ontario government left eastern- based Bell for western- based Telus with its $ 140- million telecom services contract.

Six years ago Telus had a few hundred employees east of Alberta and now it has 10,000 in Ontario and Quebec alone.

“ In the span of the last many years we’ve added the federal government, we’ve added major banks, major insurance companies, the CBC, Imperial Oil, the list goes on of central- Canadabased companies that are now part of the Telus family,” Natale said. “ So we couldn’t be more excited on that front.”

“ It feels nice to win one,” he added.

Iain Grant, managing director at Montreal- based telecommunications consultant SeaBoard Group, said Telus is winning the contracts away from Bell because it is more aggressive.

“ Their pencils are sharper, they’re hungrier,” Grant said.

“[ Bell] has to stop being distracted by its ownership question and it’s probably time for them to get back to work,” Grant added. “ Otherwise Telus is going to win all the business.”

When contacted by the Vancouver Sun, Bell spokesman Pierre LeClerc said the company had no comment.

 


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