Telus would cut 5K jobs and $1B in spending if CRTC approves virtual wireless network operators

The CEO of Telus Corp. says it could cut about $1 billion of spending and 5,000 jobs over the next five years if the CRTC mandates Canada’s wireless companies open their facilities to virtual network operators.

Telus chief executive Darren Entwistle revealed those estimates in the final minutes of nearly four hours of public hearings Thursday before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Gatineau, Que.

Most of the morning and early afternoon hearing was spent with Entwistle and his team of executives and consultants repeatedly saying Canada doesn’t need mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs.

The Telus position is that Canada’s wireless market is already extremely competitive, prices are actually quite affordable contrary to popular belief, and the arrival of MVNOs would set back the deployment of 5G networks.

Executives from some of Canada’s largest national and regional wireless service providers been united in their rejection of mandated MVNOs, which would be given the right to tap into their facilities.

Entwistle emphasized his position by volunteering to submit, confidentially, the Telus board’s instructions for managers to start making plans for cutting spending and jobs if the CRTC chooses MVNOs over facilities-based carriers.

An MVNO is a wireless provider that doesn’t own its own cellphone network. Instead, it leases access from the big telecoms at wholesale rates, and sells plans on that network to consumers. (Aaron Harris/Bloomberg)

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