02/20/2020 16:11 EST | Updated 02/20/2020 16:30 EST

Telus Could Cut 5,000 Jobs If New CRTC Rules Put In Place, CEO Says

Consumer advocacy group OpenMedia called Darren Entwistle's comments "bullying."

Ben Nelms / Reuters
Telus CEO Darren Entwistle speaks at the company's annual general meeting in Vancouver, B.C., May 8, 2014. Entwistle is warning Telus will cut spending and jobs if it has to sell space on its wireless network to MVNOs.

GATINEAU, Que. ― 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 to 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 before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) 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 (MVNOs).

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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.

“This is a brutal bullying tactic, and further evidence of how Big Telecom holds way too much power in our wireless market – and they know it,” said Laura Tribe, OpenMedia’s executive director, in a statement released Thursday.

Tribe added that “facilities-based competition hasn’t worked, and MVNOs are the solution.”

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.

― With a file from HuffPost Canada

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