ARCHIVED - Telecom Order CRTC 2003-159

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Telecom Order CRTC 2003-159

Ottawa, 22 April 2003

Aliant Telecom Inc.

Reference: NewTel Tariff Notice 669

Withdrawal of public mobile telephone service in Newfoundland

The Commission approves an application by Aliant Telecom Inc. (Aliant Telecom) to withdraw public mobile telephone service in Newfoundland, conditional upon Aliant Telecom reimbursing each subscriber $2,000 to ease conversion to an alternative service.

The application


The Commission received an application by Aliant Telecom Inc. (Aliant Telecom), dated 1 March 2002, proposing to withdraw public mobile telephone service from NewTel Communications Inc.'s (NewTel's) General Tariff.


Aliant Telecom submitted that the major components of the service were no longer manufactured, the manufacturer no longer supported this equipment, and spare parts were no longer available. Aliant Telecom further submitted that in the event of a service failure, the company would not have sufficient spare parts to restore service within a reasonable period of time and possible could not restore service.


Aliant Telecom stated that in the last seven years the customer base had declined by 75%, the average revenue per subscriber had declined by 57% and the average cost per subscriber had increased by 114%.


Aliant Telecom also submitted that cellular service and satellite services were superior alternatives. Aliant Telecom stated that satellite services were available throughout the province.



Aliant Telecom notified its customers in writing in May 2002 of its plan to withdraw public mobile telephone service, indicating that customers could provide comments to the Commission.


Comments were received from the Newfoundland and Labrador Ambulance Operators Association on behalf of three non-profit ambulance operators (ambulance operators association); Mr. Kelvin Parsons, M.H.A. Burgeo-LaPoile District; Mr. Allister Hann, Mayor of the Town of Burgeo; Mr. Gregg Hillier, Burgeo Diversification Development Board; Mr. Andrew Moriarity; Mr. Glenn Burton; Mr. Lee LaFosse, on behalf of outfitters in the area of Burgeo; and Mr. John Vallis on behalf of the Harbour Breton Lions Ambulance Committee.


Aliant Telecom filed reply comments. Aliant Telecom also filed further information in response to questions that were addressed to it.

Interveners' comments


The interveners requested that the application be denied. They expressed concern about safety and the affordability of alternative services, noting that cellular service was not available in remote areas and the option of satellite service would be more expensive than public mobile telephone service. The ambulance operators association and Mr. LaFosse submitted that the application should only be approved if Aliant Telecom provided some form of compensation.

Aliant Telecom's reply


Aliant Telecom submitted that it planned to continue expanding cellular coverage and that its affiliate, Stratos Global Corporation (Stratos Global), had agreed to provide discounted satellite sets and usage fees to the affected customers.

Commission analysis and determinations


That Commission notes that, in response to questions regarding the pricing of alternative services, Aliant Telecom stated that the Stratos Global satellite sets would cost approximately $2,000. Aliant Telecom stated that it would be prepared to provide a one-time payment of $500 to residence customers, but that it would not be appropriate to provide ongoing discounts should the Commission direct the company to provide a one-time payment that is greater than $500.


Aliant Telecom also indicated that satellite service was available from competitive providers at prices that were higher than the prices for the Stratos Global service.


The Commission notes that it approved the withdrawal of similar services to that of Aliant Telecom's public mobile telephone service by Bell Canada and TELUS Communications Inc. in Withdrawal of Remote Radio Service in Ontario, Order CRTC 2000-256, 5 April 2000, and TELUS Communications Inc. - Withdrawal of Mobile and Ship Stations - MF/HF, Telecom Decision CRTC 2002-60, 27 September 2002. In both cases, the approval of the withdrawal was conditional upon the company providing compensation towards the costs of an alternative service.


The Commission finds that the declining demand for public mobile telephone service, together with the older technology involved, justify the withdrawal of the service from NewTel's tariff.


The Commission considers that based on the information provided by Aliant Telecom, the amount of $2,000 would cover virtually all of the costs of affected customers acquiring, as an alternative service, the lowest priced satellite equipment available in Newfoundland and Labrador.


In light of the above, the Commission approves the withdrawal of the service, conditional upon Aliant Telecom reimbursing $2,000 to each subscriber to ease conversion to an alternative service.


The Commission's approval will take effect 21 days after Aliant Telecom mails written notice to persons who were subscribers on the date of its application advising them of the day on which the service will be withdrawn and that it will provide each such subscriber $2,000 towards the cost of subscribing to an alternative service.

Secretary General

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Date Modified: 2003-04-22

Date modified: