ARCHIVED - Telecom Order CRTC 2003-429

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Telecom Order CRTC 2003-429

  Ottawa, 28 October 2003

TELUS Communications Inc.

  Reference: Tariff Notice 74

Withdrawal of dual line call manager


The application


The Commission received an application by TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI), dated 1 November 2002, proposing to withdraw Dual Line Call Manager service (DLCM). TCI stated that DLCM was an optional local service provided in Alberta to residential and individual business line customers for a one-time charge of $25. TCI indicated that DLCM facilitates the management and control of incoming calls in two-line households and businesses by allowing customers to answer incoming calls to either line from either the primary or associated line.


TCI submitted that:

i) there had been limited market demand for the service in both the residential and business markets;


ii) the current customer base was small and declining;


iii) as there was no opportunity of expanding this service to British Columbia due to equipment limitations and capital constraints, withdrawing DLCM would move TCI towards harmonizing and rationalizing its products in Alberta and British Columbia; and


iv) residential second line penetration, which was a major driver of expected demand, was declining.


TCI stated that upon approval of its application, it would reimburse the $25 one-time fee to each customer.


TCI submitted that there are alternative services that can replace DLCM, including SMART Ring, 2-line Multi-line with hunting, Call Forward Busy, and 2-line telephones.


The Commission received comments from Mr. Glen Little dated 14 November 2002, Mr. Mark Morris dated 19 November 2002 and Mr. Don Bradshaw dated 19 November 2002. The Commission received reply comments from TCI dated 16 December 2002.

Positions of parties


Mr. Little, Mr. Morris and Mr. Shaw argued that the first paragraph of TCI's customer notification letter was misleading in suggesting that DLCM was obsolete and could be replaced with less costly and more efficient solutions. They submitted that the alternative services listed by TCI do not provide the same functionality and were more expensive for customers. Mr. Little and Mr. Morris noted that 2-line phones would require the purchase of new equipment and could require new wiring in the home.


Mr. Little submitted that the fact that the service would not be offered in British Columbia was not a sufficient reason to withdraw the service in Alberta.


Mr. Morris suggested that, at minimum, the service should continue to be available for existing customers.

TCI's reply


In response, TCI submitted that the notification letter was not intended to mislead customers and that the first paragraph was an excerpt from the company's standard notification letter for service withdrawals. TCI indicated that the intent of the letter was to advise customers of the availability of the application for public inspection.


TCI submitted that a 2-line phone was a viable and reasonably priced alternative that could replace most of the functions of DLCM. TCI stated that calls to either of two lines could be answered on any 2-line phone and a visual indicator would let customers know which line was being called. TCI stated that the customer would not be able to put a call on hold and then answer it from the other line using the 2-line phone, but submitted that this feature was not necessary as a call to either line can be answered from any 2-line phone in the house.


TCI stated that corded 2-line phones could be purchased for as low as $89.98 and cordless 2-line phones could be purchased for as low as $149.98.


TCI submitted that as 2-line phones will accept two separate 2-wire telephone line cords as input, re-wiring would only be required for locations where a 2-line phone was required and the phone jacks for the two lines were too far apart. TCI indicated that a 2-line cordless phone would likely reduce the requirement for wiring work.


TCI further submitted that to retain this service, even for a few customers, would require TCI to maintain information regarding the service in a number of systems, as well as numerous processes to ensure that frontline personnel are trained to handle incoming queries from customers and maintenance personnel can perform service repair and testing.

Commission analysis and determination


The Commission notes that TCI indicated that the demand for DLCM was limited and declining. The Commission also notes that DLCM is an optional service and that similar functionality to DLCM can be obtained from 2-line phones, which permit customers to answer calls from either of two lines from any 2-line phone in the home or place of business. In view of this, the Commission considers that TCI can stop offering DLCM to new customers.


The Commission notes, however, that the lowest price for a corded 2-line phone, $89.98, is higher than the one-time charge of $25 for DLCM service and that 2-line phones do not have call hold functionality. Furthermore, customers may require additional jacks and wiring work in order to use 2-line phones.


The Commission notes that TCI indicated that maintaining DLCM service would require it to maintain customer information and continue training processes for frontline and maintenance personnel, but did not provide an estimate of the costs associated with these processes. In the Commission's view, the costs to maintain customer information and provide training would not be significant.


Accordingly, the Commission considers that it would not be appropriate for TCI to stop offering the service to existing customers. The Commission is of the view that it would not be appropriate for TCI to refund the one-time charge of $25 to those customers who have the option to maintain DLCM, but choose to terminate the service.


In light of the above, the Commission denies TCI's application to withdraw DLCM and directs TCI to continue to provide the service to existing customers, excluding on moves or rearrangements. The Commission also directs TCI to notify DLCM customers of the Commission's decision.
  Secretary General
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Date Modified: 2003-10-28

Date modified: