Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Telus - Putting Down Roots in Bell's Back Yard

This is really a plain Jane news item from yesterday, but I've been on a roll lately talking about the Canadian market, so why stop a good thing.

In short, Telus just announced plans to build a serious office presence in downtown Toronto. These things are always strategic in nature, and the location is no coincidence. Their new building is adjacent to the Air Canada Center (home of the NHL Leafs and NBA Raptors), and across the way is Rogers Center (home of the Blue Jays). Yes, that Rogers - Rogers Wireless, Rogers Cable, etc. And of course, they're in spitting distance of BCE Place, Bell's crown jewel in our financial district. It's hard to tell from the photo, but they just might be blocking BCE Place's view of the lake. And, on a practical note, the building is next to Union Station, the main terminus for all the suburbanites pouring into the financial district every day to work. The Globe & Mail article has more details, including an artist's rendering of the new building.

This actually is the third recent announcement about Telus putting down roots in Eastern Canada, which is Bell territory through and through. On June 29, they announced a groundbreaking in downtown Ottawa for their local employees, right by our Parliament Buildings. And on July 4, they announced a Montreal call center facility.

Well, I guess you do what you can to say you've arrived. Bell may have Inukshuk as a pipeline to compete in Western Canada, which Telus cannot really counter straight up. So, you do other things, and nothing says more about being serious in going after a market than investing locally to support your people. Certainly a strong message with these announcements.

So long as their wireless growth continues to drive growth and keep their share price strong, Telus is in a good position to make moves like this. For the sake of keeping the market competitive, and keeping consumers well-served, let's hope this translates into new business. We know Bell will get its share out West, and now let's see what Telus can do in the East.

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