The war of words between Call-Net Enterprises Inc. and Bell Canada over the competitive toll market is heating up as each side is accusing the other of playing fast and loose with the facts. The battle began last November when the Sprint Canada parent filed a Part VII application accusing Bell Canada and Bell Nexxia of conspiring against it in pursuing a reseller account (NL, Nov. 19/01). In the filing, heavily redacted to protect confidential business information, Call-Net says that it is trying to renew a contract with an un-identified national company that deals mostly in Quebec and Ontario. Both Sprint Canada and the reseller report high churn as a result of Bell’s win-back campaign, the CLEC states. But Bell is promising potential customers it will not engage in a winback fight against the reseller’s client base if it signs on with Bell Canada. "Bell Canada provides Bell Nexxia with a ‘guarantee’ that Bell Canada will not direct win-back campaigns to the customers of resellers who buy wholesale from Bell Nexxia," Call-Net wrote in its original statement, "when such a guarantee is not available to Call-Net and Sprint Canada even if Call-Net and Sprint Canada choose to resell Bell Nexxia (and hence Bell Canada’s) wholesale services." In its Dec. 5, 2001 response, Bell maintains that its competitor "has mischaracterized or has misunderstood the wholesale services being offered by Bell Nexxia" to the prospective customer. Other relevant details were omitted from the Call-Net application, the ILEC offers. As an example, it says Call-Net has not distinguished between wholesale customers who act as resellers and those who operate as rebillers. "In addition, the company does not ‘guarantee’ that it will not engage in win-back activity against end-user customers of resellers which purchase toll and toll free services from the company or Bell Nexxia," the rebuttal asserts. In a further reply on Dec. 17, Sprint dismissed such claims. "This distinction is totally meaningless in the context of the specific complaint filed by Call-Net – namely that Bell Canada and or through Bell Nexxia provides assurances in the nature of ‘guarantees’ to a potential wholesale customer that its end-users will not be solicited for winback by Bell Canada," the firm writes. "The attempt to distinguish between a ‘reseller’ and a ‘rebiller’ is reminiscent of Bell Nexxia’s attempt to distinguish between its role as Bell Canada’s ‘agent’ and Bell Canada’s ‘reseller’ during the price caps proceeding, and should be viewed by the commission as splitting hair to avoid regulatory scrutiny." Bell takes part of the competitor’s original filing and throws it back at the complainant. "Call-Net has made reference to the company’s aggressive win-back activities against resellers," the telco notes. "The company concurs with and confirms Call-Net’s description of the vigorous competitive rivalry that exists within this segment of the toll market and notes that Call-Net itself has been a strong and highly aggressive competitor in this marketplace." Sprint says that claim is irrelevant because, even though the CRTC has forborne regulation of the market under Decision 97-16, the commission has kept section 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act to curb just the sort of actions it is alleging Bell engaged in. That section deals with undue preference in access for the former Stentor companies. Bell maintains that implementing the relief that Sprint seeks would be unworkable. "The order being sought by Call-Net, if granted by the commission, would essentially preclude the company or Bell Nexxia from answering the most basic questions from wholesale customers, the answers to which would be of importance to these customers who are contemplating purchasing the company’s or Bell Nexxia’s services." Call-Net is hoping for a quick decision in the matter, having asked the CRTC for an expedited order.