RoW People

BCE Inc. has made a major change within its management ranks. Jean Monty announced his resignation as chair and CEO last week. Michael Sabia will add the CEO post to his responsibilities, while continuing to serve as president and COO. Richard Currie will become non-executive chair. Monty joined BCE in 1997 as president and COO. He added the CEO title in 1998. Prior to joining BCE, he was with Nortel Networks Corp., where he became president and COO in 1992 and added the CEO position the following year.

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RoW Short Takes

Microcell integrates i5 operations under PCS banner
Microcell Telecommunications Inc. decided to integrate Microcell i5 operations under the Microcell PCS banner earlier this month. This marks the second such move in the last month as the company tries to streamline operations, cut costs and eliminate duplication within the executive ranks (RoW, April 3/02). Microcell i5 was formed nearly two years ago with a mandate to develop and operate mobile Internet services for its own customers and for other carriers. Its flagship product, Masq, was launched in September 2001 and was dubbed as "a range of flexible user authentication and mobile signature solutions" (RoW, Sept. 18/01). Demand for such services by other network operators didn’t materialize, however, as Sirois and team weren’t able to make a single sale. The company has thus decided to discontinue external marketing of Masq.

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Former QUALCOMM executive joins Wmode board to provide strategic advice

Wireless micropayment system provider Wmode has lured a former QUALCOMM senior executive to sit on its board of directors, a move the company’s head says reinforces the credibility of its technology and product offering. On April 17, Wmode appointed Robert Blakeney to its board, who will be tapped to provide strategic advice and direction as the Calgary-based company tries to make its ClearMode product the de facto wireless content billing standard for the industry.

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Regulatory bodies shouldn’t make special deals with conglomerates, conference told

The CRTC and other government regulatory bodies shouldn’t cave into pressure from large conglomerates when faced with difficult regulatory and policy conundrums, a communications law conference was told last week. This was one of the key arguments made by Chris Taylor, an Ottawa-based communications lawyer, who presented a paper on communications regulation in the near future, The Shape of Things to Come: Regulatory Choices in Communications Over the Next Five Years.

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Access to capital or selling out to foreign players? Ownership debate continues

Discussions surrounding current foreign ownership limits for telecom and broadcasting companies continue unabated as both sides of the debate remain divided on the benefits to and impact on Canadian common carriers. While proponents of relaxing current limits believe Canadian companies would gain access to more foreign capital, those opposed to the idea say loosening rules simply provides an easy way out for struggling companies.

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Telecom carrier spending to pick up early next year, says FSO product developer

Vancouver-based fSONA Communications expects to begin shipping volume quantities of free space optics (FSO) products in the third or fourth quarter of this year, a signal of greater spending by telecom carriers to come, according to the company’s president and CEO. Despite renewed reports from telecommunications equipment manufacturers and analysts that the telecom turnaround will take longer than previously anticipated, Theresa Carbonneau says fSONA is well positioned to capitalize on a rebound in spending.

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Carriers and government spar over “duty to disclose” provision in Bill C-36

Legal experts and the federal government are at odds over the potential effects of Bill C-36, particularly its requirement to force telecom providers to disclose potential terrorist activity. At a session of the New Developments in Communications Law and Policy Conference in Ottawa April 26, senior legal advisors from Bell Canada, a University of Toronto law professor, and representatives of the federal Department of Justice sparred over measures to comply with the Anti-Terrorism Act (RoW, April 3/02).

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NL Update

Shakeup at BCE as Monty quits, Teleglobe hung out to dry
Jean Monty surprised most people last week when he stepped down as chair/CEO of BCE Inc. following the release of Q1 results. Michael Sabia, president and COO, succeeds him as CEO, and Richard J. Currie as non-executive chairman.
The results were generally good for Bell Canada, which saw revenues increase four per cent, due to growth in data, wireless, and satellite TV. Local and access were up three percent, while LD dropped by seven per cent. It was disclosed that Bell will implement a $5/month increase over the coming months for existing Sympatico High Speed Edition Internet customers currently paying $39.95/month in order to bring rates in line for all high-speed customers. At the same time, a bandwidth charge will also apply for usage over prescribed bandwidth levels.

BCE also announced it was halting long-term funding of Teleglobe. All BCE-affiliated members have resigned from the Teleglobe board. More details:

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