Saskatchewan’s incumbent telco SaskTel in May announced plans to roll out video and teleconferencing services based on Brampton, Ont.-based Nortel Networks’ Multimedia Communications portfolio. The US$5 million deal will see SaskTel offer up video calling, picture caller ID, conferencing and file exchange services. As well, the carrier will employ Nortel’s Succession Voice over IP (VoIP) equipment to support video calls and packet voice services. Elroy Jopling, an analyst with Gartner Inc., said SaskTel could use the new services to bolster business-class applications, such as integrated voice and data offerings for Saskatchewan call centres.

10-digit dialling delay in 519?

Bell Canada in April suggested that the CRTC should delay implementing 10-digit local dialling and a new area code in Southwestern Ontario. The carrier points out that the current “519” area code region, including Waterloo and London, Ont., will not run out of telephone numbers as soon as originally predicted. The CRTC expected 519 to run out of numbers in June 2006, but recent data suggests the area code will not reach exhaustion until December 2007, Bell says, adding that a delay gives businesses more time to prepare for a 10-digit dialling regime.

Canada lucks out on pricing

Canadians pay less money for consumer wireline products than U.S. citizens, according to a report from Montreal-based SeaBoard Group. The study says U.S. prices are approximately 66 per cent higher than they are in Canada. As well, although telephone service is most expensive in Lethbridge, Alta., prices there are lower than they are in the least-expensive U.S. city, Seattle. The SeaBoard Group also learned that Canadians pay fewer taxes on their phone bills, and mobile phone service prices are comparable across the border. For more information, visit