When Bell Calls.....

It sure has been an interesting week or so for Canada's majors in the IP space. Nortel's CEO story is pretty hard to top, and Mark Evans has done some great post-mortems about it.

But there's been an awful lot of other things going on up here. All of a sudden, Canada is becoming an IP hotbed. Consider what's been happening lately.....

- Same week as the Nortel story, Bell hires George Cope away from arch rival Telus to be their COO. This is almost as big as the Nortel story, and is actually bigger in terms of the local telco landscape.

- Nortel sells its corporate HQ to Rogers for $100M. It's located way outside of Toronto - not close to anything except the airport. No idea what Mr. Rogers has in mind here, other than the predictable move to consolidate spread out workers into one location. He did the same thing here in Toronto many years ago by picking up the HQ of Confederation Life which had gone bankrupt. But that building cost next to nothing and is in an absolute prime downtown location. If you're a sports fan, you'd also know that he picked up the SkyDome for a measly $25 million recently, which could turn out to be a great investment (original cost was over $600 million, which we taxpayers are still paying for).

I don't know how you go from that to $100M for Nortel, but one thing's for sure - whatever the cost, it really represents a changing of the guard in the Canadian telecom hierarchy. Point, Rogers. Again. Mr. Rogers likes nothing more than to irritate Bell, and he did a good job of that by scooping Microcell to make Rogers Wireless the #1 wireless operator in Canada. Had Bell grabbed Microcell (based in their Montreal backyard), Rogers would never have been able to catch them. Next irritant - acquiring Call Net (Sprint), giving Rogers CLEC status and an instant entree into telecom by inheriting 500,000 residential customers. Talk about going from 0 to 500k in a hurry. And now, Nortel, which of course is a spinout from Bell. If you can't buy the company, buying the HQ may be the next best thing. So, just like the SkyDome (now called Rogers Center) now has a very prominent "Rogers" logo splashed all over the building, it will be a happy day in Rogers-land when that Nortel logo comes down in Brampton, replaced with the ever-familiar Rogers logo.

- Cable telephony numbers are picking up. The major cablecos here have had some announcements and earnings calls, and are talking up strong growth or jacked up expectations, namely Rogers, Shaw and Cogeco.

- The Telus strike is finally resolved. That's a huge rock to move out of the way, and finally the road seems clear enough for Telus to get going on IP. Shaw hasn't done enough damage yet to force Telus to roll out consumer VoIP, but it certainly is coming.

- Bell Canada launches VoIP in Quebec. They recently launched in Ontario, and as noted in an earlier posting, it's a pretty interesting offering in that you don't need broadband to use it, nor do you need any devices to attach to your phone. Just call Bell and order the service. I think that's pretty neat, and may be the way to go. Well, this week, they announced the same for Quebec. Finally. It's a tacit recognition that Videotron is causing pain and they can't wait any longer. Maybe seeing Videotron hit the 6 figure mark for subscribers was the point of no return.

- Oz Communications lands a deal with Cingular for wireless email. I blogged about this the other day, and it's great to see another Canadian company leading the way in the mobile email space.

So, with all this going on, you have to make some noise to get attention. Well, Bell seems to have something up their sleeve, and we're going to hear about it Monday morning. When you get this in your inbox, it's kind of hard to click "delete" and move on to the next email.....


Check back in with me on Monday - we're under NDA until mid-morning.