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More Hints at New iPhone, Fido to Deplete iPhone Stock

appleFido GSM telecom in Canada, owned by Rogers who has a complete monopoly over the GSM networks in Canada, has announced today it will not be reordering any new stock of the 16GB 3G iPhone and will simply let the existing stock completely deplete as of the beginning of April.

The move indicates the company could be readying the launch of a new iPhone model by the summer as is widely rumored. Apple most recently unveiled the new iPhone 3.0 OS that features many enhancements, you can find a complete round up here, including screens and the new features.

It is also widely rumored Apple could be releasing an iPhone with a slide out QWERTY keyboard given the new support for push notifications for Gmail on the new 3.0 OS.

Rogers added 199,000 new mobile subscribers in Q4 of 2008 alone, and sold 385,000 iPhone devices across Canada in all of 2008.

Rogers and Fido remain the only companies capable of carrying the iPhone. The Canadian government more recently outlined plans to bring in new competitors to ease the tight grip that a few companies hold on the Canadian mobile telecom market. There are even rumors T-Mobile could expand into Canada.

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Telus Expects Profits up 10% in 2009

telusTelus has announced today that it expects a strong 2009. The company says total profits (before tax) should be up 4%-6% over 2008 with EPS ranging within $3.40-$3.75. EPS was previously forecasted in 2008 to be $3.30-$3.45 in 2009. The company says most of the profits will come from its wireless operations, direct wireless sales are only expected to grow by 2.5% to about $5.10 billion. The company said it expects EBITDA to be $3.9 billion in 09, up about 4% YoY. The company is expected to continue its joint plan with Bell to change its CDMA network to GSM across Canada. Robert McFarlane from Telus told Reuters “we’re not working on an acquisition of BCE.” BCE also failed a recent merger with private investors.

Telus was also the first to roll out the BlackBerry Storm in North America about a week ago. Please see the previous link for my thoughts on the BlackBerry Storm. Telus remains the only Canadian carrier that offers unlimited mobile internet in Canada. Please note that if you read the fine print of the terms of use, it is still capped, but no specific amount is stated. Some people have received notices concerning their excessive usage, but the service is still sufficient for the very heavy user.

Telus has also made significant recent investments, including the launch of its discount carrier Koodo more than a year ago. Koodo was the first to offer discounted rates, including no system access fees. Fido has also just offered phone plans without a system access fee after lost sales, more than a year after Koodo firstly did. The Canadian telecom industry remains somewhere between an oligopoly and a monopoly. Rogers has a monopoly over all GSM networks in Canada, while Telus and Bell control the CDMA networks. It may still be a long time before Rogers offers true unlimited internet on mobile phones as does the rest of the world.

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Telus to Cut Costs, Reduces Expectations

Telus, the 2nd largest mobile telecom in Canada, has posted a Q3 profit of $285.3 million ($0.89 per shar), down from $409.3 million ($1.23 per share) year over year. The company earned $2.45 billion in revenue, down from $2.31 billion YoY. The lower profits were essentially expected. Telus now plans to materially cut costs even more than it originally planned. Telus recently has made varoius large investments, including in Koodoo, a subsidary discount telecom, has invested in network upgrades with Bell (who shared the costs – both use CDMA networks), and also spent $882 million in a government airwave spectrum auction. Telus has also lowered its expected fiscal 08 total revenue.

Telus currently offers the most smartphone selection in Canada, and is the only carrier to offer unlimited internet on mobile phones (however, there are still some restrictions in the TOS). Bell and Telus are believed to make the switch to the more desirable GSM mobile network standard from the current CDMA systems. This will help the companies offer more selection, and it will also bring some competition to the GSM Canadian mobile market space where Rogers (also owns Fido) currently has a complete monopoly over. The transition will likely take about 3 years to complete.

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