Sale of DMTS gets Dryden council's nod
Dryden city council has approved the purchase of the Dryden Municipal Telephone System and Dryden Mobility by Bell Aliant and Tbaytel.
Council unanimously endorsed a $4.5-million bid from Bell Aliant to purchase the landline and Internet assets of DMTS, and for Tbaytel to take over Dryden Mobility’s customer base and assets, including two tower locations east of the city.
The vote follows a public information meeting last week where residents were briefed on the situation.
The city transition planning has begun, with Tbaytel to assume full ownership and control of Dryden Mobility on Oct. 22, and Bell Aliant to take over DMTS on Jan. 1.
Dryden Mayor Craig Nuttall could not be reached Thursday, but has said the telecommunications sale “makes good business sense . . . as they relate to potential benefits for the city and DMTS/Dryden Mobility customers.’’
DMTS and Dryden Mobility have been great assets, said Nuttall, but “now is the time to consider what is best for (the) future, and for the residents of Dryden moving forward . . . in light of increased competition and technological changes in the telecommunications sector.”
Bell Aliant plans to hire some of the Dryden utility’s more than two dozen employees.
Tbaytel CEO Don Campbell said his company’s offer to purchase the customer assets of Dryden Mobility will provide customers with access to coverage, handsets, price plans and features that they currently do not have access to.
“Our goal will be to ensure a seamless customer transition to our services,” he said.
Closing the transactions remains subject to regulatory approvals by Industry Canada and the CRTC.
The sale was not surprising given the financial struggle the city-owned utility has faced.
In May, the utility released information that showed it had lost about $8 million over the past three years, primarily due to expenditures on cellular business.
Since DMTS entered the cellular market in 2008, the utility has faced strategic and technological hurdles.
Management and staff put in countless hours to deliver a quality service that customers require and expect. The chosen technology, in the end, fell short of promised capabilities.
DMTS and Dryden Mobility have been operating since 1912 and 1996, respectively. The utilities provide a full range of telecommunications services in the Dryden area.
Bell Aliant is one of North America’s largest regional communications providers, serving 5.3 million Canadians. The company employs about 7,000 people in six provinces and has annual revenues of $2.8 billion. Bell Canada Enterprises has a 44 per cent interest in Bell Aliant.
Based in Thunder Bay, Tbaytel is the leading communication solutions provider in Northern Ontario, delivering the region’s largest 4G HSPA+ digital cellular coverage with products and services that include data, voice, wireless, Internet, security and digital TV.