Take stock – August 5

The federal cabinet has been asked to referee an increasingly nasty, litigious dispute between Telus Corp. (TSX:T) and Bell Canada (TSX:BCE) over a $213-million Defence Department telecom contract.

Telus asks cabinet to referee fight with Bell

OTTAWA — The federal cabinet has been asked to referee an increasingly nasty, litigious dispute between Telus Corp. (TSX:T) and Bell Canada (TSX:BCE) over a $213-million Defence Department telecom contract. The feud over the Global Defence Network Services contract began two years ago when Bell lost a bid to continue providing telephone, wireless, data and Internet protocol services. The changeover to Telus was to have been completed in June 2008, one year after the firm was picked by the federal government for its largest, and perhaps most sensitive, telecommunications contract. But the switch dragged on for months, forcing National Defence to ask Bell to continue providing critical services for its rival — the cost of which was back-billed to Telus. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission was asked to intervene and eventually upheld the price Bell charged. But Telus has petitioned the federal cabinet, asking it to force the regulator to revisit that decision.


Jazz turning up for Thomas Cook contract

MONTREAL — Jazz Air Income Fund is gearing up for the November launch of service to winter hot spots on behalf of Thomas Cook Canada, which previously chartered a Toronto company that filed for bankruptcy last spring. The owner of Air Canada’s regional affiliate Jazz Air LP says it has begun to hire more pilots for at least six Boeing 757-200 aircraft that will serve southern destinations through April. Flight crew training begins in September. The exact number of new hires hasn’t been determined. Some contract pilots will be added during the start-up stage while Jazz pilots are trained to fly the Boeings, which are larger than that other planes in Jazz’s fleet. Thomas Coo is expected to generate about $100 million in additional annual revenue for Jazz (TSX:JAZ.UN) in the first two years.

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