Contract transferred from Bell MTS to Telus, but do you have to move?

Many Manitobans have recently opened their mail to find a letter telling them that they are being moved to a new cellphone provider.

If customers chose not to make that switch there is no termination fee, Telus spokesperson says

Some Manitobans are receiving letters that they have a new cellphone provider. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Many Manitobans have recently opened their mail to find a letter telling them that they are being moved to a new cellphone provider.

But customers don't actually have to go to Telus.

"As you may know, Bell recently completed its purchase of MTS. The federal Competition Bureau has required Bell to transfer a number of MTS wireless contracts to TELUS as part of its approval process. Your contract is one of those being transferred," the letter from MTS said.

BCE Inc. bought Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. in a deal valued at $3.9 billion, which created Bell MTS. Bell picked up approximately 710,000 wireless, internet and internet protocol TV customers in Manitoba, representing an increase of five per cent in its total broadband service subscribers.

But part of the deal meant BCE agreed to sell about one-quarter of Manitoba Telecom's monthly contract wireless customers, impacting about 100,000 people, to Vancouver-based Telus Corp. in a $300-million deal.

Bell MTS recently started notifying people by mail, including a welcoming letter from Telus, instructions on how to switch providers and get a new Telus SIM card.

It's left a lot of people going to social media with concerns about the move.

However, just because you get the letter doesn't mean you have to go to Telus.

"Ultimately every customer does have a choice in who their network provider is … and if customers are choosing not to make that switch there is no termination fee," said Liz Sauve, a Telus spokesperson.

If people decide to make the transition, Sauve said they will be able to keep their cell numbers and she hopes people will give the company a chance.

"Customers can transition over to Telus worry-free because you are really coming with that same contract," she said.

"We understand that change can be daunting."

A new network-sharing agreement between Telus and Bell also means that outside of major centres, both companies are on the same network across the province. So people are roaming on the same 4G LTE network.

While people are not being forced to switch, Sauve said Telus is working to make it worth customers' while. 

"We are really hoping to win over Manitobans," Sauve said.