Cable giant plans to enter northern phone market

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Vowing to "break the monopoly" of MTS, cable giant Shaw Communications hopes to launch local and long-distance telephone services in Flin Flon and other Manitoba communities within the next year. CEO Jim Shaw announced last week the company will enter the Winnipeg phone market in a matter of weeks with the intent of ultimately expanding into rural places that, like Flin Flon, are serviced by its cable division. "We're coming in to break the monopoly," Shaw was quoted as saying in the Winnipeg Free Press. Shaw reportedly said the Calgary-based company plans to offer unlimited local and long-distance in Canada and the U.S. for a flat monthly fee, but he did not state what it would cost. He said the Shaw service would be particularly attractive to rural customers because of the amount of long-distance calls they make, according to the Free Press. A spokesperson for MTS said the time-tested, Winnipeg-based company is ready for a new player in the telephone market. "Competition keeps you on your toes and is good for consumers," Michelle Bailey Picard told the Free Press. "We have every confidence we're going to do very well," she added in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

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