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Our Story
MTS Allstream: Our second century begins

1908-1921 LogoIn 2008, MTS Allstream celebrates MTS’s a century of building connections, on the one hundredth anniversary of its founding in 1908. As we look back over the strong performance that has brought us to this historic point, we recognize the solid foundations that will allow us to continue connecting Canadians to each other – and to the world – into our second century.

MTS Allstream carries a proud and storied history. In the decades since we began connecting Canadians, we have made important technological contributions to the Canadian communications landscape – from Manitoba’s first wireline network in 1908 to today’s state-of-the-art national IP networks. Both in Manitoba and across the country, MTS Allstream has always been an innovator; and today, we are at the forefront of trends that are re-defining the telecommunications industry in Canada. Our commitment to innovation is what has kept us thriving in a competitive world – and it’s how we’ll continue connecting Canadians with reliable, leading-edge services into the future.

In fact, over its more than a hundred years of service in Manitoba and across the country, MTS Allstream and its predecessor companies have achieved an astounding number of telecommunications “firsts”. Please click here for a look at the many "firsts" for which MTS has been responsible.)

From humble beginnings...

MTS Allstream in 2008 is a Canadian telecom powerhouse thanks to our track record of success built over the course of more than a century.

The seeds that would eventually grow into MTS Allstream were sown in 1908, when the Manitoba government created Manitoba Government Telephones for the purpose of providing the burgeoning new telephone service to the people of Manitoba.

(1881) Magnetic Telegraph, 1881

Bell patent expires and fierce competition ensues, 1890

Brandon becomes the first centre in Canada to have 100% dial serviced, 1917

… through evolutions and revolutions…

Over the course of decades, the company grew and evolved through changes of ownership, demand, and technology, and made its major entrance onto the national stage in 2004, when Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., the market leader in all telecommunications services in Manitoba, acquired Allstream, the country’s leading and only profitable competitive telecom provider. But as any pioneer can attest, the road to mapping a new world presents serious challenges, and survival demands performance.

The twentieth century offered a number of external obstacles that further complicated an already complex challenge. As telecommunications really began to grow and evolve in the early 1900s, social and political revolutions were also taking place that would forever impact the course of history – and the economies of our markets at the time. Nationally, telecommunications technology and construction evolved alongside the First and Second World Wars; in Manitoba, our business was further impacted by the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, and the Red River Flood of 1950.

Red River Flood, 1950
An early teletype machine
auto dialer
Desk set autodialer

Despite these external factors, however, the companies that would become MTS Allstream played important roles in shaping Canada`s telecommunications industry. (please click here for a snapshot of the evolution of these two companies into one)

MTS Allstream’s predecessor companies were responsible for a number of important telecom “firsts”: from the first telex message in 1956 and the first microwave system for the transmission of television in 1964, to the first Canadian Internet and email service for PDAs and digital cell phones in 2001 and Canada's first High Definition Television ("HDTV") in a television service provided over telephone lines in 2006 (for a timeline of important milestones in Canadian telecommunications history and MTS Allstream’s role in it, please click here).

… to acquisitions…

MTS Allstream LogoPerhaps the most important evolution for MTS Allstream, however, was the 2004 transaction that brought these two innovators together.

Before acquiring Allstream, MTS was widely recognized as a Canadian telecom leader, with a number of innovations to its credit and the strongest balance sheet in the industry. For its part, Allstream was the leading competitive telecommunications provider in Canada, second in all the major business markets in Canada behind the incumbent phone companies – with a 24,300 km national fibre-optic network and infrastructure providing the most advanced telecommunication services available.

MTS acquires AllstreamCulturally, the two companies were a strong fit, since both were innovative and strong competitors. When they joined forces, the Canadian telecom market gained a new powerhouse, which has been competing aggressively with the incumbent telecom companies ever since.



… to leadership in technology, innovation and service: today’s MTS Allstream.

MTS Allstream continues to benefit all Canadians by leading through innovation, developing new services from digital television that allows subscribers to check their email on their television, to the latest in secure IP-enabled enterprise communications that touch thousands of workers at major businesses across Canada.

MTS Allstream has continued to drive innovation in technology and services – but it hasn’t become a leading national telecommunications provider through technology alone. In addition to our key role as an innovator and service provider, MTS Allstream has always been – and continues to be – a strong corporate citizen in the communities across the country in which we live and work every day. In addition to the millions of dollars we have donated to support worthy causes in our communities across Canada over the years, our employees have devoted thousands of hours as volunteers.

Cindy KlassenOur support to the communities we serve is significant – not just in terms of charitable giving, but also in infrastructure. In the last decade alone, we have invested almost $2 billion in Manitoba to build a network that brings next generation high-speed Internet to 160 communities across the province, including Churchill. Across Canada, we have invested hundreds of millions more to build a network with impressive and, in many cases, unmatched IP capabilities our competitors look upon with envy.

In addition to being a leading innovator in a competitive industry, MTS Allstream and its 6,000 employees across Canada have a tremendous positive economic impact, particularly in Manitoba, home to 3,000 MTS Allstream workers, who pump $180 million in salaries into that province every year. In fact, MTS Allstream operations in Manitoba contribute approximately $1 billion to Manitoba’s gross domestic product on an annual basis.

The work of our first century is now behind us, and our customers across the nation enjoy the benefits every day, with leading-edge technology, unparalleled choice, and competitive prices. In delivering innovative products and services to our customers in our consumer and business markets, we produced $1.9 billion in revenues in 2006 alone – as well as one of the highest dividend yields in Canada. Leveraging the entrepreneurial spirit and skills of our employees, our deep customer relationships and our national broadband network, we have a diversity of competitive strengths for leadership in our industry.

In 2008, we look forward to our second century of service, we reflect with pride on the successes we have achieved, and we thank our customers for their confidence and their support.

TV Watch the MTS Allstream anniversary video
PDF Connecting Canadians into Our Second Century — Globe & Mail Supplement (PDF)
PDF Connecting Canadians into Our Second Century — Winnipeg Free Press Supplement (PDF)