Telus says it will start shutting down Public Mobile's cellphone network in May, moving the more than 260,000 discount customers to its main network over a period of several months — and that means thousands of customers will have to upgrade their old talk-and-text phones.
Telus, which bought Public Mobile last fall, says it is making the switch because the small carrier's network uses old technology.
The Vancouver-based telecom says Public Mobile's network will be upgraded and become part of its faster, main network — but many customers are upset at having to make the switch to a 4G network-compatible phone at their own expense.
"I basically feel just furious about this whole situation," says former customer Steve Duern. "They didn't let any customer know. I found it out on the news."
Telus spokesperson Shawn Hall says the change is necessary to help the company stay competitive.
"Certainly, we understand that some customers might not like this transition," he says. "It's a necessary transition, given the financial distress the brand was in."
The move should be completed by mid-August or so, and Telus says it will give Public Mobile customers at least one month of free service and discounts on smartphones.
Telus also says it will keep Public Mobile's $19 monthly talk-and-text plan until the end of this year.
The Vancouver carrier had said last fall that it would move the Public Mobile customers to its main network, but didn't give a specific timeline until Thursday.