Portal launch boosts eastern push for Telus

Telus Advanced Communications took another step toward extending its presence into central Canada with the launch late last month of MyTO.com, a Web portal aimed squarely at the denizens of Canada's largest metropolis. ...

Telus Advanced Communications took another step toward extending its presence into central Canada with the launch late last month of MyTO.com, a Web portal aimed squarely at the denizens of Canada’s largest metropolis.

While Telus has deep roots in Western Canada, the Burnaby, B.C.-based company has been aggressively trying to build its brand presence in central and Eastern Canada in recent months as it manoeuvres to become a true national player in the Canadian telecommunications industry.

To that end, the MyTO.com site, which is designed to provide Torontonians with a destination Web site for local news, sports, directories and maps, will be heavily branded with the Telus name, according to Mark Schnarr, vice-president of Internet services at Telus Advanced Communications. The same will hold true with a corresponding offline advertising campaign expected to launch later this month by Lanyon Phillips Communications of Vancouver.

The MyTO.com site is actually the third addition to the Telus city portal network, which receives more than 65 million page views and three million unique visitors per month, according to the company. Schnarr says the Toronto site should attract another 10 million monthly page views by the end of the year. At that point, he adds, the company expects to have its Montreal portal site up and running.

Supported by local merchant advertising and e-commerce revenues, Schnarr says MyTO.com will ultimately offer visitors three levels of content. The first consists of local news, weather, sports and entertainment, including event and movie listings, restaurant listings and directories – all provided by content partners such as Now Magazine and Toronto Life.

The second level of content consists of free Internet-based services, including a consolidated personal messaging product, dubbed MyTO Onebox, which allows users to receive phone messages, faxes and e-mail in a single, Web-based inbox; MyTO Money, a personalized financial portfolio tracker that streams across a user’s computer screen; and customizable home pages that let users choose their own content and layout options.

The final content element, which is still in development, will be made up of a range of pay-per-use services, such as text-to-speech messaging and other advanced voice and data transmission and storage services.

Schnarr says the full suite of Internet services and online content will eventually be offered to Telus’ wireless customer base, which will take a leap skyward when the company finalizes its $6.6-billion corporate takeover of Toronto-based Clearnet Communications – a deal announced in August.