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SaskTel customers must say goodbye to the rotary phone

A rotary phone.

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For most Canadians, the rotary dial telephone is a relic of a bygone era. But for roughly 1,000 customers of Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corp., the migration to touch-tone service has just begun.

Canada's telecom regulator on Friday cleared the way for SaskTel, as it is more commonly known, to withdraw its rotary dial service for those last remaining holdouts – a move that finally allows the company to ditch the out-of-date service and streamline its portfolio.

In issuing its order, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it received roughly 15 comments from residential and business customers during a public proceeding that closed on Feb. 6.

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"Of the intervenors, 14 opposed SaskTel's proposal, generally submitting that they did not want to pay for a service they neither needed nor wanted," the CRTC said.

Still, the regulator ultimately decided that SaskTel's proposal to provide customers affected by the move with a $50 credit on their bill was a "reasonable amount" to offset the financial costs of moving to touch-tone service.

The company had proposed that credit to make up the difference in the monthly rates between the two services for about a year.

SaskTel, which is Canada's last provincially-owned telecom provider, has noted that rotary dial service was "destandardized" back in 1990. It began notifying customers of its plans last November.

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