BCTel was the legal operating name for the province wide telephone company in the province of British Columbia, Canada. BC Tel was the operating name for the holding company BC TELECOM Inc. that was created in 1993 to manage the assets of the British Columbia Telephone Company. The roots of BC Tel stretch back almost a century-- it was established in 1923; The federal charter for the British Columbia Telephone company was obtained in 1916. BC Tel invested heavily in the province with subsea cables, rural lines, civic switchboards, and an often small subscriber base.
The deregulation of the phone industry in the 1990s combined with the competition of copper lines from cell phones, totally changed the business environment. In a 1999 "merger of equals" BCTel merged with Telus (the telephone operating company in Alberta), so as to avoid the regionally specific nature of the BCTel name the newly formed company used the Telus name. After the merger the new Telus became the second largest telephone company in Canada