CRTC Turns to Roaming to Spark ‘Sustainable Competition’ in Canada’s Wireless Market

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission this week today announced measures to “ensure that Canadians benefit from sustainable competition among wireless service providers.”

In particular, the CRTC says it will regulate certain wholesale rates that Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications and Telus charge other Canadian wireless companies.

The CRTC has found that there is an insufficient level of competition among the national wireless companies – Bell, Rogers and Telus – in the provision of wholesale roaming services. These companies can maintain rates and impose terms and conditions that would not prevail in a competitive market. Other Canadian wireless companies need to obtain these services under reasonable rates, terms and conditions in order to offer comparable broad or national wireless coverage to their own customers.

The CRTC says it will regulate the rates that Bell, Rogers and Telus charge other companies for wholesale wireless roaming services. The CRTC has set interim rates for these services effective today, and is requiring the three companies to file final proposed rates by November 4.

“With more than 28 million subscribers, the wireless sector is of tremendous importance to Canada’s economy,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “Innovation that leverages the use of wireless networks now forms part of our daily life and the important role of wireless technology increases each and every day.”

The CRTC also says that it is taking action to reduce barriers, such as removing certain restrictions in wholesale roaming agreements, faced by mobile virtual network operators to give them more flexibility in their commercial negotiations with wireless companies.

“With microcomputers that fit in our palm, pocket or purses, we can do our banking, check up on our kids or elderly parents, apply for jobs, register for Government services or stay in contact with our friends, co-workers or clients,” said Blais. “The measures that we are putting in place today in the wireless market will ensure that Canadians continue to have more choice as well as innovative high-quality services.”