Earlier this week, Canada’s Competition Bureau filed a motion with the Federal Court seeking data from wireless carriers in Canada that sell Apple’s iPhone. Court filings made yesterday reveal the top court has approved the request for information and now eight wireless carriers that sell the iPhone have 90 days to respond, reports the Financial Post:
The data requested by the law enforcement agency are outlined in four pages in each decision. They include confidential details about consumer contracts, revenues, costs, margins, order amounts, inventory levels, and the terms these carriers must abide to sell Apple in their retail stores, among others. For comparison purposes, similar details were requested for other handset manufacturers sold to subscribers as well.
Rogers, TELUS and Bell, along with five regional carriers (Videotron, MTS, Tbaytel, SaskTel, Eastlink) will be required to submit this data up until June 18. If carriers are unable to find information, it must provide an explanation why it does not exist. iPhone sales data will go back as far as 2008, when the iPhone 3G was made available here.
The issue at stake here is the allegation that Apple’s contract with carriers “may have or may likely have the effect of lessening or preventing competition substantially in a market,” with specific clauses that may “increase the price Canadians have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and/or other wireless services.”
Apple contracts are alleged to have kept prices high and discouraged carriers from reducing prices of other handsets, offering other handsets, encouraged carriers to boost price of wireless services for competing handsets or have dampened upstream competition between handset suppliers.
The Competition Bureau investigation into Apple and carriers began in December of 2014, when the iPhone maker was ordered to hand over carrier agreements. At the time, the Bureau noted there was “no conclusion of wrongdoing by Apple Canada Inc. at this time, and no application has been filed with the Competition Tribunal or any other court to seek remedies for any alleged anti-competitive conduct.”
Earlier this week, Apple was fined $624,000 USD in Taiwan after local authorities concluded it “limited telecoms from setting contract prices for its 4, 4S, 5 and 5S models, which is against the law.” Apple has the right to appeal the case.