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CRTC to Investigate Wireless Carrier Roaming Rates, Considers Regulation

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The CRTC has distributed a letter to Canadian telcos to request all companies provide the commission with roaming agreements currently in place within Canada and the USA:

As part of the Commission’s mandate to ensure that Canadians have access to a world-class telecommunications system, it monitors developments in the telecommunications industry on an ongoing basis. Over the past year, the Commission has been made aware of concerns with respect to the rates, terms, and conditions associated with wireless roaming.

In response to these concerns, the Commission has conducted some wireless roaming research using publicly available information. At this time, the Commission requires additional information that is not publicly available and is now seeking information regarding the rates, terms and conditions from wireless operators offering roaming in Canada. The data requested will provide the Commission with information on wireless roaming in order to assess its impact on the competitiveness of the Canadian wireless industry and the choices available to Canadians.

All companies identified in the distribution list are to file responses to the questions set out in Appendix A with the Commission by 27 September 2013. These submissions must be received, not merely sent, by that date.

Sincerely,

Original signed by:

Chris Seidl
Executive Director, Telecommunications

Chris Seidl, executive director of telecommunications told The Globe and Mail “We put a cap on bill shock for Canadians…But we didn’t address whether there’s an issue with the actual charges.” Approximately 18 million Canadians roaming in the USA spend an estimated $800 million per year on roaming charges.

Rogers told the Globe “We’ve received the commission’s request for information and are reviewing that request now,” a spokesperson said. “It’s worth noting that we’ve recently introduced new international roaming rates, including our new $7.95/day data roaming rate to the U.S.”

Carriers are also to provide a breakdown of total roaming revenue from 2007-2012, plus current Canadian and American roaming rates for voice, data and text messaging, all by September 27.

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