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CRTC to Examine ‘Big 3’ Wholesale Roaming Rates Over Competition Concerns

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The CRTC announced today that it will look into the wholesale wireless roaming agreements of Canadian wireless players, as it has obtained information about unjust discriminatory practices against smaller carriers affecting wireless competition in the country.

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“We are concerned that some wireless companies may be making it unfairly difficult for Canadian providers that do not operate a national network to compete in the marketplace,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “We have the authority to ensure that companies do not give themselves an unfair competitive advantage. This includes charging wholesale wireless roaming rates that are unjustly discriminatory or by insisting on unduly restrictive terms and conditions. If we find that this is happening in the market, we will act to rectify the situation.”

The announcement comes after the CRTC had asked wireless players to submit documentation regarding the wholesale roaming agreements with other Canadian and US-based wireless carriers.

As we previously reported, the regulator formed a Wireless Task Force to analyze the data, which has shared its findings with the regulator and presented the options. The result is today’s call for comments (from carriers), which aims to shed light on whether or not there was any unjust discrimination or undue preference given.

Canadian carriers will have to submit copies of any wholesale roaming agreements that they have made with Canadian players and US carriers by January 29, 2014.

The CRTC plans to scan the current state of the Canadian wireless market and take action by implementing regulatory measures in case the regulator finds that the market isn’t competitive enough.

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