WIND Criticizes Telus, Bell for Disputing CRTC Authority Over Roaming Rates

Last week Telus and Bell made it clear to the CRTC they do not favour any regulation when it comes to roaming rates and also questioned the commission on their jurisdiction on the matter.

Newer wireless entrants WIND Mobile and Eastlink are now calling out the two incumbent carriers, with the former saying they are acting “disingenuous” and “absurd”, according to the Globe and Mail:

“Bell and Telus have been spending a lot of time and money lately challenging the government’s, and now the CRTC’s, authority to take action against their consumer-abusing practices, rather than changing their behaviour or arguing the merits,” said Simon Lockie, chief regulatory officer for Wind.

“The CRTC’s mandate is to promote competition and affordable prices for Canadians. … If the market for domestic roaming is competitive, which it most certainly is not, the CRTC will not act and the Big Three have nothing to worry about.”

Newer entrants rely on national roaming from the Big 3 when their customers roam outside local calling areas. Rates which are negotiated on a commercial level and have been deemed too expensive by the likes of WIND Mobile and Eastlink; the latter told the CRTC in its roaming rates submission incumbents charge “inflated roaming fees”:

“The result is clear. Incumbents are left with substantial profit margins, in part because of commercially unreasonable wholesale roaming rates they collect, while new entrants who require profits to expand our network are left with only narrow gains for investment,”

The CRTC asked wireless carriers to submit their national and international roaming rates in late August to examine whether regulation was needed or not. Canadian consumers traveling to the USA with unlocked iPhones have been able to use alternative services from local carriers such as T-Mobile or Vancouver-based Roam Mobility.