CRTC Announces Ban on Exclusivity Clauses in Roaming Agreements, Targets Rogers

The CRTC has just announced it will ban exclusivity agreements between wireless providers when it comes to wholesale domestic roaming rates, part of its ongoing “efforts to promote fair and sustainable competition in wireless services for Canadians.”

A formal public proceeding was held last December to investigate if incumbent players were offering ‘unjustly discriminatory roaming rates, terms and conditions’ to newer wireless entrants.

The investigation concluded Rogers was guilty of the following:

  • Imposing exclusivity clauses in roaming agreements that prohibited smaller service providers from using networks from any other carrier.
  • Charging some new Canadian service providers significantly higher roaming rates compared to rates for other wireless service providers.

The CRTC says a public hearing will be held on September 29, 2014 to investigate the competitive sate of the wireless market. Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman, had this to say:

“Competition in the wireless industry benefits society and the economy by providing innovative communications services at reasonable prices. But that is only the case when true and sustainable competition is at play. Today’s decision will help promote fairness and a better consumer experience with wireless for Canadians.”

Domestic wholesale roaming rates are key for a fourth wireless player to emerge, part of the federal government’s ongoing goal to increase wireless competition.

Earlier this week Industry Canada set out rules for the AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction, set for early 2015, which also will include a set-aside chunk for newer entrants.



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