MTS, SaskTel and Tbaytel to CRTC: Wholesale Roaming Caps Are Hurting Us

Government caps on roaming charges have helped some smaller players, but hurt other regional carriers. Representatives of MTS, Saskatchewan and Tbaytel have stated to the CRTC that caps introduced on wholesale roaming rates are already harming their business (via the Globe and Mail).

Cell tower

Instead, speaking on behalf of both MTS and SaskTel, Tbaytel CEO Dan Topatigh asked the CRTC to “fine tune” wholesale rates, and exclude them from letting the incumbents roam their networks at a discounted price.

“We are already experiencing the harm caused by blanket regulation,” Topatigh told the CRTC panel. “Already having built their own urban networks in our territories, the national carriers can now roam on our rural networks at blanket rates that are not reflective of what it costs to provision rural service.”

You may recall that the government introduced an interim solution by capping wholesale roaming rates. Those caps were intended to help new entrants, and they did: Wind Mobile was able to reduce roaming charges in August, dropping the price to 5 cents from $1 per megabyte.

Apparently what helped Wind Mobile, conversely caused harm to bigger regional carriers such as Tbaytel, MTS and SaskTel, as the same caps work on the other way too. As a result, Telus customers can roam on SaskTel with the former paying the capped amount to the latter.

The regional carriers are asking the regulator to exempt wireless operators with less than 10% of the national market share from having to provide the incumbents with roaming at a discounted price.

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