CRTC Ruling Allows Wireless Startup Sugar Mobile to Maintain Access to Rogers Roaming


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has ruled in favour of wireless startup Sugar Mobile, allowing them to maintain access to roaming access on the Rogers network.

Sugar Mobile is a MNVO (mobile network virtual operator) using Rogers’ network and providing customers voice, text, and data services when they leave range of personal or third party Wi-Fi, offering the service starting at $19 per month.

In early February, parent company Ice Wireless filed a complaint with the CRTC asking them to rule on whether or not Rogers is required to provide access to their roaming services.

Sugar Mobile does not have its own network so it relies on its parent company Ice Wireless when customers try and access a network in the northern territories of Canada.

However, when customers are not in one of the northern territories, customers of Sugar Mobile get cellular service thanks to many roaming agreements that Ice Wireless has with other carriers, including Rogers.

You may recall that as soon as the news about Sugar Mobile broke, Rogers threatened to cut off roaming services, saying “Rogers does not have a roaming agreement with Sugar Mobile. We value our relationship with Ice Wireless and hope these violations of our agreement will be resolved,” a spokesman said in February to the Globe and Mail.

In a letter released on Thursday, CRTC secretary-general Danielle May-Cuconato said:

“Sugar Mobile is not well established. If the roaming agreement is cut off, she said, ‘market loss would be inevitable and, given the competitive nature of the wireless industry, it would be very difficult to repatriate customers that were lost.'”

Sugar Mobile’s business relationships could have definitely been damaged if their roaming agreements with other large carriers were cut off. However, it benefits Rogers to keep the roaming agreements because of its size and power.

The discount wireless carrier currently has approximately 2,000 customers and that number continues to increase, but its future remains in jeopardy.

[via The Globe and Mail]

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