CRTC Launches ‘Comprehensive Review’ of Wireless Services, Seeks Input on MVNOs

Crtc wireless review

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced this afternoon it has launched a review to “examine the state of the mobile wireless market and whether further action is required to improve choice and affordability for Canadians.”

Interestingly, the CRTC says it wants comments from Canadians on “its preliminary view that mobile virtual network operators should have mandated access to the networks of the national wireless providers (Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus) until they are able to establish themselves in the market.”

MVNOs are seen as a solution to foster competition and lower wireless prices for consumers. These operators would rent existing wireless networks from the Big 3 and resell their own plans. Without the expensive overhead of building out their own networks, a MVNO can offer lower prices for consumers.

The Commission also states it will also investigate whether regulatory measures will be required or not for the deployment of 5G networks in Canada.

“While the wireless industry has grown and evolved over the last few years, progress has been slow in certain areas. We are concerned as to whether the needs of Canadians are being fully met. We want to ensure that all Canadians benefit from a robust and competitive mobile wireless market that provides a choice of affordable and innovative services,” said Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC, in a press release.

The CRTC says its review will focus on three areas:

  • Competition in the retail market
  • The current wholesale mobile wireless service regulatory framework, with a focus on wholesale MVNO access
  • The future of mobile wireless services in Canada, with a focus on reducing barriers to infrastructure deployment

For Canadians looking to provide comment on the matter, they can comment online, write to the Secretary General, CRTC, via letter, or send in a fax, with a deadline set for May 15, 2019.

The CRTC says a public hearing will take place on January 13, 2020, in Gatineau, Quebec, which would mean it takes place after this fall’s federal election.

Earlier this week, the CRTC was ordered by the federal government to shift its policy to favour consumers, in efforts to increase wireless competition and lower prices.

Do you think the CRTC will actually lower your wireless bill? There’s only one way to see if it will happen–have another public consultation on the matter.

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