Cogeco Says MVNOs Would Open Up Competition, Lower Cellphone Bills

Montreal-based telecom provider, Cogeco, spoke at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) public hearing on wireless services earlier this week, and supported the case for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to increase competition and lower wireless prices.

According to The Globe and Mail, the company’s CEO and president, Phillipe Jetté, told the CRTC Cogeco had tried numerous times to get access to incumbent networks through negotiations, but the major carriers were not interested, according to his testimony on Wednesday.

“We’ve tried on multiple occasions,” said Mr. Jetté, “But the other parties are simply not responding in a way that are conducive to a commercial agreement.”

Cogeco would like to offer wireless services to its 850,000 internet customers in Quebec and Ontario it says, but so far that has not been possible.

The proposal from Cogeco echoes what the Competition Bureau suggested earlier this week to the CRTC, which would offer companies incumbent network access, only if they planned to invest and build up their own infrastructure. Cogeco said this approach would increase competition and lower cellphone bills.

Bell, on their part, disagreed. CEO Mirko Bibic said the company would be interested in offering network access to companies seeking to serve areas better than Bell could. Specifically, only companies not interested in building a national network.

Bibic said, “But if they come forward with a particular customer segment in a particular area of the country that they could tackle better than we can, then we’re all ears.”