TekSavvy Scraps Mobile Service Plans Due to CRTC Ruling Favouring Telecoms

Chatham-based TekSavvy has announced it has scrapped its plans to offer mobile service due to yesterday’s CRTC ruling reversing wholesale internet rates, which it says favours big telecoms.

TekSavvy said on Friday it has also informed Industry, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) it will bow out of the upcoming spectrum auction, as it scales back investment for wireless offerings.

The company said the “CRTC decision is a tombstone on the grave of telecom competition in Canada” said Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s VP of Regulatory and Carrier Affairs, in an emailed statement to iPhone in Canada.

“Canada’s largest and most profitable telecom companies have successfully gamed the system with impunity. As competitors begin to exit the market, Canadian consumers will pay the price,” added Kaplan-Myrth.

The CRTC originally planned reduced wholesale internet rates in 2019 to spur competition. These are the rates at which smaller internet service providers pay, to resell services to consumers. In a nutshell, incumbent telecoms appealed the ruling and fought it in court. The final decision boiled down to the CRTC, citing it had made errors in making the original decision in 2019, thus turning back rates to 2016.

TekSavvy said, “the decision is bad news for consumers, as it effectively guarantees internet prices will continue to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Distributel Calls CRTC Decision ‘Terrible Day for Canadians’

Toronto-based Distributel also blasted the CRTC wholesale internet rates decision, calling it a “terrible day for Canadians.”

Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel, told iPhone in Canada in a statement, “it couldn’t come at a worse time. Affordable internet access has never been more important given the country’s economic challenges and Canadians’ continued reality of working, learning and connecting from home due to the pandemic.”

“We had expected the CRTC to stand by its 2019 ruling and stand strong for Canadians; instead, today’s decision ensures Canadians will see their internet rates continue to rise, when they already pay some of the highest prices in the developed world,” added Stein.

Distributel says the CRTC decision “is not consistent with the direction provided to the CRTC by the Liberal government to ensure innovation and competition in telecom—nor to its promise to Canadians to make telecom services more affordable.”

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