Good-Bye Dropped Calls: Seamless 5G Network Roaming Coming

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has granted approval, albeit with changes, to the wholesale roaming tariffs submitted by national wireless carriers. These tariffs incorporate considerations for seamless roaming and the implementation of 5G networks. A lengthy 64-page report details the changes, released today.

As per Telecom Order CRTC 2023-171 issued on June 7, 2023, the CRTC has directed these carriers to issue final tariff pages that reflect the modifications indicated in the order by June 19, 2023.

In addition, Rogers has been directed to file proposed tariff pages, for approval, that outline the terms and conditions for the offering of direct interconnection. The deadline for this submission is June 27, 2023.

Bell and Telus have also been reminded that they are required to file proposed tariff pages, for approval, for the offering of direct interconnection. This requirement comes into play when they inform regional wireless carriers of the launch of a 5G standalone core network.

Emphasizing that all consumers that benefit from wholesale roaming should reap the benefits of seamless roaming, the CRTC has directed Telus to eliminate its proposed tariff on restrictions on offering seamless roaming functionality. This directive relates to large businesses, institutions, resellers, and mobile virtual network operator customers, as well as in the context of Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications.

As it stands, the CRTC has stated that it cannot evaluate whether seamless roaming implementation should be addressed in separate charges or included as part of wholesale roaming rates. Furthermore, the commission deems that it is not appropriate to assess whether the proposed rates are fair and reasonable in this decision. Therefore, following this order, wholesale customers will gain access to seamless roaming at no additional cost.

Seamless roaming refers to the uninterrupted transition of calls and data sessions from one wireless carrier’s network to another. Without this feature, if a subscriber of a regional wireless carrier strays outside their carrier’s network coverage into a zone serviced by a wholesale roaming provider, the subscriber’s ongoing calls and data sessions would be dropped. While wireless users may soon no longer see dropped calls on 5G networks when they’re on the move, the dropping of cellphone prices still remains an issue in Canada.

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