Rogers Wants First TTC Cell Service Before Deals with Telus, Bell

Rogers has urged federal regulators to allow them to roll out cellular service for its customers in the Toronto subway system, before any deals are struck with its rivals Telus and Bell.

In a submission to Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada, Rogers expressed its opposition to a potential measure that would stop its customers from being the first to use the TTC wireless network. This response comes in the wake of three alternatives proposed in July by Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. One of these measures was prompted after Rogers acquired the existing subway wireless network and hinted at its ambitious expansion plans earlier in the year.

However, Rogers and its competitors, Bell and Telus, continue to argue about the technical aspects and cost of ensuring all Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway commuters have access to this network, reports Global News.

“Depriving customers of service in this manner would prioritize the interests of certain carriers over consumers,” Rogers in its submission to ISED. “It would also reward tactical self-serving manoeuvring by Bell and Telus who did not show any interest in providing wireless services in the TTC until Rogers stepped up to make the investments needed to modernize and expand the TTC wireless network,” added Rogers.

Rogers has emphasized that access timing should be determined by commercial negotiations, a standard practice. In case this recommendation is sidestepped, Rogers prefers granting access to other carriers as soon as it’s technically viable, applying the negotiated terms retroactively later on.

Bell and Telus, in their own official submissions, implored the government to block Rogers from prioritizing its wireless customers on the TTC. They argued that Rogers should wait until the network is universally accessible to all passengers.

The dispute has extended to remarks on motivations and commitment. “Rogers has serious concerns about the motivations of Bell and Telus,” the company highlighted, asserting that its competitors seemed more invested in stopping Rogers’ leadership in the project than in ensuring timely wireless service access for TTC riders.

The ISED department has outlined a future course of action. Following the reply comment submission window’s closure, a decision will be posted, initiating a 30-day negotiation period for the carriers. Failure to reach a consensus will lead them into an arbitration process to be concluded within 70 days.

Currently, only Quebecor’s Freedom Mobile customers have cellular access in the TTC.

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