CRTC Won’t Make Wireless Paper Billing Mandatory, Launches Consultation to Decide

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled on Tuesday it won’t force wireless carriers to provide paper billing to customers yet, but rather will launch a consultation into the matter to investigate whether the government needs to intervene, reports The Globe and Mail.

Back in 2018, two consumer groups filed a complaint to the CRTC over wireless paper billing, specifically calling out Telus-owned Koodo Mobile and its digital-only billing.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) filed the complaints, with John Lawford from the PIAC arguing amendments in the Telecommunications Act passed in 2014,  means Canadians have the right to get paper billing for free. The groups argued seniors who don’t have computers or have online access, should still have the right to paper billing.

Koodo moved to digital-only bills in 2015. The company says the law can’t force them to provide paper billing, but only to not charge fees for billing.

Most wireless carriers have moved to digital billing and Rogers will make the switch on March 26, 2020.

The CRTC said on Tuesday, “the offering of paper bills may operate as a competitive incentive, and that one communications service provider’s refusal to cater to such a demand can be another provider’s opportunity to gain a customer.”

“The evidence on the record of this proceeding is insufficient for the commission to conclude that the marketplace has failed to meet an economic or social need regarding the provision of paper bills and that commission intervention is warranted, since the evidence related largely to Koodo,” said the CRTC.

Wireless providers have one month to submit their billing practices to the CRTC for its consultation on the matter, to determine if intervention is required to force providers to support paper billing, for those who need it.