OTTAWA, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that it will take
a closer look at wholesale wireless roaming arrangements in Canada. The
first step is a proceeding launched today to examine whether wireless
service providers are placing their Canadian competitors at an unfair
Based on information obtained by the CRTC, some of the large providers
are charging, or proposing to charge, their smaller Canadian
competitors significantly higher wholesale roaming rates than those
charged to U.S.-based wireless companies. Wholesale rates are different
from, but can impact, the retail rates companies charge to their
"We are concerned that some wireless companies may be making it unfairly
difficult for Canadian providers that do not operate a national network
to compete in the marketplace," said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the
CRTC. "We have the authority to ensure that companies do not give
themselves an unfair competitive advantage. This includes charging
wholesale wireless roaming rates that are unjustly discriminatory or by
insisting on unduly restrictive terms and conditions. If we find that
this is happening in the market, we will act to rectify the situation."
The CRTC is seeking comments on this situation, as well as possible
solutions should it find that large wireless service providers are
placing their Canadian competitors at an unfair competitive
disadvantage. Comments must be submitted by January 29, 2014.
Earlier this year, the CRTC began a fact-finding exercise regarding the
rates, terms and conditions associated with wholesale wireless roaming
arrangements in Canada. In August 2013, the CRTC asked wireless service
providers to provide information, such as their roaming arrangements
with other Canadian and U.S.-based wireless companies. In October 2013,
the CRTC created a Wireless Task Force to further analyze this data.
Canadian wireless companies provide services to their customers on their
own networks within specific geographic areas. Smaller wireless
providers must rely on the networks of other companies when their
customers travel outside their network coverage area. This is commonly
referred to as roaming. These arrangements enable Canadians to continue
using their wireless devices to make calls, send text messages and use
data when travelling.
Canadian wholesale wireless market
In early 2014, the CRTC will launch a second proceeding to further
examine the state of the mobile wireless services market, the
sustainability of competition in the Canadian wireless market, and what
regulatory measures may be required if the CRTC were to find the
market is not sufficiently competitive.
"We are equally concerned that the current wholesale arrangements may be
having a negative impact on the competitiveness of the Canadian
wireless market and, ultimately, on the consumer experience," said
Jean-Pierre Blais. "Canadians are increasingly relying on their mobile
devices for all of their communication needs, and we want to make sure
that they have access to a choice of innovative and affordable services
provided by reliable networks."
The details of this proceeding will be made public in early 2014.
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-685
SOURCE: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
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