CRTC to allow certain small operators to access national wireless networks – National
Canada’s largest wireless network operators suffered a major setback today as the CRTC issued orders that will make it easier for smaller rivals to compete, which in turn will likely lower costs for mobile phone users. .
The federal telecommunications regulator is adopting many of the recommendations that consumer groups and small telecommunications companies have followed, as they have argued that it should be cheaper for emerging carriers to connect to national wireless networks over one. wholesale basis.
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The CRTC says regional networks that meet certain standards will be able to operate as “mobile virtual network operators,” or MVNOs, in areas where competition is limited.
This means they pay wholesale to access major networks while maintaining a distinct customer base.
The CRTC also gave Bell, Rogers and Telus, as well as SaskTel, a government company, three months to offer more affordable plans to seniors, low-income people and people who use mobile phones sparingly.
So far, the Big Three have been staunch opponents of MVNOs, which they describe as companies seeking the benefits of a nationwide grid without paying the costs of building and maintaining expensive infrastructure.
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âWhile there are encouraging signs of lower prices, we need to accelerate competition and provide more affordable options for Canadians,â CRTC Chairman Ian Scott said in a statement.
When asked in an interview if average Canadians would see prices drop faster, Scott said he believed so, but some types of consumers and some markets will see more change than others.
âNot all prices are going down at the same rate. Not all regions have the same experience, âsaid Scott.
âQuebec has lower wireless rates than anywhere else in the country, on average. Why? Because Videotron has been a really effective competitor in most of the province. This is what we want to reproduce everywhere.
Wireless data prices are lower in Quebec than similar plans across Canada, according to data
OpenMedia, however, said the âtoothlessâ CRTC decision âsecures more unaffordable cell phone prices for Canadaâ.
Laura Tribe, who heads the national consumer advocacy group, said the CRTC missed a huge opportunity to stimulate competition from smaller players.
âIt really doubles the idea that a regional supplier will be enough to correct the extreme market share of Bell, Telus and Rogers,â Tribe said in an interview.
Videotron, which is owned by Quebecor Inc., is one of the regional operators. Others include Eastlink, a private company that has a wireless network in Atlantic Canada, and SaskTel, which is owned by the Government of Saskatchewan.
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Calgary-based Shaw Communications Inc., owner of Freedom Mobile, is Canada’s fourth largest operator, operating in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, but its future is uncertain after agreeing to be acquired by Rogers last month.
The Rogers-Shaw deal is subject to various federal approvals, including by the CRTC, but an all-party committee of MPs has heard opponents warn that any “fourth carrier” could be bought out and cease to be independent.
Statements released by Bell and Telus after the CRTC decision did not say much about its details, but pointed out that they were already working to provide quality and affordable service to Canadians.
âAs we study the decision and consider our options, Bell continues to focus on serving its wireless customers with a full range of affordable price options,â Nathan Gibson said in an email.
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“Telus continues to review today’s CRTC decision in detail,” said Richard Gilhooey in an email.
“We continue to leverage our extensive network infrastructure to bridge digital and socio-economic divides through our low-cost high-speed Internet and Mobility for Good programs to support low-income Canadian seniors, families and youth.” , Gilhooey concluded.
A statement was not immediately available from Rogers.
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