The WIND Complaint: Rogers Obeying Industry Canada Requirements

by Jordan Richardson on October 4, 2010

On Friday, I talked about WIND Mobile’s complaint to the Competition Bureau against Rogers’ Chatr. According to the complaint, Chatr’s statement that they have “fewer dropped calls” is disingenuous in light of the reality of the “hard handoff.”

Rogers, for its part, wasn’t buying it. “We have fully shared our research with the Competition Bureau and are cooperating with the process. We question Wind’s motives in complaining to the Bureau and the announcement today,” said their public statement.

So is the “hard handoff” against the law? Is Rogers actually doing anything wrong?

It turns out they are, in fact, completely obeying Industry Canada requirements on the issue. “Rogers is obeying what’s required of them, not providing anything extra, obviously. But it’s providing what Industry Canada says it needs to provide,” says telecom analyst Troy Crandall of MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

According to Industry Canada, roaming does not require a seamless handoff – or maybe a “soft handoff,” to spin the current semantics – between networks. This means that dropped calls can and will happen, of course, and all under the watchful regulatory gaze of Industry Canada. In other words, nothing in the current requirements of the industry suggest that Rogers’ Chatr is doing anything legally wrong.

In terms of the advertising, Rogers’ Chatr says that “regular and rigorous testing” has demonstrated that they do, indeed, have fewer dropped calls than their competition. Given the facts and the Industry Canada requirements, along with the reality of who actually owns most of the networks in Canada, and it’s hardly surprising. The claim to fewer dropped calls in contrast to new companies only operating in limited space is, as you might imagine, not all that spectacular.

On Friday, WIND Mobile chairman Anthony Lacavera said that the regulations need to be changed. “The policy should be updated to be consistent with similar policies in other countries where seamless hand-off of calls between carriers is the norm. Callers do not experience dropped calls when switching between carriers in other jurisdictions,” he said.

The complaint against Chatr isn’t the first against the Rogers’ brand to circle the wagons around “anti-competitive behaviour.” The Mobilicity complaint, too, asserts that the discount offering is unfairly positioned against the new discount brands. With Chatr effectively mirroring brands like WIND and Mobilicity, the additional sting of the “fewer dropped calls” suggestion is bound to ruffle feathers.

But what can be done about such claims when the regulatory framework in Canada simply suggests that all is well?

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Mobilicity On An Aggressive Expansion Spree —
August 14, 2012 at 5:33 am
WIND Mobile, Mobilicity Push for Consumer Protection —
August 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

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