Industry Minister Focuses on Roaming Rates

by Istvan Fekete on October 15, 2013

Roaming rates have come into focus recently: the CRTC has asked wireless players to submit detailed information about their roaming rates and practices. Smaller carriers such as Wind Mobile have complained that the incumbents charge high roaming fees, and consumers have been faced with high roaming bills that could even reach $22,000.

Looks like roaming rates have attracted the Industry Minister’s attention as well: leading up to the government’s big Throne Speech on Wednesday, James Moore emphasized that the government will make sure that consumers come first.

He did speak with CTV, where he highlighted a couple of changes aimed at giving more rights to consumers and helping Canadians save some money. In focus there are lower credit-card fees, unbundling of TV channels, maybe an airline bill of rights, and more importantly for wireless subscribers, a big push toward competition and roaming.

He said: “We also think that in the wireless sector that we want to have more competition and we’re going to keep moving towards that, but we also think that roaming fees are too high in this country. We know that there’s going to be a new regime put in place in the first week of December to cap international roaming fees, but we also want to move on domestic roaming fees as well, because sometimes as you know, people open up their cellphone bill at the end of the month and they get hit in the face pretty hard when they see some roaming charges that they think are quite unfair. We want to move on that as well. These are things that will be highlighted in the Throne Speech and things that the our government is going to take action.”

Now it remains to be seen whether the government will indeed to take action. Words are great, and the image painted surely looks good, but we need action. But let’s face the truth: we are never going to see any of the wireless players making a T-Mobile-like move by dropping roaming fees. It’s just too good a source of revenue for the big players, and the smaller players don’t have the financial power to do that.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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