Verizon Communications to Lobby on Canada’s Wireless Policy

by Istvan Fekete on November 7, 2013

Verizon has been spotted on Canadian soil once again: this time the US-based wireless giant has registered to lobby the Canadian government on telecommunications policy, but as the company has highlighted, it has no plans to enter the country. The move aims to bring additional benefits to its subscribers.

You may recall the uproar among the Canadian incumbents when Verizon had been rumoured to be entering the local wireless market. The Big Three, however, could breathe more easily when Verizon’s chief announced that it had no plans to enter Canada, as buying out Vodafone’s stake in the company is now the carrier’s top priority.

Although there were rumours claiming multiple international telcoms were interested in acquiring spectrum through the forthcoming wireless spectrum auction – Verizon included – nothing materialized.

However, Verizon has since registered Peter Burn, counsel within the regulatory affairs group at Ottawa law firm Dentons Canada LLP, to lobby the federal government on telecoms wireless policy, the Financial post has learned.

According to Verizon spokesman Bob Varettoni, the lobbying activity is strictly related to serving the carrier’s US clients, who often travel to Canada for business purposes.

“It’s business as usual for us to be interested in Canada’s telecom policy since we serve enterprise customers there and our U.S. wireless customers often roam in Canada,” he said in an email. “This is unrelated to M&A strategy, and our policy positions in Canada have not changed.”

What’s interesting is that the CRTC has just created a special task force to investigate domestic carriers’ roaming practices. The investigation comes after Ottawa emphasized that reducing wireless bills is one of its main priorities.

Roaming charges entered the spotlight when the CRTC asked carriers to submit documentation about their roaming practices, which triggered an uproar from the Big Three: they don’t want to see any sort of regulation in this field.

In reply, wireless startups have pointed to the incumbents’ unfair roaming practices. In the end, the CRTC has decided to dig deeper into the issue, and we can expect some kind of solution in December.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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