Wholesale Roaming Caps Won’t Solve the Issue, Wind Mobile Co-Founder Says

by Istvan Fekete on May 28, 2014

Ottawa has plans to cap wholesale roaming rates, but this is only a start, say PIAC lawyers. And in a Senate hearing, Wind Mobile co-founder and chief regulatory officer Simon Lockie emphasized the same thing, adding that it doesn’t solve the issue (via The Wire Report).

The company signed an agreement with Rogers Communications back in 2009 to extend coverage beyond its own network, but the partnership was terrible, Lockie said.
Wind Mobile has deployed its own AWS network in a handful of cities such as Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, and outside the aforementioned areas it relies on Rogers’ network. As it turns out, this was an exclusive arrangement that the wireless startup was forced into due to the technological limitations at the time: Rogers was the only carrier capable of using Wind’s handsets.

Lockie pointed out during the Senate hearing what small wireless players need: regulation from the CRTC at carrier level that mitigates the incumbents’ “oligopoly”, and as little regulation as possible at the retail level to maintain competition.

The proposed bill in its current form is not sufficient to ensure long-term competition, Lockie said:

“The interim measure for retail rates is welcome but insufficient on its own, to create that playing field.”

Wind Mobile is in good health, Lockie said, and it doesn’t plan to bow to pressure from incumbents.

Of course, the carrier’s future is uncertain, since it depends on its financial backer, the Amsterdam-based VimpelCom. You may recall that Wind Mobile withdrew its application for the 700 MHz spectrum because of lack of financial support.

Now we have an answer as to why: the regulation of the wireless market needs to be changed, so the carrier won’t make major moves unless this change happens. And so does Quebecor, which still awaits a meeting with Industry Canada.

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

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