CRTC Prohibits Exclusivity Clauses in Domestic Roaming Agreements

by Istvan Fekete on August 1, 2014

Rogers - One Rate Roaming Plans Rogers – One Rate Roaming PlansThe Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that it is prohibiting exclusivity causes in roaming agreements between Canadian carriers. The move aims to further enhance sustainable competition in the wireless market.

The regulator announced last December that it would look into the prices that network providers charge rivals for accessing networks, after receiving complaints over high domestic roaming fees from small carriers.

After carefully investigating the contract terms submitted by Canadian telcos, the regulator has found clear instances of unjust discrimination by the Rogers Communications Partnership.

Canada’s biggest carrier was found guilty of imposing exclusivity clauses in roaming agreements, prohibiting smaller carriers from using the networks of other wireless players. In addition, Rogers charged some new Canadian service providers significantly higher roaming rates compared to those of other wireless service providers.

The CRTC says it will analyze the competitive state of the wireless market and hold a public hearing on this issue on September 29, 2014. “Competition in the wireless industry benefits society and the economy by providing innovative communications services at reasonable prices. But that is only the case when true and sustainable competition is at play. Today’s decision will help promote fairness and a better consumer experience with wireless for Canadians,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman.

Quick facts:

  • The CRTC is concerned that situations of unjust discrimination do not promote fair and sustainable competition in the wholesale wireless market.
  • Canadian wireless service providers are now prohibited from using exclusivity provisions in wholesale roaming agreements for service in Canada.
  • The CRTC found clear instances of unjust discrimination by Rogers with certain new wireless service providers in agreements regarding wholesale roaming rates.
  • In June 2014, the Telecommunications Act was amended to include a formula that service providers must use to calculate caps for wholesale roaming rates. As such, the CRTC will not impose any remedy or rates for wholesale agreements.

Domestic roaming rates have been in the headlines lately, representing one of the key factors Quebecor wants solve in order to kick start its wireless expansion plans.

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

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