Wind Mobile First to Cut Roaming Rates After Ottawa’s Push for Price Caps

by Istvan Fekete on August 22, 2014

It looks like Ottawa’s push to lower domestic roaming charges in Canada has finally seen results: a wireless startup announced yesterday that it is lowering rates for voice, text, and data.

Although the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission does not regulate the prices in the wireless industry, the government approved a law this spring that put a cap on the domestic roaming rates incumbents can charge their competitors to roam on their network.

The first small player to lower its roaming rates is Wind Mobile, and this is a direct result of Ottawa’s push. The Toronto-based carrier announced the new rates on Thursday, reducing what it charges for voice calls and text. It also cut charges for data roaming to 5 cents per megabyte, down from $1.

Simon Lockie, Wind’s chief regulatory officer, said that once the government’s interim caps on roaming rates came into force, the company has “been moving quickly to pass those savings on to customers.”

Eastlink Wireless recently launched nationwide roaming plans, and some of them include unlimited calling across the country and data packages that can be used while traveling outside the carrier’s coverage area.

As the carrier unveiled to the Globe and Mail, it had a long-term agreement with Rogers but also struck a deal with Telus or Bell recently (the company spokesman wouldn’t name the carrier). Ottawa’s interim rules came into effect on June 19 and now require incumbents to sell competitors access to their network for no more than what they charge their own retail customers on average. This certainly helped both wireless startups in their new offerings.

The roaming rates aren’t public, but in a letter posted in early August, the federal regulator (CRTC) said that based on the information they had received from carriers, the industry-wide average roaming cap is 8.1 cents for every minute of voice calling, 1.1 cent for text messages, and 3.7 cents for each megabyte of data.

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

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