Cogeco Cable Proposes That CRTC Back MVNOs to Increase Competition

by Istvan Fekete on September 26, 2014

Cogeco Cable Inc. announced that it will make recommendations to the CRTC on the future of mobile wireless services in Canada during the public hearing held by the regulator on September 29.

In an effort to boost competition in the wireless market, the government has been pushing for a fourth national player, instead of fostering the growth of existing small wireless players. Fortunately, Cogeco has proposals for changes to wireless regulations that it will present to the CRTC next week. If the regulator implements its proposals, Cogeco president and CEO Louis Audet said the company would consider offering its own mobile wireless services, focusing on areas where it already provides cable.

As Audet pointed out, the company’s suggestion is that the regulator require that the incumbents let small players use their radio networks for a standard fee. This would be a radical change from how the commission currently regulates the industry.

“Given the high concentration in the Canadian mobile wireless market, Cogeco strongly believes that regulatory measures fostering the entry of MVNOs in addition to other measures will increase competition in the market and enhance consumer choice”, stated Louis Audet. “A regulated MVNO option would definitely be in the best interest of Canadian customers and businesses”, he concluded.

Fact is, the CRTC is aware of how much importance mobile wireless communication has in the lives of Canadians: about 66% of Canadians now own a smartphone or tablet, up from roughly 50% recorded in 2012.

The government has been vocal about increasing competition, and this year Videotron stepped forward and suggested that it is ready to challenge the Big Three, but it currently has coverage only in Québec and the surrounding area.

That’s why wholesale mobile wireless roaming rates – the fee one carrier bills another to let its customers use its network – have become a very hot topic. Fortunately for wireless players, this timely question will be discussed publicly next week.

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

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