Quebecor Asks CRTC for Lower Roaming Rates, “Without Delay”

by Istvan Fekete on October 6, 2014

Since it purchased spectrum licences at the beginning of this year, Quebecor has taken every possible opportunity to emphasize that it is ready to become the fourth national player Ottawa has been pushing for. Last week, at the CRTC public hearing on the review of wholesale mobile wireless services, the parent company of Videotron emphasized once again that it wants to diversify the Canadian wireless landscape with new mobile offerings that will bring subscribers top-notch mobile services at highly competitive prices.

Once again, Quebecor took the opportunity to echo the government message we’ve heard so many times during the past 18 months: a fourth national player would bring additional benefits to Canadian wireless subscribers.

Brouilette reminded the CRTC that it is vital to introduce roaming charges based on real network usage costs. The current bill introduced by the government capping wholesale roaming fees is just an interim solution and is hurting small carriers, Brouilette said.

“In Quebec, Videotron has demonstrated that having a fourth facilities-based competitor gives consumers more choice, better service and lower prices,” said Manon Brouillette, President and CEO of Videotron. “All Canadians can enjoy the same benefits if the CRTC creates the right conditions.”

Quebecor’s position is in line with that of Tbaytel, MTS, and SaskTel, asking the regulator to “fine tune” the wholesale roaming bill, because it is hurting their profits: the bill works both ways, so the strong regional players are forced to allow the incumbents’ customers to roam on their networks for the capped fee.

“Currently, the rates stipulated by Bill C-31 are based on costs that include equipment subsidies, marketing, customer acquisition, retail and online distribution channels, customer service and debt collection,” noted Ms. Brouillette. “It is unfair and absurd to make new entrants finance the incumbent carriers by supporting their business operations in this way. No new entrant, no matter how financially healthy, can sustain such high roaming charges.”

During the presentation, Brouilette mentioned that Videotron had invested more than $1.8 billion purchasing spectrum and building its own mobile network, and discussed the difficulties the carrier has encountered in sharing the incumbents transmission towers, asking for stricter regulation.

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

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