CRTC continues to foster investment, innovation and affordable choice in the wireless market

News release

Seeks to make data-only wireless plans more widely available to Canadians and sets final wholesale roaming rates

March 22, 2018 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

The CRTC today launched a public process to ensure lower-cost data-only wireless plans are available to Canadians across the country, as part of its efforts to foster affordability, innovation and choice in the wireless market.

The purpose of the consultation will be to determine the specific attributes of lower-cost data-only plans. The CRTC is also seeking comments on what specific rules, if any, are needed to ensure they are widely available to Canadians.

Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus must provide their proposals for lower-cost data-only plans by April 23. The CRTC will then publish the proposals for public comment.

The CRTC recently examined, at the Governor-in-Council’s request, whether wireless offerings based on different business models and technologies, such as Wi-Fi access, could be leveraged to improve the affordability of wireless services for Canadians. The CRTC concluded that there is a gap in the market for lower-cost data-only plans. If these plans were more prevalent, Canadians, including those with low household incomes, would have more choice when it comes to innovative and affordable mobile wireless services.

To ensure that its regulatory approach fosters improved innovation and choice in the wireless market, the CRTC also announced today that it will initiate a review of its wholesale mobile wireless framework within the next year.

Wholesale Roaming services – Final rates

Today, the CRTC published the final rates that Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus charge the smaller wireless companies for wholesale roaming services.

Other Canadian wireless companies need to obtain wholesale roaming services under reasonable rates, terms and conditions in order to offer comparable broad or national wireless coverage to their own customers. The final rates will facilitate sustainable competition in the wireless market that will provide benefits to Canadians, while also ensuring continued investments in high-quality networks.


“Canadians are demanding greater choice of innovative and affordable mobile wireless services. Today’s decision will see the introduction of lower-cost data-only plans throughout Canada as well as reduced final rates for wholesale roaming. As a result, Canadians stand to benefit from more investment in wireless networks and innovative and reasonably priced services.”

Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC

Quick facts

  • Following a direction from the Governor-in-Council to reconsider certain elements of a 2017 decision on wholesale wireless services, the CRTC is launching a consultation regarding data-only wireless plans.

  • Data-only wireless plans would empower Canadians to use the voice and messaging applications of their choice when and where they want, using a combination of Wi-Fi access and cellular networks.

  • The next complete review of the wholesale wireless framework, including the policy on wholesale mobile virtual network operator access, will start within the next year.

  • In 2015, the CRTC concluded that Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus possessed market power in regards to wholesale roaming services.

  • The CRTC decided that it would regulate the rates that Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus charge other companies for wholesale wireless roaming services.

  • The final wholesale roaming rates are retroactive to 2015, the date of the implementation of the interim rates.

  • The final wholesale roaming rates are from 44% to 99% lower, depending on the carrier and the wireless service whether it’s voice, text or data, compared to those that were available to competitors prior to the CRTC’s decision to regulate them.

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