CRTC sets rate that will allow for greater choice of cellphone services
July 24, 2023—Ottawa–Gatineau—Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
The CRTC’s latest decision will help deliver more affordable cellphone plans to Canadians, while also ensuring that companies continue to invest in high-quality networks. The decision sets the rate that Quebecor Media Inc. (Quebecor) will pay Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers) when offering services using Rogers’ wireless network across Canada.
Today’s decision is the latest step in implementing the CRTC’s policy to increase cellphone competition in Canada. This policy allows regional companies to compete as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) using the networks of Canada’s large companies. With access to larger networks, regional competitors are able to offer services in parts of Canada that they do not currently serve. Regional competitors must then build their own networks in these areas within seven years.
On May 9, the CRTC set the rules for MVNO access and gave companies until August 7 to negotiate agreements. When companies cannot come to an agreement, they can ask the CRTC to set the rate through a process known as final offer arbitration. This process requires each company to submit a proposed rate for the CRTC’s consideration. Quebecor and Rogers asked the CRTC to initiate arbitration.
After a thorough analysis and detailed consideration of the two proposals, the CRTC chose the rate proposed by Quebecor. As required by the Telecommunications Act and the 2023 Policy Direction, the CRTC balanced competition, affordability, and investment in networks. Although details of the rate are confidential and cannot be disclosed, key aspects of the CRTC’s analysis are explained in today’s decision.
Now that the rate has been set, Quebecor (through Videotron, Freedom Mobile, and Fizz) is expected to offer cellphone services in more areas across Canada.
“Today’s decision is another step forward in facilitating more choice in cellphone services while also ensuring investment in high-quality networks. We will continue to move quickly to provide certainty to companies and to allow for greater competition for Canadians.”
- Vicky Eatrides, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC
In 2021, the CRTC introduced its policy to increase cellphone competition by allowing regional competitors to sell services using the networks of Canada’s large wireless companies.
In 2023, the CRTC finalized the rules for that policy. Those rules require companies to negotiate agreements by August 7, 2023.
When companies cannot come to a rate agreement on their own, they can apply to the CRTC for final offer arbitration. Each party submits its best final offer under the terms of the policy, and the CRTC selects the option that best aligns with the objectives of the Telecommunications Act and the 2023 Policy Direction.
These objectives dictate that the rate must:
- be fair and reasonable for the service;
- foster competition, innovation, and allow both companies to invest in networks; and
- promote affordable cellphone services for Canadians.
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