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Thread: ISED directs CRTC to reconsider Sugar Mobile decision

  1. #16
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    Let's wait and see, he might surprise us.

    And when it comes to rendering decisions, the CRTC is more than one person.
    The government has shown their inclination by requesting this review.

    The new CRTC chair, Ian Scott, is a former Telus executive, so some worry he's too cozy with the big telecoms to regulate them. But he's also familiar with the ideal solution: Before he worked for Telus, he was a lobbyist for Call-Net Enterprises, the former parent of Sprint Canada. Sprint was a telecom reseller—rather than build its own network of phone lines, Sprint would lease space on the existing network and sell phone services directly to consumers. By doing so, the company created more competition and helped drive prices down (until it was acquired by Rogers, anyway).
    - a simple solution

    --
    Order in Council 2017-0557

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    Quote Originally Posted by jattdesi View Post
    ^The new chairman was a Former Executive of Telus from what I recall, He mostly likly is collecting a huge Telus pension plus a huge payout/buy out package which a lot of these executives get because it was part of there contract. So that means he is Part of the Cartel known as Robellus so I don't see any MVNO's coming to Canada
    I read somewhere where he said that the incumbents should be able to get a return on their investments. Something like that. I don't remember the exact wording. But I hope he surprises us by being pro consumer because wireless is expensive for Canadians.

    I also hope he continues what Blais was doing with broadband internet.

  3. #18
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    A letter to Ian

    The government has shown their inclination by requesting this review.
    And just so we're clear...

    A letter from the Government of Canada to the new CRTC Chair:

    New CRTC Chair’s Leadership Will Help Shape the Future of Canada’s Communication System

    OTTAWA, September 28, 2017

    The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today sent a welcome letter to Ian Scott, recently appointed Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

    The Government of Canada would like to congratulate the new Chair of the CRTC and to inform him of the Government’s vision and priorities with respect to Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications system.
    ...

    Dear Mr. Scott:
    ...
    Therefore, you begin this role at an important time and we are confident that your wealth of experience and knowledge will be put to good use during your term. We would like to take this opportunity to inform you of what will be, in our view, important issues in fulfilling your mandate going forward.
    ...
    With respect to telecommunications, digital technologies and the networks that support them are increasingly necessary for all Canadians to work, learn and be active participants in the digital economy. The Government’s objectives are to improve the quality, coverage, and price of services. All Canadians and Canadian businesses deserve high quality telecommunications services at affordable prices. The prosperity of Canadians depends on their access to affordable Internet and wireless services. These services are no longer luxuries...

    The Government’s objectives are to improve the quality, coverage, and price of services.
    All Canadians... deserve high quality telecommunications services at affordable prices.

    Increased competition is an important tool for advancing these goals...
    As a Government, we want to drive disruptive competition and investment in innovative network services.
    Increased competition is an important tool for advancing these goals. At a time when middle-class Canadians are concerned about the rising cost of these services, the Government will encourage more private sector competition and investment in services that have become essential in a digital economy. As a Government, we want to drive disruptive competition and investment in innovative network services.
    ...
    Every day, we are seeing the development of new tools and business models that lead to economic growth, showcase Canadian creativity and improve wellbeing for Canadians. The Government is always looking for opportunities to help promote innovation throughout society; this includes being innovators ourselves in terms of how we serve Canadians.

    We wish you all the best as you assume these new responsibilities.

    Sincerely,


    The Honourable Mélanie Joly, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Canadian Heritage

    The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

    --
    https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-he...ascommuni.html
    Last edited by pjw918; 09-29-2017 at 01:20 PM.

  4. #19
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    Cogeco urges government to get serious about wireless competition
    Globe and Mail, Jan 11 2018
    Christine Dobby

    Cogeco Communications Inc.'s Louis Audet would very much like to offer his cable customers wireless service, but says that will not be possible unless the federal government and regulators are serious about competition.

    The chief executive officer of the Montreal-based cable company says he is closely watching a review of a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruling on operators that rely on WiFi as the primary means of connecting customers but roam on the networks of big players when WiFi is unavailable.

    To date, Cogeco – which sells cable and internet services in suburban and smaller cities in Ontario and Quebec – has not invested in building a wireless network. Instead, in recent years, it has advocated for regulatory rules that would allow it to resell wireless service provided by one of Canada's established carriers at a reasonable price.

    Mr. Audet said in an interview on Thursday that the government has failed to create a market for these mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in Canada because the national carriers, Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc. and Telus Corp., are unwilling to negotiate access to their networks at "commercially reasonable" rates.

    "The established players have no interest in seeing MVNOs and greater competition," he said. "So, if the government becomes serious about enabling competition, it will grant WiFi-based operators the status of facilities-based competitors, which can then roam on other people's networks."

    Last June, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains ordered the CRTC to reconsider a ruling that shut down a business model used by Toronto startup Sugar Mobile, which offered cheap wireless service using WiFi and turned to a roaming agreement its sister company Ice Wireless has with Rogers for service when WiFi was not available (Ice operates a small network of its own in the territories.)

    The CRTC said this was "permanent roaming" and did not comply with rules meant to encourage "facilities-based" investment, which refers to buying airwaves and building networks. The commission has until March 31 to review the ruling, and Mr. Bains told the regulator to consider a "WiFi-first MVNO" model.
    ...

    Read article in full at Globe and Mail

    -
    Cogeco CEO voices support for Wi-Fi-first MVNO model
    MobileSyrup Jan 12 2018

    --
    TNC 2017-259

  5. #20
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    The CRTC has rendered its decision on TNC 2017-259 Reconsideration of Telecom Decision 2017-56 regarding final terms and conditions for wholesale mobile wireless roaming service [Sugar Mobile decision]

    Telecom Decision CRTC 2018-97
    [excerpts below, highlighting added, numbering did not transfer]

    tl;dr
    In this decision, the Commission relies on market forces to the maximum extent feasible insofar as it does not consider it appropriate, at this time, to expand the types of providers that qualify for mandated wholesale access.
    ...
    Issues

    The Commission has identified the following issues to be addressed in this decision:
    • Should the Commission modify Telecom Decision 2017-56 to broaden the definition of “home network” to include other forms of connectivity, such as Wi-Fi, for the purpose of wholesale roaming? If so, what would be the potential impact on the affordability of and investments in mobile wireless services?
    • What can the Commission do to address concerns regarding the lack of choice of innovative and affordable mobile wireless services, particularly for Canadians with low household incomes?

    ...
    ...while the introduction of resale competition could result in some improvement to affordability, the Commission considers that the potential negative impact on investment outweighs that benefit.
    As to whether the evidence demonstrates in a “sufficiently clear and significant manner” that that potential negative impact on investment is outweighed by the potential positive impact on affordability, the Commission notes that its findings in this regard are based on the evidence that comprises the record of the current proceeding. Given the circumstances, the Commission considers that the record is persuasive insofar as it establishes that there is a risk to the investment by certain wireless carriers, especially with respect to expansion in rural areas, if the Commission were to expand access to wholesale wireless roaming.

    Could impact on investment be mitigated by imposing conditions on mandated wholesale roaming?

    Positions of parties

    Bell Mobility argued ...
    ...
    The CWTA submitted that mitigation of the negative impact on investment through the imposition of conditions, if even possible, would be difficult, and that one or more separate proceedings would be required to determine the appropriate conditions.

    Commission’s analysis and determinations

    In the Commission’s view, the record of the proceeding demonstrates, in general terms, that conditions such as higher rates or capacity limits could be used as tools to limit the use of a service, regardless of whether that service is a wholesale roaming service or a wholesale MVNO access service.
    However, as to what those conditions might be, wireless carriers generally indicated that no potential condition would mitigate the potential risk to their investments, while potential users of the service indicated that no meaningful condition to restrict the service would be necessary. Consequently, the Commission considers that the record of this proceeding is inconclusive on this matter, such that the Commission cannot render a clear decision on what specific constraints would be required to appropriately mitigate impacts on carrier investment.

    Conclusion

    In light of the above, the Commission considers that other alternatives to improve the choice of innovative and affordable mobile wireless services, particularly for Canadians with low household incomes, would be desirable to avoid the regulatory uncertainty and risk of negative impact on investment that would be created by broadening the definition of “home network.”
    In addition, the Commission acknowledges the Governor in Council’s desire to improve the choice of innovative and affordable mobile wireless services, particularly for Canadians with low household incomes, and agrees that such improvement is important.
    Accordingly, as set out in greater detail below, the Commission considers that there are alternative means to address the concerns identified by the Governor in Council.

    What can the Commission do to address concerns regarding the lack of choice of innovative and affordable mobile wireless services, particularly for Canadians with low household incomes?

    The Order in Council referred to the following three policy objectives of the Act:
    7(b) to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada;
    7(g) to stimulate research and development in Canada in the field of telecommunications and to encourage innovation in the provision of telecommunications services; and
    7(h) to respond to the economic and social requirements of users of telecommunications services
    With these objectives in mind, the Commission intends to take immediate measures to improve choice and affordability for mobile wireless services and, in the near term, review the overall effectiveness of its policies on wireless resale competition by moving forward with a broad review of the wholesale wireless framework. The Commission’s rationale and approach are discussed in detail below.

    Lower-cost data-only plans

    During the proceeding, the Commission sought comments from parties as to whether the introduction of lower-cost data-only plans could address the considerations identified in the Order in Council, especially with respect to improving affordability and choice while minimizing negative impacts on investment in wireless infrastructure. The Commission also asked how any type of regulatory intervention in this regard might be imposed under the Act, and what service parameters might be applied to such plans to ensure that they address the challenges faced by Canadians, especially those with low household incomes.

    Positions of parties

    Wireless carriers generally opposed any regulatory intervention mandating lower-cost data-only plans, arguing that there are numerous data-only options currently available, and that market forces alone should dictate which types of plans are offered.
    ...

    Commission’s analysis and determinations

    Canadians are increasingly relying on mobile wireless data services to participate in the digital economy, access government services, and communicate with each other on a number of platforms. The number of consumers with data plans, and the consumption behaviour of these consumers, are continually growing.
    The Commission has observed, however, that while entry-level wireless plans with lower price points are widely available from several wireless service providers, most of these plans contain voice minutes and text messaging but offer only very limited data allotments. Further, there is a noticeable gap in the market in terms of lower-cost data-only plans available to consumers.
    ...
    Accordingly, concurrent with the release of this decision, the Commission is initiating a public process with the goal of ensuring that lower-cost data-only plans are widely available to Canadians. Since the Commission’s goal is to have these plans as broadly available as possible across Canada, including urban and rural areas, the Commission considers that the focus of this process should be on the national wireless carriers, given their national wireless network coverage.
    In Telecom Notice of Consultation 2018-98, also released today, the Commission has directed the national wireless carriers to file proposals for lower-cost data-only plans, subject to certain parameters that are set out in the notice. Interested persons will have an opportunity to comment on the proposals pursuant to the procedure set out in that notice.
    The intent of the process is to determine whether the national wireless carriers should be required to offer lower-cost data-only plans by, for instance, imposing a section 24 condition of service, and how such plans should be structured to address the gap in the market for lower-cost data-only plans and further the policy objectives set out in section 7 of the Act.

    Wireless framework review

    In Telecom Regulatory Policy 2015-177, the Commission determined that the regulatory measures it had established should remain in place for a minimum period of five years to allow for the development of sustainable competition, and to encourage continued innovation and investment in high-quality telecommunications facilities. The Commission committed to monitoring the competitive conditions in the mobile wireless services market during this time.
    There have been positive signs* that the intensity of facilities-based competition is increasing across the country. Facilities-based wireless competitors such as Eastlink, Freedom Mobile, SaskTel, and Videotron are continuing to invest in wireless facilities, and evidence shows that prices are generally lower in areas where there are several facilities-based carriers operating.
    That being said, the development of sustainable facilities-based competition is a strategy that requires nurturing and regulatory certainty. The investments required to acquire spectrum, build an extensive network, and obtain a critical mass of customers are considerable (especially given the dominant positions of the national wireless carriers), and can be put at risk by many factors, including regulatory uncertainty.
    The Commission fully supports a vibrant and diverse competitive landscape that includes a mix of facilities-based competitors and resellers, and is of the view that strong facilities-based competition should naturally result in more opportunities for resale competition, such as through the sale of excess network capacity or through differentiation strategies. In the Commission’s view, the best way to support the growth of facilities-based competition at this time is to provide certainty and stability to wireless competitors by adhering to the five-year time frame identified in the wholesale wireless framework before considering significant regulatory changes.
    If, however, the amount of resale competition in the Canadian market remains limited after the five-year time frame, it would be an opportune time for the Commission to consider whether regulatory intervention through a mandated wholesale MVNO access service or other means would be necessary to add increased choice to the marketplace.
    In addition, there are several other issues that could be included in the scope of the next wholesale wireless framework review. For instance, the evolution to 5G networks will bring new challenges that the Commission will likely need to examine to determine if regulatory measures are required to support its introduction.
    In light of the above, the Commission determines that it intends to initiate a review of its wholesale wireless framework within the next year, with a view to completing the review within the 2020 time frame, to align with the five-year time frame identified in the original framework decision. The Commission intends to include in the review an examination of its wholesale MVNO access policy to ensure that there a sufficient degree of choice of innovative and affordable mobile wireless services in the Canadian market.

    Conclusion

    The Commission considers that the next two years represent a critical phase in the growth and development of the Canadian wireless industry. In the Commission’s view, a continued commitment to facilities-based competition will encourage the capital investment necessary to ensure Canada’s wireless networks are world class. At the same time, the Commission considers that, while wireless resale represents an important part of a fully functioning wireless market, it would be premature for the Commission to change its policy on mandated wholesale access.
    To that end, the Commission’s intends in the near term to look closely at whether there are impediments to the development of both facilities-based competition and resale competition in Canada through a fulsome review of its wholesale wireless framework.
    The Commission recognizes that the time for facilities-based competition to develop has been long, and that during this process there have been challenges, particularly for Canadians with low household incomes. In the Commission’s view, its short-term action to address the availability of lower-cost data-only plans will provide consumers with more choice when it comes to innovative and affordable mobile wireless services and applications. The Commission expects that the introduction of these new lower-cost data-only plans will serve as a catalyst for further competition in the market.

    Policy Direction

    ...
    The key issues under consideration in this decision relate to determining whether changes to the terms and conditions for mandated wholesale roaming established in Telecom Decision 2017-56 should be modified to expand the types of service providers that qualify for mandated wholesale roaming and, if not, what other regulatory measures may be appropriate to support the availability of innovative, high-quality mobile wireless services at affordable prices.
    In this decision, the Commission relies on market forces to the maximum extent feasible insofar as it does not consider it appropriate, at this time, to expand the types of providers that qualify for mandated wholesale access. The Commission considers that such an expansion would result in regulation that is unlikely to be efficient and proportionate to its purpose of supporting the availability of high-quality, innovative mobile wireless services at affordable prices.
    Nonetheless, the record has revealed that some regulatory intervention may be necessary to address the policy objectives. Therefore, the Commission has initiated additional process to assess this issue in further detail.

    --
    The decision in full:
    crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2018/2018-97.htm

    --
    *Lucky Mobile served its purpose well.
    Last edited by pjw918; 03-23-2018 at 12:11 PM.

  6. #21
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    No change in the status quo.
    "Risk to investment" carried the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pjw918 View Post
    No change in the status quo.
    "Risk to investment" carried the day.
    Like the Telecoms need protecting. Even Videotron and Shaw are well established and are vertically integrated.

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    Back to You Minister Bains: CRTC Rejects Mandated MVNO System (Again)
    Michael Geist, Mar 22

    The CRTC has released its much-anticipated re-consideration ruling on how regional and smaller wireless companies access wholesale roaming services from larger providers. By sending a previous CRTC decision back to the Commission for re-consideration, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains signalled the government’s hope that the competitiveness problems in the Canadian wireless sector – consumers still pay some of the highest rates in the world – could be addressed through mandating access for new competitors on a wholesale basis. The Commission reviewed its earlier decision and basically said thanks, but no thanks, keeping the key policy elements unchanged.

    ...the decision represents a set-back for consumers and for a government that seemingly hoped the CRTC would take steps toward fostering a more competitive wireless environment. Instead, the Commission is siding with carriers that argue that mandated access would have a negative impact on their investment plans:
    ...
    The CRTC will seek new evidence on the state of the market as part of the next review, but that will not conclude until 2020. After that, even if it established a mandated MVNO policy, there would be appeals, reviews, and presumably further hearings. In other words, there is little relief coming for most consumers from the Commission on the state of wireless competition in Canada. Given the government’s stated concerns with wireless affordability, further steps may require a political or legislative solution. Over to you, Minister Bains.

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    @mgeist: Takeaway from CRTC decision: carriers win. Mandated MVNO via CRTC years away, if ever. Low cost data-only plans may assist some on affordability but won’t address broader pricing concerns. In short, the Commission won’t do much on wireless competition. Over to you @NavdeepSBains.

    @peternowak: Remember when people were worried about putting an ex-Telus guy in charge of the #CRTC? Well, the chickens are coming home to roost.

    @peternowak: Honestly, I'm so done with Canadian telecom. The oligopoly has its tenterhooks in so deep that nobody, not regulators or government, can or will do anything about it. This is banana republic stuff. Sorry folks, keep paying till you bleed.

    @jdtabish: Given that @melaniejoly and @NavdeepSBains installed a former telecom executive to be the head of the @CRTCeng we shouldn't be surprised by today's blatantly anti-consumer decision. What a disgrace. #CRTC

    @NavdeepSBains: Canadians said they wanted more affordable telecommunication services and our government took action. Today's decision by the CRTC is a step in the right direction, but more must be done: true affordability can only come from true competition.

    --
    Big telcos not required to sell wholesale network access to tower-less rivals, CRTC says
    CBC Mar 23
    Last edited by pjw918; 03-23-2018 at 01:22 PM.

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    For Ottawa, CRTC decision marks another failed effort at fixing wireless affordability
    Globe and Mail, Mar 23
    Michael Geist

    Few policy issues have proven as frustrating as the state of Canadian wireless pricing. For the better part of a decade, Conservative and Liberal governments have grappled with overwhelming evidence that Canadian consumers pay some of the highest prices for wireless services in the world. The solution has always seemed obvious: more competition. Yet despite repeated efforts to nudge the market and regulator toward a more competitive environment, the needle has barely moved.

    The latest failed effort was sparked by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains’ June 2017 request to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to reconsider a decision on how regional and smaller wireless companies access wholesale roaming services from larger providers.

    Given the significant capital costs in building new networks from scratch (even giants Bell and Telus joined forces to build a shared network), the government was hoping that it could facilitate more competition through a mandated mobile virtual network operator model (MVNO). MVNOs typically do not own spectrum or network infrastructure. Instead, they purchase network access at wholesale rates from existing operators and offer it to consumers with their own retail pricing.

    On Thursday, the CRTC slammed the door shut on mandated MVNOs for the foreseeable future. While its ruling offered up some affordability measures in the form of new, low-cost, data-only wireless alternatives that it wants carriers to offer, the decision was an unmistakable rejection of the government’s preferred policy measure.

    CRTC chair Ian Scott sounded like a telecom executive when he tried to spin the low-cost offering as a “superior alternative” to measures designed to foster new competitors through mandated MVNOs
    Despite longstanding views that the path to better pricing lies with more competition, CRTC chair Ian Scott sounded like a telecom executive when he tried to spin the low-cost offering as a “superior alternative” to measures designed to foster new competitors through mandated MVNOs. Indeed, the Commission’s track record with low-cost offerings is not good. Its mandated “skinny basic” television service is generally viewed as a failure, and this latest approach seems unlikely to have much impact with no enhanced choice of service providers.

    Mr. Bains wasn’t buying Mr. Scott’s assessment, noting in a statement that “more must be done: true affordability can only come from true competition.” If the CRTC decision does not foster true competition, what might he have in mind?

    Not only did the Commission sidestep wireless competition concerns with this latest decision, but last month it also rejected a request for a public inquiry into aggressive telecom sales tactics, essentially telling concerned consumers to look elsewhere for relief.
    At this stage, the government must surely recognize that the answer does not lie with the CRTC. Not only did the Commission sidestep wireless competition concerns with this latest decision, but last month it also rejected a request for a public inquiry into aggressive telecom sales tactics, essentially telling concerned consumers to look elsewhere for relief.

    New CRTC chairs often use an early decision to set the tone for their mandate. Jean-Pierre Blais sent the message that the public interest would take priority when he initially rejected a proposed Bell-Astral merger and infamously challenged BCE CEO George Cope to respond to consumer concerns during a public hearing. Mr. Scott may have used this decision to set a different tone, affirming the Commission’s independence from the government and replacing the mantra of putting Canadians at the centre of their communications system with a more cautious, industry-friendly perspective.

    New policy measures to enhance Canadian wireless competition will therefore fall to the government. The usual suspects – encouraging foreign investment and setting aside spectrum for new entrants – have had only a limited impact to-date.

    Mr. Bains could signal that further marketplace consolidation will face government opposition on competition grounds. Such an approach comes too late to save the competitive landscape in Manitoba, where last year’s merger of Bell and MTS reduced the number of competitors from four to three, with consumer pricing set to increase as a result. However, shutting the door on consolidation would help sustain better pricing in more-competitively priced markets such as Saskatchewan and Quebec.

    For the rest of the country, forging ahead with a mandated MVNO policy may be the best available option. In other markets, the emergence of nimble, low-cost competitors leads to more innovative pricing and services. The CRTC decision delays potential MVNO reform until at least 2020 and uses language that suggests it will face an uphill battle even then. The government need not wait for the CRTC to act and could take matters into its own hands.

    In addition to facilitating new market entry, the government can start addressing lingering consumer frustrations such as escalating roaming charges and dubious sales tactics. Committee hearings on the state of the consumer wireless experience would bring the issue into the political arena and – when combined with the government’s strong support for net neutrality – provide some key issues to consider as part of a promised legislative review of Canada’s communications law framework.

    Last June, Mr. Bains touted the benefits of a WiFi-based MVNO model, arguing that it “could benefit Canadian consumers, especially those with low incomes who are not well served by existing plans.” The CRTC extinguished those hopes on Thursday, leaving the minister in the same position as many of his predecessors, facing frustrated consumers, an unco-operative regulator, and incumbent providers who appear far more comfortable fighting regulatory battles than bringing competitive pricing to the Canadian market.

    Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

    Globe and Mail

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    CRTC’s rulings on wireless competition lack concrete solutions for high costs, critics say
    Globe and Mail, Mar 23
    Christine Dobby

    Investment analysts are hailing a series of decisions on wireless competition from Canada's telecom regulator as relatively benign for the fortunes of national carriers, raising questions about whether the federal government will intervene further to address affordability.

    The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released three rulings Thursday, saying it recognizes that high wireless prices are a concern and ordering Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. to propose new low-cost plans.

    Rogers, BCE and Telus all said they were pleased with the CRTC's decision...
    The regulator also slashed the rates [**incorrect! see below -pjw] that smaller, regional carriers such as Freedom Mobile and Videotron Ltd. must pay the Big Three when their customers travel and roam on their networks, but it did not introduce rules that would have encouraged a business model popular in the United States and Europe to grow here. Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) do not buy wireless airwaves, called spectrum, or invest in building their own networks; instead, they pay wholesale rates for the use of other carriers' networks and offer discount services to their customers.

    The decision came as a surprise to those who expected the CRTC to take steps to increase competition by allowing MVNOs that use WiFi as their primary means of connecting customers to access roaming services at regulated rates. Many predicted the regulator would move on that front because Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains ordered the CRTC last June to review the possibility of "WiFi-first" options.

    Financial analysts generally said they viewed the outcome as neutral for the incumbent carriers, saying the CRTC's decisions as a whole indicate its continued support for so-called "facilities-based investment," which refers to measures to encourage companies to buy airwaves and spend money on their own towers and radio equipment. But the decision also drew criticism from those who view MVNOs as an effective way to encourage competition and help Canadians access cheaper plans, including from the entrepreneur who tried to use the model here in 2016.

    "Canadian consumers probably got the short end of the stick," Samer Bishay said in an interview Friday. "Another public consultation? We see how slow the CRTC moves. Every decision takes a year and a half."

    The review of WiFi-first operators was prompted by Mr. Bishay's startup, Sugar Mobile, which relied on the roaming agreement of Ice Wireless, a sister company that operates a network in the North to serve customers when they are out of WiFi range. Ice Wireless's roaming partner, Rogers, objected to this arrangement, saying it amounted to permanent roaming because most of Sugar Mobile's customers did not live in the North and were therefore never on Ice Wireless's actual network.

    He said he would try to reach a roaming agreement with one of the smaller regional carriers – such as Freedom Mobile or Videotron – who will now pay the Big Three lower roaming rates themselves and may have a financial incentive to sell excess airtime to Sugar Mobile.

    Montreal-based Cogeco Communications Inc. was also critical of the outcome. Chief technology officer Luc Noiseux, whose company would like to offer its cable customers a wireless option, said, "Cogeco believes that there is a certain urgency in allowing MVNOs in Canada."

    MVNOs are more common in parts of Europe, where they have enjoyed some regulatory support, and in the U.S., where some of the large carriers have been willing to strike agreements to sell excess airtime.

    But the market has not developed in a similar way in Canada, where the Big Three dominate and the government and CRTC have taken steps to encourage fourth players to compete by building their own networks. Those regional carriers have also argued against mandating MVNO access, saying enabling new players with lower-priced options to enter the market would undermine their own business models as they spend on networks and try to compete with the Big Three.

    "We are pleased with the CRTC's decisions released yesterday, which clearly reflect that the commission continues to value facilities-based investment," said Jill Laing, spokeswoman for Halifax-based carrier Eastlink.

    Videotron and Freedom Mobile declined to comment Friday.

    Rogers, BCE and Telus all said they were pleased with the CRTC's decision to support facilities-based investments.

    For his part, Mr. Bains said the fact the CRTC recognized affordability as a problem was "a step in the right direction," but he added: "More can and will be done from my perspective. I firmly believe that true affordability can only be achieved by having true competition."

    His office is not saying more at this point, but after making a series of comments on the need for better prices and more competition in the wireless market in recent months, there are questions about what more he might do. The government is expected to release rules for the auction of valuable low-band airwaves in the near future and is likely to earmark a portion of licences for small players.

    Beyond that, it could force the CRTC to reconsider the issue or legislate MVNO access itself. But it would walk a difficult line, as the government also has a policy of encouraging companies to invest in building their own networks. Such actions would also come at a difficult time, as carriers start building 5G (fifth-generation) networks over the next few years.

    In the meantime, Rogers, BCE and Telus have a month to come up with proposals for lower-cost, data-only wireless plans...
    In remarks to reporters, [CRTC chair Ian Scott] pointed to one plan offered by Videotron in Quebec that gives customers 500 megabytes of data for $30 a month.
    In the meantime, Rogers, BCE and Telus have a month to come up with proposals for lower-cost, data-only wireless plans. CRTC chairman Ian Scott said Thursday he could not specify what that would mean, but he did say they should be available nationally and not subject to any kind of low-income means test for consumers. In remarks to reporters, he pointed to one plan offered by Videotron in Quebec that gives customers 500 megabytes of data for $30 a month.##

    Yet it is not clear that such a plan would address the frustrations of most smartphone users. The most recent CRTC numbers show that Canadians with a data plan used an average of 1.57 gigabytes of data per month in 2016, and the major carriers say data use is expanding exponentially.

    Globe and Mail

    --
    ** Order 2018-99 released Thursday finalized wholesale roaming rates (tariffs) first established on an interim basis three years ago with TRP 2015-177, issued under Jean-Pierre Blais. This week's 2018-99 confirmed RBT can charge the smaller carriers a 40% markup on top of very generously calculated 'costs'.

    ## Someone is confused. The $30/500MB plan does exist, but is not data-only. Videotron has a $45/3GB tablet plan.
    What this quote from the media call does reveal is the CRTC Chair's conception of value in the Canadian wireless market.
    .
    Last edited by pjw918; 03-24-2018 at 10:26 PM.

  12. #27
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    Competition does not happen at the cell tower
    Timothy Denton, Apr 12

    Since telecommunications policy is a zone almost uniquely bereft of competition in ideas, the lumbering dinosaur called "facilities based competition" grazes undisturbed on the plains of consumer surplus on the continent called Regulatoria.
    The kind of competition MVNOs bring to the market is not entirely like Uber competing with taxis, or house rental apps competing with hotels. They are more like apps that fill the hotels and take a fee for doing so.

    If a Canadian MVNO can deliver customers to American cellular incumbents for less than the incumbents can do so on their own, then the opposition to MVNOs must come from some other motive. And the motive, as we all know, is protecting incumbents from effective competition.
    -
    Timothy Denton is Chair of the Internet Society of Canada and served as National Commissioner on the CRTC from 2008 - 2013.
    A Canadian tale of wireless competition, and another
    From unjust discrimination to undue preference - a CRTC timeline

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