CRTC rules Rogers discriminated unjustly in domestic roaming agreements

1 Aug 2014

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) yesterday issued a judgement (Telecom Decision CRTC 2014-398) asserting that the country’s largest cellco by users Rogers Communications has been treating certain domestic rivals unfairly in its wholesale mobile network roaming agreements. Based on its review of the sector, the regulator stated that: ‘there were clear instances of unjust discrimination and undue preference by Rogers Communications Partnership with respect to (i) the imposition of exclusivity clauses in its wholesale mobile wireless roaming agreements with certain new entrants, and (ii) the wholesale mobile wireless roaming rates it charged certain new entrants. Consequently, the Commission prohibits exclusivity provisions in wholesale mobile wireless roaming agreements between Canadian carriers for service in Canada. Since the implementation of section 27.1 of the Telecommunications Act [see below] mitigates the risk of future unjust discrimination with respect to wholesale mobile wireless roaming rates, the Commission will not put in place a remedy in this regard.’

As referenced in the CRTC’s decision yesterday, the federal government tabled amendments to the Telecommunications Act in Bill C-31 of 28 March 2014, to cap domestic mobile roaming rates which Canadian operators may charge each other – preventing Canadian carriers from charging their peers more for wholesale mobile roaming services than they charge their own customers for mobile voice, data and text services. Bill C-31 received Royal Assent on 19 June 2014, and these caps now form part of the new section 27.1 of the Act.