TekSavvy cancels mobile ambitions, scales back investments after CRTC wholesale reversal

2 Jun 2021

Canadian ISP TekSavvy has withdrawn from the country’s 3.5GHz 5G mobile licence auction taking place later this month, due to the recent decision by the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to scrap the wholesale fixed internet access rate reductions proposed in 2019 and revert to higher rates set in 2016. As a result of this decision – seen as a major victory for large network operators including Bell, Telus, Rogers and Shaw – TekSavvy says it is also likely to scale back its plans to invest CAD250 million (USD207 million) in building fibre and wireless access networks around Southwestern Ontario. In a blog post, TekSavvy warned that many other operators now faced similarly bleak choices: ‘With obscenely high wholesale rates locked in and the repayments cancelled, independent ISPs will now be unable to offer competitive pricing or grow their operations. Some are likely to fold. Jobs will be lost. Investments will be pulled back.’