In a long-awaited step, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued decisions on the terms and conditions for MVNO access to the networks of national infrastructure-based mobile operators Rogers, Bell and Telus, and Saskatchewan provincial operator SaskTel, who must now begin accepting requests for access to their networks and enter negotiations with regional mobile providers to agree on wholesale MVNO rates. The CRTC says its measures will accelerate competition in new areas while regional mobile providers build out their networks.
The CRTC says its latest initiatives will:
• open the door for more companies, in particular smaller regional providers in rural areas, to provide greater competition and choice to more Canadians
• ensure that the calls and data sessions of MVNO subscribers do not drop when they move between coverage zones
• ensure that MVNO access is offered on current and future mobile networks, including 5G, ‘denying several provisions that would make the MVNO access service more restrictive or difficult to use’
• prevent any provisions that would restrict regional providers from reselling their wholesale access to other MVNOs.
The CRTC said it expects ‘the large providers to negotiate in good faith and come to an agreement as quickly as possible with regional wireless providers.’
TeleGeography notes that the CRTC’s April 2021 decision to mandate conditional MVNO access to the networks of Rogers, Bell, Telus and SaskTel only applied to regional providers with network infrastructure and spectrum, drawing widespread criticism for stopping short of mandating wider MVNO access or directly regulating wholesale rates, while it took another 18 months for the regulator to finalise terms and conditions.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database is now home to the telecoms industry’s fastest-growing collection of MVNO data, covering more than 1,800 virtual operators in over 90 countries. Find many more MVNO news articles in CommsUpdate’s MVNO Monday.