The high cost of roaming and being stunned with “bill shock” might be over in Canada. Many carriers have reduced the cost of their international roaming rates, some up to 50%. The CRTC recently stated that they were “made aware of concerns with respect to the rates, terms, and conditions associated with wireless roaming,” and mandated all the carriers to submit roaming revenues dating back to 2007.
Leading up to the government’s big Throne Speech on Wednesday, James Moore, Canada’s Industry Minister, says they’ll make sure “consumers come first.” This has been a focus since he took over the position from Christian Paradis, and more heavily since the ‘Fair for Canada’ campaign by the Big 3, which his office responded by creating the ‘More Choices’ initiative.
“People open up their cellphone bill at the end of the month and they get hit in the face pretty hard when they see some roaming charges that they think are quite unfair”
In an interview with CTV, Moore declared that several changes are coming, specifically lower credit-card fees, unbundling of TV channels, possibly an airline “bill of rights”, and for wireless, a big push on competition and roaming.
Moore stated, “We also think that in the wireless sector that we want to have more competition and we’re going to keep moving towards that, but we also think that roaming fees are too high in this country. We know that there’s going to be a new regime put in place in the first week of December to cap international roaming fees, but we also want to move on domestic roaming fees as well, because sometimes as you know, people open up their cellphone bill at the end of the month and they get hit in the face pretty hard when they see some roaming charges that they think are quite unfair. We want to move on that as well. These are things that will be highlighted in the Throne Speech and things that the our government is going to take action.”
Hopefully they’ll also announce a digital strategy, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see what specific action is taken in regards to bringing more choice and lower fees.