CRTC finds Rogers engaged in ‘unjust discrimination’ against new entrants in domestic roaming, bans future exclusivity agreements

Daniel Bader

July 31, 2014 3:29pm

The CRTC has found Rogers engaged in what it is calling “unjust discrimination” and “undue preference” towards new entrants in respect to roaming agreements.

Canada’s enforcer of telecommunication rules came down hard against the country’s largest carrier, banning it or any other carrier from adding exclusivity clauses into domestic roaming agreements. The report comes after an announcement in December that the CRTC would review the practice of domestic roaming agreements, which allow smaller carriers like Wind, Mobilicity, Videotron and others, to offer cellular service in areas it owns no equipment. In March, the Commission recommended a change to the Telecommunications Act whereby telcos would be barred from charging other carriers more than they charge their own customers for various wireless services.

The decision today singles out Rogers as the main culprit in suppressing wireless competition across the country by making it financially unfeasible for smaller carriers to receive fair wholesale prices for domestic roaming services.

According to the aggrieved parties, “national wireless carriers are able to engage in unjustly discriminatory and unduly preferential behaviour because they are in a significantly better bargaining position than the new entrants and small mobile wireless carriers.” Telcos like Rogers are accused of unfairly keeping domestic roaming costs high to prevent new entrants from establishing themselves on a national level.

The same point was raised by the Competition Bureau earlier this year when it said, “national wireless carriers can use wholesale roaming agreements as a strategic tool to ensure that new entrants are not, and do not become, effective competitors… [and] there is a significant risk that they will either become niche players with little competitive effect or simply exit the Canadian mobile wireless market.”

The CRTC found that Rogers was enforcing exclusivity agreements with its roaming partners, preventing the smaller telcos from seeking better prices elsewhere. Rogers and its incumbent peers, Bell and Telus, disagreed with the assertion, saying that exclusivity agreements actually lowered prices, and that domestic roaming can’t be compared to international roaming because the former is usually unidirectional while the latter is reciprocal, benefitting both parties.

Thankfully for the new entrants, the CRTC disagreed, chastising Rogers for entering into exclusive agreements with new entrants but not with other established players, both nationally and internationally.

The decision to end exclusivity agreements is one step further towards full-on wholesale domestic roaming regulation. The CRTC has yet to decide whether it will force companies like Rogers to set a maximum rate at which to charge domestic roaming partners, but the decision today certainly gives smaller companies like Wind, Videotron, Eastlink and others the leverage they need to begin negotiating lower prices. It must also be noted that at the time new entrants like Wind and Mobilicity were negotiating roaming agreements, Rogers was the only company with a GSM network capable of supplying a seamless experience “home” and “away” service areas.

Implications for domestic roaming caps are still being determined, but regional carriers like SaskTel, MTS, Eastlink, Videotron and others worry that such limits on wholesale roaming rates would backfire, since incumbents like Rogers, Bell and Telus would legally be allowed access to areas they don’t offer service at severely discounted rates. That’s likely why, at the moment, the CRTC is only limiting exclusivity agreements.

As it stands today, “Exclusivity clauses in current wholesale roaming agreements between Canadian carriers are therefore rendered inapplicable as of the date of this decision.” The domestic roaming issue is still messy, but the CRTC, thanks to changes in the Telecommunications Act, is taking a wait-and-see approach. A public hearing “on the competitive state of the wireless market” will be held in late September.

SourceCRTC

  • 5Gs

    Oh my Oh my! Rogers are you listening? Govt. going against you. Did you know that you abused us so much to a point where you left us no choice but to bring you down to this level. You been singled out. Get ready. Things are shaking up. Rogers smart’n up already.

    • It’s Me

      Now we just have to sit and wait for the Rogers shills propagandists defenders of the faith white knights employees apologists to show up. They always get so upset when Rogers is named and shamed.

  • nayab9

    What’s the point in all this finger pointing? so CRTC can hold their jobs?

    Every few months the rates increase from Robellus all at the same time – something has to be done about the price fixing or all of this doesn’t matter.

    Fines, exclusivity agreement banning, finger pointing…. it does nothing. They own the entire country; either create some real competition or stop acting like you care.

    • It’s Me

      Fair and reasonable domestic roaming can help create real competition. It works in every other country in the world. The small carriers can piggy back on the incumbents networks, which themselves were build with the assistance of the country. It’s win-win for everyone involved. Even Rogers will see more roaming revenue flow through to them. At $1000/GB, Wind customers just refuse to roam. At more reasonable rates they might make much more in volume.

    • nayab9

      No doubt.

      Right now, it seems the small carriers are restricted to the lesser networks (2G/3G) with such harsh data caps it is completely unreasonable.

      Why are we able to dissect these issues and come up with solutions while the CRTC – who we pay with our hard earned money, manage to sit around with their thumbs up their butts for years on end?

    • It’s Me

      CRTC is definitely moving too slow…but compared to how they acted a few years ago, as a defacto extension of the carriers themselves, it is a huge improvement, in direction anayway. Just wish they’d get it in gear and realize they need to move more quickly. These slow, small steps aren’t getting us enough forward momentum. It’s time for Canada to join the rest of the world instead of staying with these dated, antiquated, carrier written policies.

    • Delphus

      I would like for you to show proof that the “country” helped build the networks… did they fund the towers, antenas, cabling, land, leases etc.

      Besides the fact that the spectrum was given out, not sure what you are talking about…

      As far as I know, all infrastructure was built and funded entirely by the companies themselves.

      To not expect a return on investment is pure socialist dribble. Granted the article proves there was abuse, but don’t delude yourself in thinking that “small carriers can piggy back on the incumbents networks” for free.

    • It’s Me

      Who said they should be able to piggyback for free? No one. Ever. That is a very weak strawman. What the regulation says is that they must allow roaming and fair and reasonable rates that are comparable to industry standards. $1000/GB is not fair, reasonable nor comparable to any roaming agreement.

      The help the country provided is similar, though not identical, to how we are trying to help the newer carriers. We aren’t giving money to the new carriers, we didn’t give money to the incumbents.

      -Bid free spectrum allocation. This means we simply picked a company and said “here. have some spectrum”. For all the whining about how expensive auctions make spectrum these days, that was a huge hand up.

      -Prohibitions on foreign ownership. This allowed them to grow, develop and become massive companies without any fear of larger, deep pocketed competitors. Note, this was only when convenient for the carriers. When Rogers needed to get started,AT&T was allowed in to invest in their wireless. Other carriers around the world would kill for that kind of protection and assistance and “flexible” regulation that served them.

      -This also meant that when we did start auction spectrum later, there was no concern of foreign money bidding up the prices.

      So just those examples, were regulation that was intended to foster the growth of our incumbents. Job done and done well. Now, people like scazza say “that was a long time ago, why punish them now”. But that’s intentionally misleading. It was a long time ago, but this has nothing to do with punishing them. The simple fact is that regulation is in place to achieve policy and goals. It helped start and grow our industry. Now it’s being used to try to improve it, at least improve competition within it. Why should we not? Is the argument really that we helped the incumbents with our regulation so now we should just allow them to run it without further regulation? They have all shown that without strong regulation, they would turn it into Lord of the Flies. $1000/GB shows what they would do if they aren’t being watched.

    • kkritsilas

      They may not have been directly been given money, but they were allowed to charge “network/system access fees”, ” network improvement fess”, etc., for years with the gov’t permitting it. Combined with the spectrum give away, the Big 3 hit the ground running with massive gov’t help in one form or another. I have zero doubt that the existing network hardware was paid for many times over by those fees. Please understand that the existing networks were many years in the making, and the Big 3 taking any possible advantage has gone on just as long.

      Kostas

  • nayab9

    What’s the point in all this finger pointing? so CRTC can hold their jobs?

    Every few months the rates increase from Robellus all at the same time – something has to be done about the price fixing or all of this doesn’t matter.

    Fines, exclusivity agreement banning, finger pointing…. it does nothing. They own the entire country; either create some real competition or stop acting like you care.

  • It’s Me

    “Rogers and its incumbent peers, Bell and Telus, disagreed with the assertion, saying that exclusivity agreements actually lowered prices”

    These guys are hilarious. Not sure how they could even make such statements with a straight face. $1000/GB? Really, that’s the result of their lower prices?

    • nayab9

      $20+ million dollar salary per year; maybe they have really good acting lessons? =P

    • It’s Me

      Maybe. Just as likely, given their long standing position of complete dominance and control of the entire industry, they didn’t keep a straight face. I could see all 3 CEOs smirking and giggling while they said it, expected the good old boys in the CRTC to laugh right along with them.

    • Balls O’Steele

      They had to come up with something no matter how lame.

    • OgtheDim

      Its Fordian logic.

      By lowered prices, they really meant more affordable everything for them because they got higher bonuses.

    • It’s Me

      Well, maybe they assumed they and the rest of their partners in RBT would punish the smaller carriers if they were allowed to have multiple roaming agreements.

      Wind CEO to Bell CEO: hey, we have a crap offer from Rogers, $1000/GB. Interested in working together?
      Bell CEO: You mean my friends at Rogers didn’t give you a fair rate? How’s $1200/GB sound?
      Wind CEO: That sounds horrible. It’s even worse. WTF?
      Rogers CEO: Hey, Bell conferenced me in. Why you try’n to do me dirty? rates just went up to $1500/GB?
      Wind: WTF?
      Bell: $2K
      Telus: I gotcha…$3K

      Yeah, I can see where non-exclusivity would cause higher rates.

    • Stephen_81

      the exclusivity agreements have nothing to do with the $1000/GB wind price, they do have everything to do with TbayTel pricing, and Sasktel and those old regional carriers who have exclusive agreements with the incumbents that they can’t give roaming to WIND. And the agreements TbayTel made with Rogers very much improved the service and quality as well as the price in the area.

      I still am a proponent for wholesale regulation, but the lowered price points to those carriers who signed the exclusivity agreements did bring lower prices for their users.

    • Trelarah

      I lived in Thunder Bay for years, you couldn’t be more wrong with “the agreements TbayTel made with Rogers very much improved the service and quality as well as the price in the area”. Prices skyrocketed mon petite Ami. TbayTel had cheaper plans before the Rogers deal, yes their coverage improved but only in Southern Ontario not the North (Thunder Bay is an 18hr drive North of Toronto). TbayTel should have partnered with MTS, considering it’s a lot closer to Manitoba border and more people travel west from Tbay

    • Stephen_81

      I’m a Lakehead boy and was just back in Thunder Bay 2 weeks ago. The Rogers Partnership increased data speeds 10fold while it did reduce my coverage on the drive to Redlake compared to the previous Bell agreements the rest of the region was vastly improved. The cost increases by TbayTel while they existed I agree, they didn’t climb any more so than those of the incumbents over that time.

      One of my best friends still lives out in the boonies of Kakabeka Falls, because of the roaming agreements now I am able to visit and stay with him and get work done where as before I would have to stay in Thunder Bay proper because service was pitiful out that way for someone roaming in with my non 807 number.

    • It’s Me

      I’ve never heard that the agreements that TBayTel, MTS or sasktel have are exclusive and forbid them from dealing with another. Where did you find that?

      Also you claim that it has nothing to do with Winds absurd agreement and everything to do with the regionals makes almost no sense, in context. The incumbents, in the article, challenge the exclusivity on the grounds of there being no reciprocity….each of the regionals you mentions have reciprocal agreements, meaning their user roam on the incumbent and the incumbents users roam on theirs.

      So the exclusivity agreements the incumbents think were being discussed were specifically those that are not reciprical, Wind and mobi. Are you saying they were confused?

    • Stephen_81

      The exclusivity agreements the CTRC are talking about are those agreements with other carriers that forebode them for making additional agreements, be they agreements with regional carriers, or agreements with eachother. That is the unfair business practice they are talking about. The preferantial agreements that have resulted in better pricing / service have been agreements with TBayTel, MTS, and Sasktel. None of whom offer any roaming agreements with eachother, nor other parties.

      TBayTel GSM in the region is Rogers only, Bell had to build out their own towers after the move from Bell CDMA due to the partnership with Rogers. In Return Rogers made every 807 user move their line from Rogers to Tbaytel or they had to become a 705 user.

      WINDs absurd agreement doesn’t relate to the discussion of lowered prices. It is absurd, that we can agree on, but its relation to the discussion of how the exclusivity has lowered prices doesn’t show. since it is clear that WIND has not signed an exclusivity deal in roaming as their coverage map does not overlay well on any singular national carrier ( Have not done overlay in over 12 mo so this could be worth re checking)

      WIND and Mobi want and end of exclusivity agreements so that they can better negotiate for roaming in additional territories such as those covered by MTS or Sasktel, and want to fight the aggressive and ridiculous pricing that is getting in the way. WIND and Mobi can’t do like TBayTel did and trade for exclusivity all WIND and Mobi can/could do is agree to not build up in specific locations to get the roaming agreements at better pricing but that would be counter to their business models.

      Exclusivity deals have worked for the players who don’t want to be national, is essentially the deal. I’m not a fan of them, but Rogers was making a statement that was related to those deals.

    • It’s Me

      Wind doesn’t have exclusive agreement?!? When testifying before the senate, Wind stated the following:

      “The agreement was exclusive, which was insisted upon. That meant we could not avail ourselves of any other possible roaming opportunities as they materialized.”

      Did they perjure themselves? They government was given access to all roaming agreements so perjury about this is unlikely.

      Because the incumbents disagree with a prohibition on exclusivity on the grounds that the domestic roaming agreements they were discussing on the grounds of there being no reciprocity, they cannot be talking about the large regionals because they all are in reciprical agreements. Therefore the incumbents cannot have been talking about these agreements.

      Only the non-reciprocal agreements make any sense as the topic. Your arguments might be valid but they don’t make sense in this case. They are simply and clearly discussing the new entrants and their roaming agreements with Rogers.

    • Stephen_81

      I will have to concede, I missed that line and am glad you pointed it out.

      So while their reciprocal agreements have lowered prices those they did with WIND made that statement completely ridiculous

    • It’s Me

      Even the CRTC decision says it’s about the new carriers agreements.

      “The Commission finds 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

  • Jean B.

    “The decision to end exclusivity agreements is one step further towards full-on wholesale domestic roaming regulation.” Bill C-31 regulated domestic roaming caps a couple months back, no?

    • Accophox

      No.

    • Jean B.

      Meaningful comment Accophox. You obviously don’t know a thing about roaming.

    • It’s Me

      Caps yes, exclusivity, no. Caps help but if you get locked into a long term contract that doesn’t allow you to negotiate with anyone else, it will stifle your ability to choose for the long term. Rogers behavior was particularly egregious in this regard because they waited until a couple weeks before Wind was to launch before finalizing any agreement to begin with. This was on top of the fact that since Bell/Telus didn’t yet have an HSPA network, forced Wind to accept their insane terms ($1000/GB, charges for incoming texts, etc) and prevented them seeking more sane and reasonable offers when Bell and telus launched their HSPA networks.

    • Jean B.

      So, yes domestic roaming is already regulated via a government bill. Thanks.

    • Disparishun

      So, domestic roaming is very minimally regulated, in one particular fashion, via a government law (it’s not a bill) that left most such regulation up to the CRTC. If you think that regulation is a binary condition — either you are regulated, or not — then you’re doing it wrong.

    • Jean B.

      There is such a thing as binary regulation, yes or no.
      Then if yes you start analysing the details of such a regulation on the actors. This was not the source of my question.
      The original sentence implied that no regulation what so ever was applied to roaming, it is as proven above not the case since C-31 does indeed implement price caps modulated/calculated by service providers.

      One could consequently consider this “full-on wholesale domestic roaming regulation”.

      In no way am I siding with Rogers on this, this is not my intention; I am simply playing devils advocate.

    • It’s Me

      But exclusivity agreements would mean that, even with caps, if an incumbent ever decided to compete and offer better roaming than the maximum allowed (which is obviously where they will all start) then Wind et al wouldn’t be allowed to even consider alternatives, if and when the become available.

      So, yes, there was some regulation, but it perhaps didn’t go far enough. IMO it did not and still doesn’t.

  • clee666

    Robbers

  • Jakob

    What I don’t understand is the statement “can’t charge more than they charge their own customers”. So, in essence, a new carrier gets to pay customer rates to use the network but the larger company pays the bill? I get not over inflating it to stump the smaller carriers, but an individual consumer rate is a little harsh.

    Whatever, not my money.

    • OgtheDim

      The “bill” was largely already paid for by government handout/grants to Bell and Cantel to create their networks.

    • RoboBonobo

      It’s fair. The new entrants would still be paying their own bills, not Rogers. It means Rogers shouldn’t charge new entrants more than Rogers charges Rogers’ own customers. In such an arrangement new entrants would be treated the same as the rest of the paying customers, because that’s what they are: paying customers. If that’s the going rate they’re charging to use a certain amount of service, there’s no justification for charging more than the going rate. The only purpose to inflate the prices for your competitors is to make them uncompetitive in the market. It’s an anti-competition practice. Good call, CRTC; it’s about time.

    • Jakob

      But that’s not necessarily true, they aren’t _regular_ paying customers. The larger carriers aren’t getting the ARPU from those that are roaming on the network like they are their own customers. In that case, I can put up one tower in my basement, and then run a national carrier by leaching off the larger companies with an established network without me footing the bill to build out and, more importantly, me not having the incentive to expand my own network.

      If customers are charged 0.25 per unit, for example, I think what the CRTC should mandate is it be no higher than something like 0.30 cents a minute. Part of being a customer for a company is their rates (which are unfortunately high for us) but a non-customer shouldn’t be paying the same price – it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

    • OgtheDim

      Given those other towers were basically handed to Cantel and Bell, ur idea that the others are leeching doesn’t hold water.

      Cantel and Rogers got their infrastructure for free.

    • RoboBonobo

      I don’t think you understand what you’re talking about.
      Rogers charges their own users $15/GB on average, so then they’ll charge WIND $15/GB too. They’ll be getting the same revenue per unit of usage of their service. The new entrants aren’t ‘leeching’ service, they’re paying to use the service just like everybody else. Rogers pays for their network by charging their customers a set price, the money they’d make from WIND would pay for them to build out the Rogers network, and Rogers would make profit off that, just like they do when they charge the rest of their customers. There is absolutely no downside to charging the new entrants the same rates they charge everybody else — absolutely none. The only reason they are charging them more is to make the new entrants offers less competitive in the marketplace. There is no justification for the price gouging. It’s 100% anti-competition.

    • Jakob

      I do understand – I just don’t agree with it. There is a difference. You’re saying that the B2C and B2B elements should be exactly the same. At the end of the day they are selling to their competitor to resell to their customers. I don’t think there should be price gouging, but if you’re buying off of your competitors to sell to customers that company is looking acquire, I think a 5% increase would be justifiable.

    • RoboBonobo

      What’s the justification for charging customers of new entrants more than they charge their own customers? Charge them more for being signed up with a competitor? That’s anti-competitive which is indefensible. The rates Rogers charges their own customers are already insanely profitable for them. The only reason to charge new entrants more than that is to hurt the new entrants’ offers in the marketplace — that’s no justification.

    • Jakob

      Of course they want to hurt the new entrants’ offer in the marketplace – they’re competing for the same customers. I may be biased as a business owner, but if my competitor wants to offer cheaper prices, use/resell my service, and potentially take a customer away from me that may take other products with me, I would charge you a premium. Again, I think the premium should be less than 5%. It’s like the premiums you pay when you use your Canadian sims in other countries – those networks charge your carrier a premium which, in turn, we get hosed on because the resell is way too high.

    • It’s Me

      The smaller carriers would be buying in bulk. Wouldn’t you expect the very most they would pay would be standard retail pricing? If what Rogers charges you at retail is very profitable for them, how could it possibly be harmful to them to get exactly the same amount from Wind customers?

      This is similar to the regulation of landline ISPs being able to resell access that resulted in the smaller providers being able to compete. Except it doesn’t go nearly as far. With ISPs, they pay a percentage of retail pricing so they can resell at a reasonable profit margin. The small carriers aren’t getting that allowance.

    • Jakob

      I didn’t realize you replied so my answer is pretty much above. In essence, why do non-customers get the same rate as actual customers? I don’t really care since it isn’t my money, but that just doesn’t seem like good business sense. If I own my own network, I will definitely charge you a premium if you want your customers to use it without me getting their full ARPU. HOW MUCH more I’m allowed to should be what the CRTC is saying.

    • It’s Me

      Retail pricing is already a premium. That’s why it’s retail pricing.

      If you run a farm and sell produce to stores and also sell it in your own store to individuals, obviously you sell to the stores ar wholesale for less that you sell it to your own individual customers at retail. That’s normal and expected.

      If you could convince the stores to buy your produce from you at the same price you sell individual items to customers you should be laughing that you were able to get away with that. That’s the worst case for the carriers here. They aren’t being forced to sell it at a loss. They are being forced to sell it at what they themselves determined to be a very profitable rate.

    • Atticus Finch

      You must work for Bellus!!

    • It’s Me

      ??

  • Jakob

    We have WAY too many bloody cell phone companies in this country…

    • Jean B.

      What is the right number of companies then?

    • Balls O’Steele

      One crown corporation that provides a nationwide LTE raw data network, with multiple private companies that buy bulk data from the crown corporation and package, market, and sell services to consumers.

      No more cell tower duplication. Excellent data access for all Canadians.

    • The Invisible Hand

      Now that is a terrible, terrible idea. Yes, let’s have our cell phone network run by the same bureaucrats and politicians who so successfully managed our gun registry, fighter jet purchases, and Quebec loyalty-buying program. A recipe for success, I’m sure…

    • Laer

      One government run company with clearly defined goals to provide wholesale access to virtual operators at operating cost and to ensure reasonable access across the country to rural and urban areas.

    • Jakob

      Exactly.

    • ToniCipriani

      You mean like how they do it in China, where all the carriers are state-owned?

    • Jakob

      One. Maximum two. You don’t see such a massive amount of carriers, sub-carriers, and sub-brands anywhere. If we had two carriers, let’s say, one crown-owned network with no competing towers, and each had 15 million customers out of the 30+ million in Canada, the ARPU generated would result in a lower rate for Canadians. For these companies to operate they need a certain amount of money left in the bank at the end of the year, the fewer the customers, the more you pay for services everywhere else. You pay money to a company that puts up a tower a mile down the road from the competitor. That does not make any sense, customers of different companies should be using the 1 tower that is upgraded to the latest technology available.

    • Jean B.

      Well if we were to convert the current system (privatized) to the one you propose (public good), the government would need to buy at least two of the big three wireless service providers. The current market cap of BCE is 38$B, RCi 21$B and TELUS 23$B. I wonder where the government would take that money from…

    • Jakob

      They wouldn’t need to buy the companies, they would purchase back the infrastructure.

    • Jean B.

      And infrastructure is the good that has most value in a wireless service provider.
      This consequently means that the government would need to purchase the whole company.

    • Jakob

      That is an assumption and is not accurate without any data. Both Bell and Rogers are media companies before they are telecoms. I think you are underestimating all that makes those companies worth all of those billions of dollars.

    • Laer

      The beauty of government, you just nationalize it. Don’t like the 2nd world vibe? Just legislate it to the point you’ve created something similar.

    • It’s Me

      That’s the value of the entirety of those corporations. That includes their wireless arms but also their TV delivery services and infrastructure, ISP services and infra, magazine business lines, TV networks and channels, TV and movie content studios, sports teams, massive real estate holdings, security systems, landline phone business, radio station holdings, news assets and retail businesses.

      I’m no advocate for nationalization of a wireless carrier but it’s not like it would mean buying the entire parent company(s).

    • The Invisible Hand

      You know what else is wasteful? All those restaurants scattered around our cities, sometimes right next to each other! Most of them are half-empty, most of the time. The government should nationalize them all and combine them to form a handful of mega-restaurants. So much more efficient!

  • Croc Ography

    This decision in over 5 years too late… when do the ordinary citizens get their full refunds?

    Tired of the CRTC being at least 5 years behind the times. They are what we call “enablers”.

  • Lion5

    Cue the bums on here who complain about pricing all the time. Seems like some expect everything to be free. The communist CRTC who ensures Canadians are always last to get new services is forcing companies to let new foreign owned companies leech off other companies infrastructure. Pathetic. Just like the whiny basement dwellers who cry on this forum. While we are at it, maybe we should force stores to share space in their own buildings with new entrants.

    • It’s Me

      Not really sure what the word communist means, are you?

      The carriers leased their spectrum with conditions attached, like mandatory roaming regulation. That’s part of the price. Why should they get a free ride now? What are you, a communist? This type of regulation of domestic roaming is common around the world, even in the US. You know, that hotbed of communism.

    • Scazza

      There is a MASSIVE difference between domestic roaming in places like the US and EU compared to here. In those markets, there is a much more mutual sharing agreement in place. Example, in the UK you have a bunch of regional carriers who all developed their own area and then entered into the national roaming agreement. Their cellular reception is beneficial to the other carriers who have no towers in the area, and vice versa.
      In Canada, the new entrants literally bring ZERO benefits to the incumbents. There is not a single area where Rogers customers can use WIND towers to roam, so the entire network burden is completely on Rogers. By making the roaming so high it actually forces WIND to expand their own network, as doing so lessens the burden on their customers roaming on Rogers.
      Even in the US, of the few sharing agreements between ATT etc, they all have their own strong areas throughout the country (ATT in the North East, Verizon in the south, etc) and any regions with sharing agreements benefit both carriers. Again COMPLETELY different from Canada.
      There is a reason Telus/Bell/MTS/Aliant sharing agreements are done at almost no cost, because each carrier gets a benefit in an area they do not/can not service.

      Also we still going on about the government giving Rogers/Bell spectrum 30 years ago? In your mind they will never pay off that debt, when in fact they have given back 10 fold, and kept Canada technologically in the game too.

    • It’s Me

      Hey, we’re different, duh. But, of course, your arguments are used by incumbents all over the world. AT&T and Verizon are using exactly your arguments right now against expanded regulation of domestic roaming.

      They have conditions on their licenses that mandate they have domestic agreements at fair and reasonable rates that are comparable to industry standards. They signed on the dotted line and agreed to those conditions. They went into business knowing (and benefitting) from it being a regulated industry.You can whine all you like about all you like after the fact. Time for them to respect their agreements. You might be ok with them receiving even more special treatment and being specially excempt from honouring their agreements and obligations because they are special. I prefer to stop treating them like special needs. After 30 years they should understand they are a regulated industry even if their “fans” haven’t grasped that basic concept yet.

      It’s a regulated industry. Always has been. It was regulated 30 years ago. 20 years ago. 5 years ago. Likely 30 years from now. Get used to it.

    • Andrew_notPorC

      No benefits? What about all the money they pay for roaming? Seems like a benefit to me.

    • It’s Me

      They’d rather charge $1000/GB and therefore receive almost no roaming revenue (who is going to use it at that rate?) just in order to make life hard for Wind. So, they aren’t using their roaming agreements as revenue generators but as a weapon. If they charged sane rates, then they would see lots of roaming revenue and not have to lift a finger to generate that revenue. Free money. They are turning away free money because they’d prefer to hurt Wind. Cutting off their nose in order to spite their face.

      It’s a similar situation with MVNOs. In the US, the big carriers have embraced MVNOs allowing them to offer far better rates than they do themselves. Why? Because they realize the MVNO are selling their services for them for free. It’s a free and motivated sales force, which means free money. But in Canada, they hate MVNOs. They all take the same tact with MVNOs and charge them so much that they all end up charging basically the same as the big carriers themselves.

      Out carriers live on fear and will turn away free money in order to kill off anything they think will hurt them in the short term. No long term vision.

    • Andrew_notPorC

      I understand. I was disagreeing with the idea that Wind paying a fair rate for roaming would constitute them taking advantage of Rogers’ infrastructure.

    • It’s Me

      Understood. I was just exploring the idea a little further.

    • ABCONMan

      Agree. The incumbents take all the risk by building, upgrading, and maintaining. It’s only the whiners who want $25 everything unlimited.

    • It’s Me

      …And they are being forced to resell at the same extremely profitable rates they charge at retail? You mean they are being forced to take on a massively profitable new revenue stream? The government is forcing them to accept even more profits?

      The horror. That’s just straight up communism.

  • kirilmatt

    Here’s what will now happen: Rogers and others will stop offering roaming to startups. The CRTC tries so hard to help consumers but it never works. Just like 2 year contracts. A plan with 500mb of data used to cost under $60 and now it costs $80. Its absurd. They need to stop interfering because it has only made things worse for customers. Even with the CRTC doing everything to encourage the new entrants, they are still floundering. Not to mention the cost that the CRTC’s actions have on people not living in main centers in central or western Canada. Even if a fourth player emerges, they will probably just hop on the rip-off train with the Big 3. There is very little good that can/has come from the CRTC’s meddling.

    • It’s Me

      Your very first premise, that they’ll stop offering roaming to startup is fatally flawed. The spectrum licenses the incumbents hold obligate them to provide roaming under fair and reasonable terms. This isn’t new, it’s been a condition for years. This isn’t unique, it’s a common condition for spectrum all around the world.

      With your very first premise being completely wrong, the rest of your argument that is premised on that, sort of falls completely apart.

      Similarly, the price hikes we saw were almost completely unrelated to any regulation. The shorter terms should have caused maybe $5-$7 increases. $20-$40 increases were just cash grabs. Don’t blame anyone but the pick pocket for picking your pocket.

    • kirilmatt

      The rest of my post has to do with CRTC meddling, which has been nothing but harmful. You are probably right, and I wasn’t aware of that condition. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean better prices. Exclusivity may actually make roaming contracts cheaper. If all carriers were forced to charge startups the same as normal customers they lose their network advantage and the billions they invested in their networks suddenly means a lot less. In essence, to a certain extent the startups can simply not expand their networks out of major urban areas because it is not feasible as roaming rates are good enough for them. It may discourage a new national carrier.

    • It’s Me

      In all the countries where mandatory roaming agreements exist (pretty much all) this hasn’t happened. The large carriers still invest, the small carrier keep them honest with competition. The sky doesn’t fall.

    • kirilmatt

      Because of the sheer size of Canada, one cannot translate. In addition to that, the cheap wireless service and large number of competitors make roaming a competitive and lucrative business. The sheer size means that the incumbents have invested so much money in their networks that the startups are unable to come up with. It would be almost impossible for them to become a national carrier without significant capital. This means startups cannot easily enter the market at a national scale and compete with incumbents.

    • It’s Me

      If our total landmass, only very small pockets along a very narrow strip have any real coverage.

      The size of Canada’s landmass as an excuse is a worn out chestnut.

    • ABCONMan

      So why don’t the new entrants build their own if it’s so cheap and easy?

      Because it’s not.

    • It’s Me

      Nice strawman.

      Worthless.

    • It’s Me

      But you’re right, it’s not cheap and it’s not easy. Which is why, when we wanted to kick start the industry we helped the incumbents. And it’s why, when we want to improve competition in the industry, we help the newbs.

    • Stephen_81

      you can’t argue size of Canada, far to many citidiots on the boards will argue it makes no difference.

      the fact that countries we compare to have population densities double or more than the vast majority of our country makes little difference in their minds.

      Though I do believe Mandatory roaming agreements are needed. More regional players can pop up to serve their local areas better. whilst piggy backing on the backs of the infrastructure that exists. I’d pay more for better customer service for sure.

    • Laer

      Without further adoo: Alice wants her hat back.

      You are living in a Pipedream if you think the CRTC is making things worse and I don’t even believe they should exist.

    • kirilmatt

      So two year contracts benefited Canadians? What world do you live in? Now, what cost $50-$60 before the change costs $80 a month. Its a joke for those of us that go no-contract, and even those that have contracts.

    • It’s Me

      What cost $50 before the change should have cost $55 after the change. They rest was just them picking your pocket.

      It’s just silly to blame the rules for the other $25.

    • kirilmatt

      That’s like blaming people for tax evasion when government raises taxes, or contraband cigarettes when you raise cigarette taxes: People take advantage of rules to make more money. If the rules hadn’t been implemented this wouldn’t have happened.

    • It’s Me

      What?!? I can as easily say that if the rules had not been implemented that it still would have happened. As wind and mobi and public started to falter, prices started going up. A lack of competition does that.

      All the rules did was give then an excuse. Seems like some people actually swallowed their lines. Unbelievable.

      And yeah, if the gov raised cigarette taxes by $0.5/pack and the retailers then raised packs by $10, no reasonable person would believe the store owner that tried to blame the taxes for the hike. Why are the carrier so successful with exactly the same misdirection?

    • kirilmatt

      I dont believe what the Big 3 did was right. Absolutely not, just as I dont believe contraband cigarettes or tax evasion is right. However it gave them an excuse. One unintended consequence the CRTC caused was this ability of the Big 3 to blame them and raise prices. Obviously the Big 3 are wrong to do this, but in a way the CRTC facilitated it.

    • It’s Me

      I can agree that far. But they facilitated it only by not going further with their regulations to prevent the cash grab. But that would have been a very difficult regulation to impose.

      Aside from setting actual rates, I’m not sure what else they could have done to prevent the carriers from hiking rates way, way beyond reason.

      A possible side effect of the carriers going wild with the price increases (as sort of a middle finger to Canadians and the CRTC) is that it seems like the regulator and goverment are no longer incline to play as nicely with them. Their tantrum might come back to bite them.

    • kirilmatt

      I agree with the last statement, however the CRTC’s efforts have been fruitless so far, the only thing they have done is: Increase the costs for consumers, not stopped the failures of startups and reduced profits for the Big 3. These are three major negatives. You cannot force startups to grow simply by harming the Big 3. This roaming agreement will not do much to help their case.

    • It’s Me

      But the rules didn’t increase costs for the consumers, not much anyway. The increases were the carriers decisions, period.

      And in fact, when the new carriers came in, prices fell for a while.

    • kirilmatt

      Carriers needed to recoup an extra money for phone subsidies, amounting about $6 a month. They also used it to rip off Canadians. The CRTC should have foreseen that there regulations actually allowed an excuse for the Big three to rob their customers. For example I currently have a retentions plan with Rogers that comes in the $57 with 6GB of data. The cheapest 6GB plan is not around $100 or more, not sure. I used to get 500MB for $53 a month. Now 500MB costs at least $80. I dont have access to any small carriers and probably never will. Even if the small carriers stay afloat not everyone will benefit. I think we need them though, but government should not be interfering. Why don’t we relax foreign ownership first so that anyone can enter the market? That would do a lot more good than anything the CRTC has done so far. Deregulation will do more good for the market than the CRTC ever will if we can attract a foreign investor in telecommunications. Wind was almost blocked because of those rules and I’m sure more investors would be interested if they were allowed to be.

    • It’s Me

      “Carriers needed to recoup an extra money for phone subsidies, amounting about $6 a month. They also used it to rip off Canadians. The CRTC should have foreseen that there regulations actually allowed an excuse for the Big three to rob their customers. For example I currently have a retentions plan with Rogers that comes in the $57 with 6GB of data. The cheapest 6GB plan is not around $100 or more, not sure. I used to get 500MB for $53 a month. Now 500MB costs at least $80.”

      So, then, you are saying the rules do not cause the much higher prices, but did allow them and provided an excuse. Well, the old rules also allowed it. There was nothing stopping it before and nothing stopping it after. They were already starting to raise rates before the new rules and have continued to do so since the new rules.

      The only difference the rules made is that it did give them an excuse. It’s our own fault if we fall for the excuses, but that doesn’t make it the fault of the new rules.

      Even if the small carriers stay afloat not everyone will benefit. I think we need them though, but government should not be interfering. Why don’t we relax foreign ownership first so that anyone can enter the market? That would do a lot more good than anything the CRTC has done so far. Deregulation will do more good for the market than the CRTC ever will if we can attract a foreign investor in telecommunications. Wind was almost blocked because of those rules and I’m sure more investors would be interested if they were allowed to be.

      I agree, they should have taken more steps, including relaxing of foreign ownership rules. They have been taking small steps for that, but they have faced stiff challenges from the incumbents over it too.

      Look what happened when Verizon was looking to come in. The carriers spend millions of the FUD propaganda campaign to make it sound like they were the boogeyman that was going to cost every Canadian their jobs.

      Deregulation will never happen. Airwaves without regulation become a pirates paradise. Without regulation, anyone and everyone could use whatever frequencies the want meaning no reliable service for anyway. Without regulation, we wouldn’t have the strong incumbents we have today. No, regulation serves important roles and is necessary. It’s the proper application of regulation that is in question, really.

    • Laer

      I honestly believe two year contracts, despite price increases and in many ways because of those increases is actually a big win for consumer power.

      People are now much more likely to lean towards, or at a minimum consider unlocked off contract phones.

      The more fluid we can make consumers, the better! Already in the last year or so we’ve started seeing BYOD discounts. That’s not happening out of charity.

    • kirilmatt

      The Big 3 just raised prices for BYOD. There is a bigger discount then there was before, but prices are overall still higher. 500mb of data was around $50-60 a month. Now it is around $60-80.

  • Stevert

    Cancel the new auction and just give out the spectrum to new entrants.

    • Anthony Parker

      No offense. This comment is crazy. What do you think our governments live off with beside our tax money? Why don’t we just offer free spectrum to new entrants? From what you said, it is basically what it is.

      The reason why they have spectrum auction is to raise money and the government had gained close to $10 billions from the last two auctions. Let Wind and Videotron won the bid with a few coins and changes. Then let the tax payers pay the rest to feed the government and our country. Now your $60 cellphone bill doesn’t sound a lot now does it?

    • Laer

      They aren’t making bank on this one, probably the admin costs are higher then the whole process of repurposing this spectrum, auctioning it and then handing it out…

    • Stevert

      I talked to James Moore right after the last auction. They made way more than they thought they would off the last auction. There was so much money dumped in that competition was crushed.

    • Anthony Parker

      You are conflicting yourself from saying less competitions on new spectrum is good.

    • Stevert

      My bill is 180 a month.. I make more money than you and pay higher taxes. I say give them the spectrum.

    • Anthony Parker

      Sure. Right. :)

  • Balls O’Steele

    Ok I’m ready to switch to wind if data roaming is cut to 5gb for $35, which is what Fido (rogers) charges its retail customers on its tablet plan.

    • Anthony Parker

      LTE vs 3G. Sorry. Not even 3G in most areas by Wind. I would only use Wind again if they charge $5 for 10GB with their slow data speed. I am good with my $30 6GB plan from Fido. Heck. I will pay $40 for 5GB as long as it is LTE and good coverage.

  • mahoganyheart

    So this must be one of the reason why after so long Wind Mobile still is a so so wireless provider when it comes to leaving the core of Down Town Ottawa: $1000/GB. This is just painful to read! This is more than just injustice and abuse, this is robbery. To add insult to injury; I left Wind after about two years of being with them because the service sucks and didn’t ameliorate over time, went back to Rogers. The last auction offered a glimpse of hope, but then they drop out at the last minute, which was very disappointing. We deserve better than that, hopefully CRTC can keep pushing thing on the right direction.

  • Ontari_do_not

    Get your pocket book Rogers, the government needs a raise.

  • kroms

    No Way ! this must be a MISTAKE ? Rogers doing something like that ? No way.

  • kroms

    LMAO , BAN the F@#krs back to the STONE Age, Greedy , Viral, Deceitful , dishonest, …………… you could go on for EVER.

    Hate this Company. Haven’t done business with them in over 15 yrs and never will .

  • ABCONMan

    Well, if Wind et al can roam on the incumbents at their cost, perhaps the incumbents and their 25M subs can roam on Wind’s network at their cheapskate rates and drag down their speed.

    While I don’t agree on exclusivity, I don’t agree on cost. That network costs money to continuously build, upgrade, and maintain.

    If Wind et al doesn’t have to build it’s own, it should share in the cost.

    Fair is far.

    • Will Morris

      Wind would be ecstatic at the increased revenue, and would be able to reinvest in expanding their network to accommodate the increased traffic.

      Didn’t think that through, did you?

      Also the incumbents had massive assistance from the Canadian government in setting up the infrastructure, the point is moot.

    • It’s Me

      Umm…if the rates you pay to the incumbents are very profitable for them (they are) then why would Wind paying them the same not be fair? The specified rate is already profitable from individual consumers, then it is even more so (way more so) when paid in bulk.

      Imagine any product or service you buy individually. Cars, phones, gas, cable TV. If the wholesalers of those products and services could sell to their bulk customers at full retail rates, they would be jumping for joy. Because it’s almost unheard of to be able to sell wholesale at retail prices. No one is that lucky.

      That’s the “harsh deal” being imposed on them as far as price goes (so far). If they can’t make money on that deal, they need to all be fired.

      $1000/GB has nothing to do with covering costs.

  • 5Gs

    This is some how good news though. Meaning it is hinting towards that new unlimited Wind roaming plans rumored.

  • fruvous

    “Rogers was the only company with a GSM network capable of supplying a seamless experience “home” and “away” service areas.”

    If it was truly seamless, then calls wouldn’t drop when transitioning from one network to the other. Doesn’t Rogers even know how they have this set up?