CRTC passes judgement against Vidéotron Unlimited Music, publishes differential pricing guidelines

Music Streaming apps

Comments

  • Captain Henry Morgan

    This is exactly why it is so difficult to compete in Canada cause the big three will make sure you can’t compete and kill you before you get ahead.

    • pvanb

      And if it was Rogers attempting to do this instead of Vidéotron would they be “competing” too?

    • silver_arrow

      Bell already tried this with their Bell Mobile TV app.

    • Ipse

      Keyword here “THEIR” app. And “THEIR” service.

    • Captain Henry Morgan

      Exactly!!!! but you forgot to something..
      It should be “Their sh1tty app” and “their sh1tty service”.

    • Captain Henry Morgan

      I don’t think videotron is trying to use their own app. Rogers will compete using their crappy app. I remember when they introduced the Roger One Number, it completely messed up my voice mail because of their crappy app. Videotron just doesn’t take data bandwidth when you listen to Spotify or other music app.

    • fred

      on the contrary, this will improve competition in Canada in the long run
      competition is about letting the user choose the content, not the carrier

  • Bryan Hamon

    Question is are current unlimited music plans grandfathered? If I subscribed to a plan because of this feature doesn’t that mean I should be compensated?

    This would not matter if we had unlimited data or much higher data plans. I have unlimited music with Videotron and make great use of it. I understand that zero-rating your own services would give you a competitive edge but what if Videotron were to include ALL music streaming services? Would that still make an unfair playing field?

    • Aaron Hoyland

      Depends on your definition of “unfair”. I’d argue that it’s unfair to an upstart video streaming service, for example. Even if it’s applied across the board to all music streaming services, it’s still not a level playing field for any app or service that relies on streaming data that isn’t music.

    • Bryan Hamon

      But we can’t treat video and audio the same. I don’t think that to offer unlimited music streaming that Netflix could say it’s unfair because video isn’t zero-rated.

    • Aaron Hoyland

      Why not? Isn’t that the whole idea behind net neutrality? A megabyte is a megabyte, and carrier’s networks don’t discriminate based on the type of data. I’m charged based on the amount of data I use, so if a carrier is going to claim that data pricing is meant to curb network congestion, they can’t very well go and zero-rate a bunch of data, regardless of the source.

    • Bryan Hamon

      Well I am all for net neutrality and I don’t think that giving priority to your own services to keep out competitors is right but offering to zero rate data for other services is a bit of a grey area. Not being compensated for it and offering it as a feature of your network over your competitors is trying to differentiate, being paid to over zero rating by Spotify or Apple would be favouring certain services. The argument is that it keeps upstart companies from competing and giving an unfair advantage to the incumbents but at this point what scruffy upstart can compete with Google, Apple and Spotify anyway?

    • EcE

      “at this point what scruffy upstart can compete with Google, Apple and Spotify anyway?”

      Exactly, even established ones are struggling to keep up.

    • Stephen_81

      You can’t say you are all for Net neutrality and then say you think that some types of data should be able to be zero rated.
      I do not want the doors to be open for distribution (carriers) to dictate how they define the content I use, it would allow for corporate negotiations and payments to have certain kinds of content listed differently than others, maybe Facebook wants to be defined not as a social media platform but something else which they pay to get Zero rated but you pay data rates to use Snapchat/LinkedIN/Twitter because they still define as social media.

      I know if I was an executive at the Carriers I’d be finding ways to extort money from service providers to give them preferential treatment to my fickle subscribers. way better to get yearly B2B revenue than fight for the B2C revenue and collections.

    • Jean-Philippe Baril

      Who can compete with Yahoo, Geocities, Altavista, MySpace?

    • Jeff Thibert

      Spotify was a scruffy startup not that long ago.

    • fred

      You don’t understand net neutrality.
      You are against net neutrality if you support zero-rated content. It doesn’t matter if they zero rate one or all music services. It violates net neutrality in all cases.

    • Bryan Hamon

      I probably understand net neutrality better than most people. I simply stated that it is a grey area. From a top level net neutrality means that all bits are treated equal. Even with what Bell and Videotron did earlier with zero-rating their own services did not necessarily treat those bits different that other bits on the network but treated them differently in the billing department. Doing that could be considered anti-competitive. Now currently if Videotron was giving priority to these music services that are zero rated and throttled the services that they did not support that is clearly violating net neutrality.

      The differences are if the information flowing over the pipes are treated differently or is it a billing matter. Some people feel that any traffic shaping is violating net neutrality but what if ALL video content was giving priority over email or FTP, is that good or bad?

      Some issues clearly violate the idea of net neutrality and others are not so defined.

    • fred

      it’s not a grey area, it’s 100% black. You give unlimited data only for music. Clear violation of net neutrality I don’t get how you can say it is grey.

    • Bryan Hamon

      Because I realize that not everything is always black and white. Yes in a true sense it violates the principals of net neutrality, but what harm is being caused? What are the true repercussions of zero-rating a certain service or services.

      To show a ridiculous example, having data caps is violating net neutrality since it favours one user over another based on the amount of money that user pays to the service provider. We need to look at more than a definition and see the impact instead.

    • fred

      Again, you don’t understand what net neutrality is.

      Data cap doesn’t violate net neutrality. Net neutrality means all bytes are treated the same. If they all count towards the data cap, it’s neutral.

      Neutral doesn’t mean good. It seems you just don’t support the net neutrality principle. Not everyone has to support it.

      I would argue there is harm being caused. You think music is free but it isn’t. It has a cost for the carrier and because of that your monthly cap is smaller. You get less choice in the end.

      Just look at it this way, if I wanted to use a VPN (for anonimity or whatever) to stream music, it would count towards my monthly cap. I get that there are some grey areas but this isn’t.

    • Bryan Hamon

      Another ridiculous example, yes I admit it’s ridiculous but I am trying to prove a point between the idea and the application.

      Take this statement, “Killing is wrong.” I’m sure at face value we can all agree on it. Now what about killing animals for food, still a majority of people can agree is acceptable. Killing another if they are a threat and no other options, again most would agree that it is acceptable. Killing another because they wouldn’t move their car that was blocking mine, this one I would say that most people would disagree.

      Now I am not equating net neutrality to murder so please no trolling. I am giving the example on how we can agree that an good idea is clear but that the application of it is not always. I’m not saying that zero-rating is always okay and not harmful all I am saying is that we need to take into account the negative outcome and see if it outweighs the positive.

    • fred

      Maybe violating net neutrality would be a good idea in some corner cases.

      This one (unlimited music) isn’t. It’s a text book example of why we stand for net neutrality.

    • Bryan Hamon

      My question is WHY is it not okay? What is the negative impact? I think that various parties went after Videotron for different reasons. Their competitors went after them because they weren’t willing to offer the same service. Other groups went after them on ideological grounds but I don’t think that the the actual impact was studied. I’m not saying the the CRTC in it’s capacity and resources did a bad job in it’s ruling. We just need to really think about these issues over the long term.

    • fred

      For the same reason that we need net neutrality in the first place. Again, this is a typical case.

      No net neutrality allows the carrier to decide what content you are allowed to download. I think the user is in a better position to make that decision.
      If we allow that, get ready to have plans with 10 MB / months, but loads of service whitelisted. At this point it won’t be called the Internet anymore since you will only be able to visit a dozen web sites.
      Videotron’s towers don’t get more capacity to offer this unlimited music thing. They have to offer lower caps to compensate.

      I made that reflection. I concluded that in the long run we are better off with net neutrality. You don’t have to agree. But don’t say you support net neutrality if you support Videotron in this case.

    • Bryan Hamon

      I support the ideology, it’s the application of that ideology that I am saying we need to have those discussions and see how it can best be applied.

    • fred

      You think you support the ideology. What you say in this thread proves otherwise.
      I don’t get why you are so ashamed of saying you do not support net neutrality.

    • Distract2

      nope, net neutrality in this case would be Vidéotron offering the unlimited streaming to only 1 or 2 audio streaming apps. Wake up.

    • fred

      You are wrong, read the definition on wikipedia. Billing for some packets but not others is a clear violation of the net neutrality principle.

    • fred

      Yes it is unfair to Netflix.
      Why can’t I use 10 GB of netflix while you can use 10 GB of spotify?

    • Distract2

      if you cant understand why then you should stop comment on this subject.

    • fred

      I agree, that’s why I should continue and you should stop commenting the subject. You have proven you don’t even get what net neutrality is.

    • Distract2

      what a silly argument. Audio and video streamings have nothing in common.

    • EcE

      “Videotron assures customers who currently use the Unlimited Music service that it will be maintained until further notice.”

      Who knows

    • fred

      they have 90 days to comply

    • Stephen_81

      Nope, Grandfathering can’t trump legal rules. That would be like arguing I hired employee at $11.40/h just because the government raised minimum wage I shouldn’t have to increase their wage unless the government compensated me.

      As it is Grandfathering is something businesses need to do away with, it puts greater burden and cost on new users and stifles innovation, transitional plans need to be in place. I don’t just mean for the wireless industry but industries across the board. I’ve had to manage grandfathered services that actually ran at a loss because of the guise of customer service.

    • Raion

      Wouldn’t customers be given the option to cancel their contract if they aren’t satisfied with the changes the company proposes to make to their plan? I’d at least expect that much if I had signed up for years simply because of Unlimited Music.

    • Bryan Hamon

      I would think that customers would be compensated some how but my feeling right now is that Videotron will bring it to the courts and ask for an extension to the time to be compliant and tie it up legally for a while

    • Raion

      I haven’t looked in detail at plans recently, but if they just remove the program without reducing my bill, I’ll surely shop around. I sacrificed coverage for Unlimited Music.

    • Wilbour

      I think you would be hard pressed to get a 6gig plan with phone for $66. Even cheaper if you BYOP

    • Raion

      Actually, I’m on a BYOP plan that has 2Gb and Unlimited Music for $57, which isn’t that cheap already, but was the best deal for me when I switched. I’m not going to stream if it’s not unlimited, so I probably wouldn’t be looking for much more data from another provider.

  • Aaron Hoyland

    Great write-up. Provides far more background detail than any other summary I’ve read so far. It’s also the only article I’ve found that lays out situations where differential pricing may be allowable.

    • Bryan Hamon

      I’m not sure that stating that “time of day” differential pricing is a good thing. That just means that it opens the door to charge more during the daytime than at night. Used to be this way in dial-up ISP days and it was not a great thing as a user having to stay up late to download because it was cheaper.

    • EcE

      Same thing when data was not a thing and your mobile minutes counted against you when you actually needed them.

    • Stephen_81

      The model of time of day differential pricing is already in the home internet marketplace, TekSavvy uses it giving unlimited data late at night that doesn’t count against your monthly pool.

      I chose to go with Rogers and an Unlimited plan to not have that restriction among other things but I’ve put a few people into the TekSavvy plans and set up their downloading to get them content over night for consumption the next day. PlayON & Netflix are great for this.

      Not that I want a time of day plan to be introduced, but fortunately there is still enough semi competitiveness that it would have to be used to discount times of day vs trying to increase times of day pricing.

  • Ipse

    I know the ones NOT enjoying this feature will hunt me…but good job Robbers for PRETENDING you are defending net neutrality (ridiculous…) and killing your Quebec competition.
    Just to see where this is coming from (and before lecturing…) look at the price war in Quebec.

    F U Robbellus.

    • Bryan Hamon

      Videotron still beats then in price. I don’t think anyone signed up for videotron because of the Unlimited music, but it was a perk of some of the plans

    • Raion

      I did. Unlimited music for me basically equates unlimited data. Who uses up gigabytes of data without downloading big files or streaming content?

    • Stephen_81

      I’m a person who has been waiting for this to happen ever since they started the service! I had a Bell Phone exclusively for Zero rating of TV content, and I pay for Rogers Service now that I’d love to have Zero rated TV content, but Canadian net neutrality rules make it fair so that other players can actually compete in the content delivery space. I guarantee you Shomi would have taken off for Rogers if they could have zero rated it against Netflix which would use data on mobile.

      I want larger data blocks at lower prices. Not customized Zero rating plans.
      rulings like this will force carriers to offer bigger datapools

    • Jon Duke

      Those are 2 completely different things my friend. Bell was zero rating THEIR own tv service. That’s unfair. Videotron is zero rating OTHER services they DON’T own.

      The only real issue with Videotron was that they didn’t add serviced quick enough.

    • Stephen_81

      They are not Completely different, they both involve Zero rating a service which means preferential treatment of a specific product or category. Yes Bell was worse because they owned the content, but Videotron had the power to dictate what was streaming music services, as you said, they had to add the service, so they had to acknowledge it’s existence.
      every MB should have the same value to a plan, there should/could be options to pay premiums for faster consumption of an MB, but those should be in the power of the consumer, not dictated by the carrier.

    • Jon Duke

      I agree. Which is why I think Videotron’s only error was to not allow any music service. I don’t know how they can do it but if they zero rated everything, people can’t complain.

      In the end, no carrier will ever give unlimited data so as much as I agree with net neutrality, something has to give. If thr CRTC really wanted the consumers to win, they’d force unlimited data plans and limit the amount carriers can charge. Point blank.

    • Stephen_81

      I think we will see a time in the not to distant future that carriers WILL offer unlimited plans, but those plans will be throttled, Carriers had all kinds of control with the early BlackBerry devices and BIS, as they develop that broad range control with all devices we will see more options in terms of speed and time throttling. for 90% of my usage I could go back to HSPA, not even HSPA+, I only need probably 2GB of LTE data in a month, and would love a plan that has me pay a premium for the LTE, but not have to worry about my HSPA data usage.

    • Ipse

      Strange way to support Net neutrality, but coming from a Robbers customer who enjoys directed benefits (mentioned in posts above) it sounds hypocritical. I’m sure if Robbers would have offered a similar feature with their free Spotify subscription (2 years at some point) you would have immediately cancel your line and move to Bhell.

      T-mobile starting to offer unlimited video and music has paved the way to the unlimited plans that our friends down south enjoy now for pretty low prices.

      You can’t see how this is turning the way the 3 year contracts did…mo’ money, less service – not the other way.

    • Stephen_81

      T-Mobile doesn’t have the same net neutrality rules in the US as we have here. and you can actually read in the US how big players who used to be FOR net neutrality are now going against it because it is better for business.

      Anything Music related wouldn’t have made me switch to anything, but TV streaming content, especially sports would have made me jump. though I very much like that Canada’s government ISN’T completely in the pockets of big business, unlike our friends to the south, yes it costs us more money, but I’m willing to pay more to not have everything sold about me. and my content controlled by the interests of people trying to get me to watch it.

  • Brad Fortin

    “For us, Unlimited Music was a perfect example of innovation and diversification, put forward by a new entrant who sought to stand out from the dominant wireless service providers for the benefit of Canadian consumers,”

    You could do that by offering Unlimited Data instead of Unlimited Music. It’s the same idea, just applied uniformly to all data rather than discriminating based on data type.

    It’s an especially strange defense, too, since streaming music uses up far more data than, say, checking emails or Facebook.

    • Stephen_81

      Agreed! if Videotron really wanted to shake things up they’d introduce an unlimited dataplan at 256Kbps after you exceed your monthly datacap, this would allow for streaming of music and text services but would not bog down via downloading and video services. would manage network traffic fairly. AND would set an industry precedent for other carriers to compete with.

    • James S

      The problem here is that it would force me to use my high-speed data allotment for the low-speed streaming first, and then after my high-speed allotment is used up, everything is forced to low speed.

      While I can see the potential issues with the system as implemented by Videotron, perhaps a better solution would be: steams / transfers of <128 Kbps – unlimited. Anything higher rate – limited per your data plan.

    • Raion

      I’m wondering if it’d even be possible technically to segregate usage that way, but I’m not qualified to judge these things.
      I’m anxious to see what Vidéotron will come up with for subscribers to a plan with Unlimited Music. I switched to them exclusively for this reason even though I was pretty sure the CRTC wouldn’t allow the program to stay as is.

    • Stephen_81

      It is possible to technically segregate usage, but forcing it is against net neutrality.

    • Stephen_81

      Ideally one could change their radio from LTE to 3G to not use their LTE bandwidth. I used to do that on Bell dropping out of 3G to eVDO to keep my data under control back in the days of $1/MB of data

    • K_p0w3r

      Why not let the customer decide what they want set to unlimited via an app or something. If the customer has choice over what traffic is unlimited, is that still a violation of net neutrality?

    • Dirty_Harry2

      …and Rogers could have competed by offering a fully unlimited plan instead of snitching to the CRTC.

    • Raion

      I don’t think emails or Facebook are the problem. More HD video streaming and downloads. Perhaps they could offer speed tiers instead of data tiers. I.e. Pay this much for this much speed. At the moment, I don’t care about streaming video and downloads while not on Wi-Fi.

    • Brad Fortin

      Maybe a bit of all three? Unlimited data, but with tiered caps and tiered speeds (both capped and uncapped speed tiers)?

    • m-p{3}

      What could really change the game would be “soft limits*, where you pay for xx amount of data at full speed, then keep downloading at reduced speed if you go over until the monthly quota is reset.

      If data congestion is their main concerns, that system should handle it.

    • Brad Fortin

      Exactly. They could even make it a daily quota instead of a monthly one, or only throttle users for a set period of time (24 hours? 12? 6?) after passing their quota.

  • Jon Duke

    “Now that Unlimited Music, as Canadians know it, is off the table, Lawford thinks there’s a higher chance that Videotron will consider offering more inexpensive data options in the future.”

    I too, still believe in santa Claus.

    On another note, rogers are hypocrites. They are happy Videotron can’t offer freebees, yet, no one offers more free junk to justify their high plan prices than Rogers. Who reads Texture anyways?

  • EcE

    Thanks for not posting my comment mobilesyrup. That’s nice.

  • fred

    Good decision, thanks CRTC.

    I stand for Net Neutrality.

    • jxjan

      You stand for substandard service.

    • fred

      net neutrality will result in better service in the long run

    • Daniel Vezina

      *Driiiiiiinnnngggg* Wake up dude.
      It means you will pay more in the long run…

    • fred

      Daniel Vezina? You must know more about cooking / being a chef than net neutrality.

    • Daniel Vezina

      Honestly don’t care about what you think.
      You just can’t afford the service and only be jealous…

    • fred

      what a constructive post

    • Bryan Hamon

      Net neutrality does not guarantee better service just that everything is treated equally. In an economic sense we will be charged higher rates the more we use.

    • fred

      Because you think we get charged lower rates in a non-net neutral world?

    • Bryan Hamon

      I think that in our current situation if you want to use more data you will pay for more data.

      How does this ruling guarantee that we will get better service? It just means that all data is treated equally, if that means we get bad service then all data is treated equally badly.

    • fred

      net neutrality doesn’t guaranty good prices.
      But lack of net neutrality pretty much guaranty that greedy carriers are going to offer crappy service in the long run. Videotron’s unlimited music was only the tip of the iceberg, and polished to look shiny.

    • Bryan Hamon

      I disagree, there is no guarantee either way. Companies will find a way of being greedy if they want to no matter what.

    • fred

      Net neutrality is not the only safeguard we need. But it is an important one and we are doomed without it.

  • jxjan

    Net neutrality needs to go. F U CRTC you backwards arsed numptys.
    I will use LINE mobile as an example (Japan based MVNO). You can get a 7gb plan of data for about 2800 yen (about 32 CAD). With line mobile usage of facebook, twitter, instagram, and line app do not count towards your data. A regular 7gb plan with a major carrier here will cost you at minimum 5700 Yen (65ish? CAD). Noone benefits from net neutrality. It will be of benefit to consumers to ditch it ASAP.

    • K_p0w3r

      You’re free to get a plan from Verizon and pay through the nose to have your data sold at the packet level to the highest bidder. making specific services free may seem like a benefit but it can just as easily be used to undermine new and up coming services, potentially stifling innovation in the process. If Telcos wanted to be “innovative” as they put it, they could just as easily release throttled unlimited plans. Provide that extra bandwidth that they were using for zero rating and allow any traffic to run on it . But of course then they wouldn’t be able to slam you with overages. hell they could even integrate it into their mobile app to allow you the user to select which apps traffic goes on the “faster but capped” connection and which apps traffic goes on the “unlimited but slower” connection. Essentially putting the power of choice in your hands instead of theirs, arguably circumventing the whole zero rating issue by leaving it up to you. Give the customer the tools and let them decide how to use it

  • Whome

    Not happy with this ruling.
    Even so without the unlimited music $66 a month for 6gigs of data is still less than half what I would be paying at the big 3 so I’ll stick with Videotron.
    So far there cell service has been equal to what I was getting at Rogers and their customer service is 100 times better than Rogers.

    • Wilbour

      I agree. My cell reception at my cabin in Ontario is full bars! Compared to flaky reception with Virgin/Bell.

  • Whome

    Direct from the Rogers website:

    “All non-shared plans include Roam Like Home”

    “All shared plans include Roam Like Home and Rogers Game Center Live”

    “All shared plans above 5GB also include your choice of subscription to Spotify or Texture”

    What’s this CRTC the more you pay at Rogers the more “FREE” stuff you get.

    I’m assuming that this will also be addressed.

    • fred

      That’s not the issue. The issue is that Videotron violated net neutrality. Not Rogers.

    • Whome

      So its wrong for a company to offer a service that any of the big three can offer but don’t?

    • fred

      It depends?There is nothing wrong if it doesn’t violate net neutrality.

    • Salinger

      Completely different. If Rogers said that any data consumed while watching games on Rogers Game Centre Live would not be counted towards your cap, then yes, that would have to be addressed.

      Companies can offer add-ons and bonuses without issue. If Videotron wants to give an extra 3GB of data to compensate users for the loss of free data for select content, they’re more than welcome to do that. They simply can’t dictate what that data can be used for.

    • K_p0w3r

      “All non-shared plans include Roam Like Home”
      – Has nothing to do with net neutrality: AFIK Rogers does not limit what apps you can use while roaming. You just get charged more

      “All shared plans include Roam Like Home and Rogers Game Center Live”
      1. See above
      2. Just because you get game center free doesn’t mean that it doesn’t count against your data (If game center doesn’t count against your data cap, then it would be a violation of net neutrality.)

      “All shared plans above 5GB also include your choice of subscription to Spotify or Texture”
      Again just because you get Spotify or Texture for free does not mean that they are exempt from your monthly data cap.

      That is the difference between what Rogers does and what Videotron and Bell do/did. you may be getting some sort of subscription for “Free” but the data that subscription uses is no different than any other data coming in and out of your phone and therefore is not exempt from your data cap

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    “What they don’t see is how much they are paying to get that free stuff. Videotron’s plans weren’t low end plans. Those people are already paying too much money, then when [a feature like Unlimited Music is launched] they get distracted by the free stuff. That’s just behavioural marketing standard practice.”

    Hello, we already pay to much anyways everwhere, at least with Videotron we were getting something everyone on those plans could appreciate. And by the way better overall plan than those 3 big fools.

  • fred

    My messaging uses far less than 128 kbps and yet it counts towards the monthly cap.
    This argument is stupid. If I use 10 GB of data at 3am I cause less problems on the network than streaming at 128 kbps at peak period.

    • Ipse

      I don’t know who pi55ed in your cornflakes that you’re blasting everyone here and on DSL Reports.
      Now you’re telling me to listen to music at 3am. Nice…but I’m not like you, using the phone to download pr0n :p

    • fred

      If you listen to music at peak period, then you have an impact on the network and there is no reason why you should get a free pass.

    • Ipse

      There is no reasoning with you…if you REALLY think that 128kbps makes or breaks the network, you need to talk to someone who works for a telecom eqpt vendor. Like me.
      Have a nice day on my block list.

    • Bryan Hamon

      Well we know that the main issue with why we have data caps in the first place is not the bandwidth on the tower but with the backhaul. Now I don’t know of Videotron made these arrangements but my theory is that they were making agreements with the services to have more direct access to the content rather than going over the general internet so Videotron’s bandwidth costs would effectively be zero and in turn the services would gain subscribers.

  • Bryan Hamon

    I’m sure there will be a court ruling at this point. Just because the CRTC passed judgement doesn’t mean a court could decide differently.

  • Wilbour

    So I signed up with Videotron last fall because of their partnership with Rogers’ towers. I needed better reception. I was sold on their pricing giving me a new (crappy but new) phone. I was elated by unlimited streaming of Google Music since I already have my music stored there.

    Now, 5 months later when I check the data usage of Google Music, the only service I use, I never exceed 2 gigs. That combined with my other data use I’m still under 6gigs.

    In the end I feel this motion put forth by competitors is just their way of staying on top without offering similar choices to their clients.

    Am I dissapointed! Yes, but in the end it won’t make a difference to me.

    But that’s just my thoughts.

  • Pingback: Trump advisor slams Canada’s recent zero rating decision | Daily Update()