CRTC review of mobile wireless market pushed to February 2020

The hearing was originally set for January 2020


The CRTC’s review on the state of the mobile wireless market and whether further action is required to improve choice and affordability for Canadians, has been pushed to February 2020.

A notice on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) website indicated that the revised public hearing date will begin on February 18th, 2020. The deadline for further comments is now November 22nd, 2019. The deadline for parties to reply to the Commissioner of Competition’s economic studies is January 13th, 2020, and the revised deadline for final submissions is March 23rd, 2020.

The Competition Bureau currently is doing an economic study of the state of the wireless market in Canada. The commissioner requested an extension of 30 days for further comments to come in from carriers. This was backed by carriers that also felt an extension was necessary.

Carriers requested that they also have an opportunity to respond to the commissioner’s studies and said that “being able to comment before the hearing is a matter of procedural fairness, particularly since the commissioner will be filing his expert report well after other parties file their own expert reports.”

The carriers requested this additional reply phase be added to the schedule so they can “engage their own experts to respond directly” to the study. The CRTC felt there was merit to this and felt six weeks for parties to evaluate and respond to the commissioner would be enough.

Because of the commissioner’s 30-day extension and the request and the new reply phase, carriers requested the hearing be rescheduled.

“The [CRTC] considers that delaying the hearing by approximately five weeks would be reasonable since it would accommodate the 30-day extension and the new reply phase and provide sufficient time for parties to prepare for the hearing, but would not significantly extend the length of the proceeding overall,” the CRTC wrote in its notice.

The hearing would look into whether or not Wi-Fi first MVNOs should have mandated access to the networks of the Big Three. It will also look at whether or not regulatory measures are needed when 5G is deployed in the Canadian market.