CRTC says concerns about phone bills heard ‘loud and clear’

The commission has started its two-week long public hearings on the wireless market

The CRTC has begun its public hearings on the state of mobile wireless services, and the commission has addressed the concern that cellphone bills are too high.

“The vast majority of surveyed Canadians were of the view that prices for their cellphone service are not as competitive in Canada as they are in other countries, with 66 percent stating that Canada’s cellphone prices are worse than elsewhere in the world,” CRTC chairperson Ian Scott said.

The two-week long hearings are going to focus on three key things. First, they are going to determine whether further action is needed to improve choice and affordability in the wireless market.

“Mobile wireless rates decreased by an average of 28 percent between 2016 and 2018. We remain concerned, however, that these price decreases may not be keeping pace with what is transpiring in other jurisdictions, and we want to see a broader range of affordable options for consumers,” Scott said.

Secondly, the commission is going to consider whether MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) should have mandated access to some or all wireless service providers’ networks. If this is the case, then the commission needs to decide what considerations they would be subject to.

Interestingly, around 60 percent of Canadians support new regulations that would require the Big Three (Rogers, Telus and Bell) to share their infrastructure with smaller providers to promote wireless competition.

“Finally, we will be looking at whether regulatory measures may be required to facilitate the deployment of 5G network infrastructure in Canada,” Scott said.

After the hearings, the commission is expected to make its decisions on these matters either later this year, or early 2021.

If you’re interested in the hearings, you can watch them online here.

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