Rogers has argued against regulation for mandated MVNO access, citing that the wireless market is already competitive, and that it would hinder investments and 5G deployment.
The Toronto-based national carrier noted that Freedom and Vidéotron accounted for 33 percent of net new customer additions last year. It claimed that because of this, the market does not require the need for mandated MVNOs.
“Simply put, wireless competition in Canada has never been this intense. Since you took your preliminary view, there have been dramatic changes in consumer offers and significant competitor successes in the wireless market,” the carrier said to the CRTC during the public hearing.
It stated that the market is already competitive, and that it continuously matches prices with other national carriers.
Further, Rogers disagreed with the CRTC’s position that the benefits of a well-developed MVNO market would outweigh any negative impacts. It argued that the opposite is true, and that Rogers and the rest of the wireless industry are poised to make the most extensive telecommunications investments yet.
Rogers made the case that Canadian carriers hold the investment burden for Canada to compete on the world front in terms of 5G, and that this can only happen if the carriers have the financial ability to make massive investments.
“MVNOs do not bridge the digital divide. They do not bring new services to underserved communities. They do not bring more rural coverage to Canadians,” the carrier said during the CRTC’s hearing.
It also noted that if it is unable to continue to make investments, the rollout of 5G would not be as extensive as it would otherwise be. Rogers said that the biggest impact would be on rural areas.
The carrier also noted that in terms of a global context, very few regulators around the world have implemented mandatory MVNO access regulation, and claimed Canada would be an “international outlier” if it were to do so.
Interestingly, Rogers acknowledged that it would be difficult to see another facilities-based competitor entering the market since there are already four or five carriers in each region, along with several sub-brands. It noted that spectrum has already been obtained by companies, and that more will be purchased later this year during the government auction.
Additionally, the carrier said that the Coalition for Cheaper Wireless Service’s proposed mandated low-cost plan would “eviscerate the industry economics.”
The proposed plan from the coalition would include 4GB of monthly LTE-speed data with no overages for a maximum price of $30. The coalition stated that two different groups would qualify for this program, the first being low-income Canadians who fall below the low-income cut-off after tax. The second group would be seniors on fixed incomes.
Rogers also agreed with Telus’ and Bell’s argument that ‘winback’ offers are proof of a competitive market and that any sort of ban on them would be “anti-consumer.” Rogers outlined that it has specific offers online, and that there are other offers that the carrier will call customers with.