Competition Bureau probing Rogers’ ‘Infinite’ plans, carrier ordered to produce documents

Rogers, alongside Bell and Telus, offers plans with "unlimited" data that is throttled beyond a certain amount of data

$75 per month 100GB Rogers plan.

Canada’s Federal Court has ordered Rogers to provide the Competition Bureau with documents as part of its inquiry into the company’s ‘Infinite’ plans.

According to the Globe and Mail, the bureau started an inquiry in April, which was recently revealed when it asked the court to compel Rogers to produce records and information related to the inquiry.

The Competition Bureau said in a statement to the Globe that it was examining “claims that the plans have unlimited data” when the plans make use of data speed reductions, or throttling, instead. Specifically, the bureau wants to determine if Rogers’ marketing practices are deceptive, though a spokesperson told the Globe there was “no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time.”

It’s worth noting that Rogers, as well as Bell and Telus, revamped their plans to offer “unlimited” data in 2019. At the time, the plans replaced existing overage fees, which were charged when customers exceeded their monthly data allotment, with a new system where customers weren’t charged for going over but instead had significantly reduced data speeds. The exact speeds have fluctuated, but now the three carriers all cap upload and download speeds at up to 512Kbps once customers exceed their monthly data allotment.

That Rogers is not alone in offering this style of plan was one of the key issues highlighted by the company’s own spokesperson in a statement to the Globe. In a statement, Rogers said that its advertising around the plans is “truthful and clear,” while also highlighting that that style of plan is “common across Canada.”

“We find the bureau’s timing of this inquiry, and that it has singled out Rogers only, quite concerning,” the company said.

It’s worth noting that more recently, Telus, Rogers and Bell have slowly rolled out speed caps to their “unlimited” plans, as well as the plans offered by their flanker brands. For example, some “unlimited” plans are capped at 1Gbps speeds, while others have speeds of 250Mbps or less. Customers must select more expensive plans in order to access faster data speeds.

Alongside the launch of “unlimited” plans, the carriers launched new device financing practices, including 36-month financing terms. Shortly after 36-month financing became available, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) asked providers to stop offering the option before ultimately determining in 2021 that 36-month financing violated the Wireless Code.

Source: The Globe and Mail

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