For years, Canadians have been paying some of the highest cellphone rates in the world. The major cellphone companies in Canada, such as Rogers, Bell, and Telus, have been accused of gouging their customers and charging exorbitant rates. With the recent acquisition of Shaw by Rogers, the competition in the industry has become even more limited, leading to concerns about higher rates for Canadians. However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has taken a major step forward to increase cellphone service competition in Canada.
In 2021, the CRTC introduced a policy that allows regional cellphone providers to compete as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) across Canada. Under this policy, large cellphone companies must share their networks with competitors. With access to larger networks, regional competitors can offer cellphone services in parts of Canada they do not currently serve. This policy was a potential solution to the problem of high cellphone rates in Canada.
Now, the CRTC has set the final MVNO access rules, meaning that regional competitors have 90 days to negotiate MVNO access agreements. The CRTC expects these agreements to be in place shortly, and regional competitors will start selling plans in new parts of Canada. This move will ensure Canadians have more choices of cellphone services, which is expected to lead to lower rates.
The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of CRTC, Vicky Eatrides, stated, “The CRTC is taking action to promote competition in the cellphone services market. Today’s decision builds on our efforts to ensure that Canadians benefit from lower prices and more choice for telecommunications services.”
The decision by the CRTC is a positive step towards increasing competition in the cellphone services market, and it is expected to lead to lower rates for Canadians. However, it remains to be seen how much of an impact this decision will have on the market and whether the major cellphone companies will attempt to find ways around the new rules.
The CRTC’s decision to increase competition in the cellphone services market is a welcome development for Canadians who have been paying some of the highest cellphone rates in the world. With regional competitors expected to start selling plans in new parts of Canada, Canadians will have more choices of cellphone services, which should lead to lower rates. While it remains to be seen how much of an impact this decision will have, it is a step in the right direction toward ensuring that Canadians have access to affordable and high-quality cellphone services.