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Budget 2014 Caps Cell Phone Roaming Rates

Posted by Matt on February 14, 2014         Tagged with: crtc, wireless

A few weeks ago I blogged about wireless roaming rates and the Competition Bureau's concerns that excessively high roaming rates had a negative effect on competition in the wireless marketplace.

It seems the Conservative government shares those concerns. The Huffington Post points out that the 2014 federal budget contains a promise to cap roaming rates until the CRTC can make up it's mind about how to handle the issue. From page 177:

The Government has a strong record of responding to the needs and concerns of Canadian consumers, including by taking steps to achieve greater competition in the wireless market so that Canadians benefit from more choice, lower prices and better service. The 2013 Speech from the Throne highlighted the importance of protecting Canadians and their families while encouraging healthy competition and lower consumer prices. Since the last auction of wireless spectrum in 2008, prices have fallen by almost 20 per cent and jobs in the wireless industry have increased by 25 per cent.

The Government will build on this record by proposing to amend the Telecommunications Act to cap wholesale domestic wireless roaming rates to prevent wireless providers from charging other companies more than they charge their own customers for mobile voice, data and text services. This measure will be in place until the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is now investigating this issue, makes a decision on roaming rates. With wholesale domestic roaming rates on networks capped, Canadian consumers will benefit from more competition in the wireless market.

That's about as strict a cap as you could imagine the CRTC imposing.