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Canadian Operators Kick Against Wholesale Plan

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Canadian operators protested a proposed regulatory change which would require them to lease spare network capacity to MVNOs to boost competition and lower costs for consumers, arguing such a move is unnecessary and would harm investments in 5G.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) proposed the amendment to wholesale rules for MVNO access as part of a broader review of wireless regulation initiated in February 2019. Hearings addressing the issue and the state of Canada’s mobile market more generally began last week and are expected to end on 28 February.

In testimony Rogers Communications president and CEO Joseph Natale insisted the country already had a fiercely competitive market with “at least three formidable competitors and seven or eight brands in every market trying to eat our lunch”.

He added tariffs in Canada are comparable to those in the US, noting Verizon’s entry-level unlimited plan costs a little more than CAD90 (US$67.54) while Rogers Communications’ own unlimited offering starts at CAD75.

Telus president and CEO Darren Entwistle had previously offered a similar argument, claiming mandated MVNO access would harm innovation, investment and job creation, and delay 5G deployments.

And President and CEO of Videotron parent Quebecor, Pierre Karl Peladeau had stated the move would actually strengthen the position of the country’s top three players by enabling MVNOs to erode regional operator market share.

He warned the change would be “a historic mistake with dire consequences”.-Mobile World Live

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