The Labour Day weekend ended with a bang for telecom watchers as
Verizon, the U.S. giant that was contemplating entering the Canadian
market, announced that it was no longer interested in moving north. That
decision represents a major loss for consumers, who would have
benefited from greater choice and increased competition.
Yet days before the Verizon change of heart, the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission released its own
noteworthy announcement, issuing a request for information to all
Canadian wireless companies on their roaming pricing. The request, which
covers everything from roaming agreements with U.S. companies to
roaming revenues and consumer costs, may be the start of a long-overdue
effort to reign in Canadian roaming fees that the OECD has reported are
amongst the highest in the world.
The Commission acknowledged mounting concern over roaming fees, which
kick in whenever Canadians use their wireless devices outside the
country (and occasionally within the country when a provider does not
offer their own service). After attempts to gather data from publicly
available information failed to provide a clear picture, the CRTC
initiated the request for information, much of which has never been made
Based solely on the readily accessible information, however, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that roaming
fees render typical usage of cellphones when out of the country
unaffordable for most Canadians.
TagsShareTuesday September 10, 2013