OTTAWA, 15 April 2021 – Consumers will benefit from “MVNO” wireless competition permitted today by Canada’s telecommunications regulator, said the “Coalition for Cheaper Wireless Service” (CCWS) a group of consumer, low-income and seniors groups whose members are the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC); ACORN Canada (ACORN); National Pensioners Federation (NPF); and CARP (formerly Canadian Association of Retired Persons).
John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel, welcomed the decision, noting: “Consumers made the case that they have too few choices and too high prices for cellphone service in Canada. The CRTC has finally cleared a path for MVNOs and we trust they will find Canadians are very willing to try a new wireless option.”
Certain “eligible regional” mobile virtual network operators or “MVNOs” will be permitted to resell the wireless services of major, established wireless companies Bell Mobility, TELUS Mobility and Rogers, with some conditions, based on wholesale access to these established companies – which is what the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) finally required today.
Lawford noted that consumers will have to wait a little longer for the new competition while MVNOs and the “big 3” negotiate rates and the CRTC arbitrates dispute.
Finally, Bell, TELUS and Rogers will be required “offer and promote low-cost plans and occasional-use plans in an effort to benefit Canadians, including those who are elderly or low-income earners, as well as those who use their mobile devices sparingly.” The CCWS specifically asked for cellphone plans for low-income Canadians and seniors.
“We hope to see these affordable options soon,” added Lawford. “Seniors and lower-income Canadians need wireless connections now more than ever.”