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Coalition tells CRTC more affordable wireless options are needed

GATINEAU, Que. — A coalition of groups representing consumers, low-income and Indigenous people in Manitoba says Canada’s telecom regulator needs to do something soon to make mobile wireless services more affordable. 

The Manitoba coalition says there is ample evidence that Canada’s mobile data prices have historically been high compared with what’s available in other countries and they only become less expensive when competition increases. 

The comments come at the opening of another week of hearings at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which is looking at the state of competition in the mobile services industry.

The CRTC has proposed that Canada’s three national networks — Bell, Rogers and Telus — should be required to sell wholesale capacity to rival carriers in order to increase competition at the consumer level. 

Bell, Telus and two regional mobile carriers — Freedom and Eastlink — said last week that they are already highly competitive with each other and that consumers won’t really be helped if CRTC artificially creates more competition.

However, consumer groups including the Manitoba Coalition argue that lower-income people and disadvantaged groups need basic mobile service but can’t afford what’s available at current retail prices. 

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B, TSX:QBR.B, TSX:T, TSX:SJR.B)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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