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CRTC needs to take new approach on wireless price reductions, advocate says

GATINEAU, Que. — The head of a national non-profit group says it’s time for Canada’s telecommunications regulator to take a new approach to bring down the high prices that consumers pay for wireless data.

OpenMedia executive director Laura Tribe says Canadians are frustrated with what they pay to use their smartphones to access the internet, and predicts public dissatisfaction will only grow if telecom regulations remain as they are.

Tribe made the comments in an interview ahead of OpenMedia’s appearance at the end of nine days of hearings held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission at its headquarters in Gatineau, Que.

Executives from Canada’s current wireless companies have been united in saying the CRTC would be making a terrible mistake if it abandons a long-standing policy that favours carriers that build and operate their own networks.

They said retail prices have fallen dramatically since 2018 because of the intense competition between large and small facilities-based carriers, which include Rogers, Bell, Telus, Freedom, Videotron, Eastlink, SaskTel and TBayTel.

Tribe says OpenMedia’s position is that Canada’s wireless carriers have been slow to lower their prices and that the CRTC must adopt a policy that encourages competition from wireless resellers that rent capacity from the networks.

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. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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