Wind Mobile has been able to capitalize on recent federal moves by lowering the domestic roaming rates it charges subscribers and boosting the data speeds they can get outside its home network .
The carrier said today that outside the Wind network in Canada subscirbers will pay 15 cents a minute for voice calls (down from 20 cents), five cents a minute for text (down from 15 cents, and five cents a megabyte for data (down from $1).
It also will shortly give subscribers the ability to download data at up to 42 Mbps — if their devices are capable of handling that speed — outside the home network as well.
Wind limited data speeds outside its network in Vancouver, Calgary, Alberta, southern Ontario and Ottawa to a mere 120 Kbps.
The changes come as the impact of the Harper government’s decision to put a cap on the fees incumbent carriers can charge smaller carriers when subscribers roam on their networks. When it set the rules for the 2008 AWS spectrum auction, the government said incumbents had to allow new entrants to roam on their Canadian networks because the startups’ networks would be small. However, the price for wholesale roaming was to be negotiated between the carriers.
Startups quickly complained that the incumbents were charging outrageous fees as a way to discourage competition.
Finally the government stepped in this year with the cap. Wholesale domestic roaming rates startups have to pay may be lowered more if the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decided to regulate the fees. The commission will start a hearing into fees startups pay late next month.
The move also comes after the CRTC told incumbent carriers that they have to stop including exclusivity clauses in roaming agreements they demand startups sign. It also singled out Rogers for unjust discrimination against competitors in the roaming rates it charged certain competitors.