The federal telecommunications regulator has refused to change its decision that Rogers Communications Inc. is unlawfully denying Wind Mobile’s customers the ability to seamlessly roam across its network.
After the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled against Wind last June, the startup urged the regulator to take a second look at the decision. It was backed by the Consumers Association of Canada.
With the ruling Wind can only hope that Industry Canada will come to its rescue in its review of roaming conditions as part of the rules for the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction.
To ensure that new wireless carriers like Wind, Mobilicity and Public Mobile could effectively compete against incumbent operators, the government ordered incumbent carriers like Rogers . [TSX: RCI.A] to allow competitors to roam on their networks.
Roaming is essential for the young startups, whose coverage areas in their first years will be small.
Wind insists it needs seamless roaming onto the Rogers network, the same right that Rogers’ Chatr subscribers have. Wind uses Chatr for comparison because it says that service competes against the startups. It also argues that seamless roaming is mandated by regulators in other countries.
But the CRTC said Wednesday it hasn’t been given any evidence that any other jurisdiction has mandated seamless call transition.
It also dismissed Wind’s claim that new principles have arisen since the commission’s decision last year. “Since the Commission has determined that there has been no preference, advantage or discrimination, the Commission concludes that WIND’s claims have no merit.”
As for Industry Canada, Lacavera said the department initiated some changes when it announced the framework for the 700 MHz auction last month, but “it there’s still a long way to go.”