CRTC asks if incumbent networks should have MVNO set-asides

Originally published by The Wire Report
Author: Ahmad Hathout

Ahead of its wireless review hearing, the CRTC is asking Canadian telecoms to answer a long list of questions related to the government’s new policy directive to the regulator to enhance competition and affordability.

That includes the question of whether the CRTC should set-aside incumbent network capacity just for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

In a letter dated July 5, the CRTC requested specific groups address certain questions — some of which are contained in submissions to the wireless review consultation — including what they think constitutes MVNOs, what kind of MVNOs should be adopted if mandated and if it should adopt measures to prevent or limit flanker brands to encourage independent MVNO entry.

The federal government’s new policy directive, with its focus on competition, affordability and investment, came into force in June. It’s intended as a supplement to the 2006 directive, which focused on market forces, and now requests the CRTC explore encouraging “all forms of competition and investment.” Only days after the new policy was announced, the CRTC reversed its long-held position that MVNOs aren’t entitled to mandated access to wireless providers’ networks.

The commission now wants to know what kind of MVNOs it should adopt, if it should mandate them at the national, provincial or on the spectrum-tier level, and if it should require the incumbents set-aside some of their network for exclusive use by MVNOs at commercially negotiated rates — and if default rates should be set by the CRTC in case negotiations fail.

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