OTTAWA — Canada's telecommunications regulator has sided with BCE Inc. in a final offer arbitration proceeding between that company and Quebecor Inc. over wholesale mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) data rates.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says Bell Canada's proposal will best promote investment by both companies, while fostering affordability and competition for retail mobile services.
Earlier this year, the CRTC gave the major telecoms 90 days to negotiate access agreements for MVNOs, which followed a policy set in 2021 allowing regional cellphone providers to compete as MVNOs across Canada using networks built by large companies.
It says Bell "reluctantly" proposed a data access rate that the company said would not provide it with fair compensation, but was designed to limit the potential negative consequences if Quebecor's offer were selected — namely "substantially reduced investments for network expansion or enhancement on the part of Bell."
Quebecor had argued Bell's offer was "unjust and unreasonable because it does not provide … sufficient flexibility to continue to discipline the market by commercializing lower-priced plans, to react to incumbent carriers’ competing offers, and to generate cash flow for network investments."
The CRTC earlier ruled in an arbitration proceeding between Quebecor and Rogers Communications Inc. about MVNO data rates, siding with the former in that case.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:QBR.B, RCI.B)
The Canadian Press