ARCHIVED -  Telecom Order CRTC 99-33

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Telecom Order


Ottawa, 20 January 1999


Telecom Order CRTC 99-33


On 17 September 1998, Bell Canada (Bell) filed Tariff Notice (TN) 6281. Bell stated that TN 6281 relates to a proposed Directory Listing Market Trial between Bell and Bell Mobility Cellular Inc. (Bell Mobility) for a one-year period starting 19 October 1998. Bell proposed to waive the service charges to Bell Mobility associated with providing white pages directory listings for the wireless service telephone numbers of Bell Mobility's subscribers. Bell Mobility would pay the monthly rate for any listings for its subscribers during the trial.


File No.: TN 6281


1.Bell submitted that the market trial is intended to:


(a) test the market penetration of a "free" white page listing, to be offered by Bell Mobility to a select number of its customers who meet their criteria for the target market;


(b) provide market data regarding the impact of such listing information on wireless usage patterns; and


(c) provide some indication of the potential for growth in directory listings for wireless service numbers, which could be a source of additional revenues for Bell.


2.Clearnet Communications Inc. (Clearnet) and Microcell Telecommunications Inc. (Microcell) submitted that the market trial should be rejected. Clearnet and Microcell objected to what was characterized as Bell's preferential treatment toward its affiliate. They submitted that Bell's actions confer an undue preference on Bell Mobility and competitively disadvantage Bell Mobility's wireless competitors.


3.The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and Clearnet (as alternative relief) submitted that competitive equity demands that Bell should make available equivalent provisions to all wireless service providers that wish to carry out their own programs of providing directory listings to their customers. Clearnet submitted that, in effect, Bell is the de facto monopoly provider of directories and directory assistance in its territory.


4.Clearnet submitted that the Commission should re-examine the basis on which Bell and the other Stentor companies charge wireless service providers for directory listings. Clearnet submitted that the Commission should consider initiating a process which would lead to cost-based rates for directory listings.


5.Bell submitted that it has complied with the Commission's stated requirements for a market trial and that further justification is not required.


6.Finally, Bell stated that it sees no merit in the arguments of Clearnet and Microcell that an "undue preference" is being accorded. Bell submitted that until final trial results are available, any benefits to either of the trial participants are a matter of conjecture. Bell further submitted that the interested parties are only interested in thwarting joint efforts to conduct innovative market endeavours.


7.The Commission considers that the number of subscribers being targeted is excessive for purposes of conducting a market trial and that, on this broad a scale, it is more in the nature of a promotion than a market trial.


8.The Commission considers that Bell is conferring a preference on its affiliate, Bell Mobility. The Commission considers that Bell has failed to demonstrate that the preference conferred on Bell Mobility is not undue.


9.With respect to Clearnet's request, the Commission notes that the service for which the market trial is proposed, which essentially amounts to providing extra listings, is not in the nature of an essential service for which rates would be based on a mark-up mandated by the Commission.


10.In light of the foregoing, the Commission denies Bell TN 6281 and Clearnet's request that the Commission consider initiating a process which would lead to cost-based rates for directory listings.


Secretary General


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