ARCHIVED - Telecom Commission Letter addressed to distribution list
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Ottawa, 30 November 2015
Our references: 8638-C12-201505661, 8740-B38-201507849
RE: Part 1 Application by Eastlink, Quebecor and WIND – Bell, Rogers, and Telus interim tariff pages filed pursuant to Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-177 Regulatory framework for wholesale mobile wireless services and Tariff Notice 1 by Bell Mobility - Decision
In Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-177, Regulatory framework for wholesale mobile wireless services (TRP 2015-177), the Commission determined that it was necessary to mandate the provision of domestic Global System for Mobile communication (GSM)-basedFootnote 1 wholesale roaming (‘wholesale wireless roaming) services by Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications Partnership (Rogers), and TELUS Communications Company (TCC), collectively “the national wireless carriers” to Canadian wireless carriers other than the national wireless carriers. The Commission also determined that the mandated service was to be provided pursuant to tariffed rates, terms and conditions. The Commission directed Bell Mobility, Rogers and TCC to each file proposed cost-based rates, for wholesale wireless roaming by 4 November 2015 Footnote 2. Pending its final determination on the proposed cost-based tariffed rates, terms and conditions, the Commission established interim rates, and certain terms and conditions, for wholesale wireless roaming.
As directed in TRP 2015-177, Bell Mobility, Rogers and TCC issued their respective interim tariff pages for wholesale wireless roaming services, effective 5 May 2015Footnote 3. The interim tariff pages include the rates, terms and conditions of the wholesale wireless roaming services.
On 24 June 2015, the Commission received a Part 1 application from Bragg Communications Inc., carrying on business as “Eastlink”, Quebecor Media Inc., on behalf of its affiliate Videotron G.P., and WIND Mobile Corp (collectively “the Applicants”) submitting that the terms and conditions included in the interim tariff pages filed by the national wireless carriers did not respect the nature and the scope of the Commission’s rulings in TRP 2015-177. In particular, they submitted that the terms and conditions included by the national wireless carriers in their tariffs were more onerous than those found in the existing negotiated agreements, and represented a significant step backwards from a competitive perspective.
The Applicants submitted that the Commission should direct all three national wireless carriers to issue new interim wholesale wireless roaming tariffs in strict compliance with the direction in Paragraph 144 of TRP 2015-177. Specifically, they argued that the tariff pages should include wholesale wireless roaming rates and no terms and conditions other than those that reflect the Commission’s express determinations in TRP 2015-155. The Applicants also requested that the Commission clarify the tariff approval and comment process to allow meaningful participation by parties.
On 27 July 2015, Bell Mobility, Rogers, TCC and Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc. (CNOC) filed interventions in response to the Part 1 application. In general, the national wireless carriers submitted that key terms and conditions for the provision of a service must be included in a tariff. Further, they stated that they wished to comply with the terms and conditions set out in existing GSM-based roaming commercial arrangements other than the rates, which would be those approved on an interim basis by the Commission. The national wireless carriers requested that the Commission confirm that prior arrangements negotiated with each of the Applicants under Industry Canada’sFootnote 4mandatory roaming regime remain valid as an off-tariff negotiated wholesale agreements.
In addition, Bell Mobility filed Tariff Notice 1 (TN 1) which sets out a proposed tariff for National Wireless Roaming Service, including terms and conditions, for the Commission’s review and approval. Bell Mobility requested that the Commission approve their proposed tariff pages on an interim basis and that those tariff pages replace, effective on the date of the interim approval, their current pages issued on 4 June 2015. Bell Mobility submitted that TN 1 would address the concerns of the Applicants by making it expressly clear that wholesale wireless roaming service may be made available on terms that are different from those in the tariff pursuant to negotiated agreements.
On 5 August 2015, Commission staff issued a procedural letter to specify that the record of TN 1 filed by Bell Mobility was combined with the record of the Part 1 application and that parties would have an opportunity to comment after staff issued interrogatories.
Commission’s analysis and determinations
In general, tariff pages should include the applicable rates, terms and conditions under which a wholesale service is provisioned. However, the current situation is unique, in that wholesale wireless roaming services were previously provided under forborne, negotiated bilateral agreements that are company-specific and take into account many factors.
Further, the record of the Part 1 application demonstrates that the terms and conditions proposed by the national wireless carriers are varied and contentious, suggesting that it would require significant time and resources, both for the Commission and the industry, to establish uniform terms and conditions for the provisioning of wholesale wireless roaming services on an interim basis.
In the Commission’s view, such efforts would be best employed working on the final rates, terms and conditions. Consistent with this view, the Commission considers that it would not now be appropriate to issue staff interrogatories.
In light of the above, the Commission considers that the interim tariff pages for wholesale wireless roaming services provided by the national wireless carriers should incorporate by reference the terms and conditions of the most recent existing agreements negotiated prior to the interim tariffs becoming effective (i.e. 5 May 2015) to the extent these terms and conditions are not inconsistent with TRP 2015-177. In the case of new wholesale roaming customers, the wholesale wireless roaming services should be provided on the same terms and conditions as set out in a negotiated agreement that was in place as of 5 May 2015 with an existing customer who is, as much as possible, of similar scale and scope.
This interim regime is intended to preserve the status quo as much as possible and to allow parties to focus their attention on providing comments on the proposed final cost-based rates, terms and conditions within the context of the Tariff Notices filed by the national wireless carriers on 23 November 2015.
Accordingly, the Commission approves Bell Mobility’s interim TN 1, with the modified text set out in Appendix 1 to this decision. The Commission also determines that the same terms and conditions should be used in the tariff pages of Rogers and TCC. The Commission therefore directs the national wireless carriers to reissue their interim tariff pages with the terms and conditions as set out in Appendix 1 to this decision within 10 days of the date of this decision. The Commission considers that this ruling also disposes of the Part 1 application filed by the Applicants on 24 June 2015.
Certain parties have proceeded on the assumption that the Commission’s forbearance decision permitting off-tariff negotiations for conditional essential servicesFootnote 5applies to wholesale wireless roaming services. The Commission considers that although the interim maximum rate approved by the Commission in TRP 2015-177 provides for the ability to negotiate a lower rate than the maximum indicated, there is nothing in TRP 2015-177, or other Commission determinations, that permits the provisioning of wholesale wireless roaming services by the national wireless carriers on an off-tariff basis. Such off-tariff agreements require a forbearance finding by the Commission and typically a default final tariff which will prevail in the absence of successful off-tariff negotiations.
The Commission will be initiating a public proceeding to seek comments and parties’ positions on the appropriateness of the use of off-tariff negotiated agreements for wholesale wireless roaming services, prior to the finalization of the final cost-based rates, terms and conditions.
Original signed by
Interim terms, conditions and rates for the provisioning of the national wholesale wireless roaming service
National Wireless Roaming Service enables the retail customers of a wireless carrier (the home network carrier) to automatically access voice, text, and data services by using a visited wireless carrier’s network (also referred to as “the host network”), including the radio access network (RAN), when they travel outside their home carrier’s network footprintFootnote 6using GSM-based technologies.
- National Wireless Roaming Service shall be provided to wholesale wireless roaming customers on the terms and conditions set out in the wholesale roaming agreement with that customer that was in force on 5 May 2015 to the extent that those terms and conditions are not inconsistent with the terms and conditions in this tariff.
- For a new wholesale wireless roaming customer, National Wireless Roaming Service shall be provided on the same terms and conditions as a negotiated agreement in force on 5 May 2015 with an existing customer who is, as much as possible, of similar scale and scope as the new customer, to the extent that those terms and conditions are not inconsistent with the terms and conditions in this tariff.
- The customer of National Wireless Roaming Service shall not be prevented from disclosing the identity of their wholesale roaming providers to their current or potential customers.Footnote 7
- The provider of National Wireless Roaming Service must provide roaming on its GSM-based mobile wireless networks to all subscribers served by their wholesale roaming customer, including the subscribers of any MVNOsFootnote 8 operating on their wholesale roaming customers’ networks.Footnote 9
- The National Wireless Roaming Service will be provided according to the following rates: (Insert here the interim rate per service)
Bell Mobility Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Rogers Communications Partnership, email@example.com
TELUS Communications Company, firstname.lastname@example.org
Videotron G.P., email@example.com
Bragg Communications Incorporated (Eastlink), firstname.lastname@example.org
Globalive Wireless Management Corp. (WIND), email@example.com
Ed Antecol EAntecol@WINDMobile.ca
MTS Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Saskatchewan Telecommunications, email@example.com
Ice Wireless Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc. email@example.com
Benjamin Klass, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vaxination Informatique, email@example.com
- Footnote 1
Global System for Mobile communications, GSM refers to GSM, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), high-speed packet access (HSPA), evolved HSPA (HSPA+), and their evolution.
- Footnote 2
Extended to 23 November 2015.
- Footnote 3
The Commission stated that these tariff pages can be submitted to the Commission without a description page or a request for approval; a tariff application is not required.
- Footnote 4
Now known as Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
- Footnote 5
Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-19. Bell Canada et al.'s application to review and vary Telecom Decision 2008-17 with respect to negotiated agreements. In this decision, the Commission approved Bell Canada et al.'s application to review and vary Telecom Decision 2008-17 so as to permit on a forborne basis, as set out in this decision, negotiated agreements for conditional essential and conditional mandated non-essential services.
- Footnote 6
Paragraph 42 of the Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-177, Regulatory framework for wholesale mobile wireless services, dated 5 May 2015 (TRP 2015-177)
- Footnote 7
Paragraph 148 of the TRP 2015-177)
- Footnote 8
mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) is a wireless service provider that does not own spectrum or operate its own radio access network (RAN); instead, it relies on the spectrum and RAN of a wireless carrier and, in some cases, other facilities and/or services, to provide mobile wireless services to consumers.
- Footnote 9
Paragraph 167 of the TRP 2015-177
- Date modified: