Telecom Commission Letter adressed to Distribution List

Our reference: 1011-NOC2016-0293

Ottawa, 24 February 2017

BY EMAIL

To: Distribution List

Re: Wireless Code Review – Requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential filed by the Coalition

Dear Sir or Madam:

This letter addresses requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential in the Review of the Wireless Code proceeding.Footnote 1

On 17 February 2017, the CoalitionFootnote 2 filed a request for disclosure of certain information filed by wireless service providers (WSPs) in response to undertakings taken at the Wireless Code Review public hearing and designated as confidential.

The information for which the Coalition requested disclosure related mainly to the number of devices that WSPs had unlocked, WSPs’ revenues and costs associated therewith, and the number of devices returned during the trial period at various intervals since the coming into force of the Wireless Code.  The Coalition also requested disclosure of information related to complaints respecting voice roaming filed by Quebecor Media Inc., on behalf of its subsidiary Videotron (Videotron), and how an unlocking fee may mitigate fraud filed by Rogers Communications Company Inc. (RCCI).

The Coalition argued that the public interest in disclosure of the information would outweigh any potential harm to the WSPs arising therefrom. In the alternative, the Coalition argued that any information that was not disclosed on a company-specific basis should be disclosed in the aggregate.

On 22 February 2017, Bell Canada, Bragg Communications Inc., doing business as Eastlink (Eastlink), Rogers Communications Company Inc. (RCCI), Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), TELUS Communications Company (TCC) and Videotron filed their replies to the disclosure request.

With the exception of SaskTel, these WSPs argued that no additional company-specific information should be disclosed. SaskTel submitted that it did not oppose the release of the information it had designated as confidential in response to CRTC Exhibit 1, Question 22, respecting the number of devices returned during the trial period.

RCCI and Videotron did not oppose disclosure on an aggregated basis. Bell and Eastlink did not support aggregated disclosure, but submitted that if any additional disclosure was required, such disclosure should only be on an aggregated basis. Bell and RCCI submitted that aggregated disclosure should only proceed if information from more than three WSPs was available, and that the total number of WSPs who had provided the information should not be disclosed. SaskTel opposed the disclosure of aggregated information respecting unlocking revenues or costs in any circumstances. TCC opposed the disclosure of any aggregated information in any circumstances, arguing that it would provide parties with no relevant information.

Where the WSPs opposed disclosure, they generally argued that the specific and direct harm that would be caused to the WSPs as a result of revealing sensitive commercial information to competitors would outweigh any potential public interest in disclosure.

On 23 February 2017, the Coalition filed a sur-reply respecting its request for disclosure. However, as the procedure established by Commission staff in its letter of 20 February 2017 to dispose of the request did not provide for such a filing, Commission staff has not taken it into account here.

Disclosure

Requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential are addressed in light of sections 38 and 39 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) and sections 30 and following of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules). In evaluating a request, an assessment is made as to whether the information falls into a category of information that can be designated confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Act. The next step in the assessment is to determine whether there is any specific direct harm likely to result from the disclosure of the information in question and whether any such harm outweighs the public interest in disclosure. In making this evaluation, a number of factors are taken into consideration, including the degree of competition and the importance of the information to the ability of the Commission to obtain a full and complete record. The factors considered are discussed in more detail in Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961, 23 December 2010, as amended by Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961-1, 26 October 2012.

Conclusions

Commission staff has reviewed the requests for disclosure from the Coalition and considers that further disclosure of certain company-specific information is required.

Specifically, SaskTel and RCCI are to file the information set out in Attachment 1 for the public record by no later than 8 p.m., Ottawa time, on 27 February 2017.

Commission staff notes that SaskTel did not oppose the disclosure of the information in question. While Rogers did oppose disclosure of information related to how an unlocking fee mitigates fraud, Commission staff considers that partial disclosure of this information would be in the public interest. Rogers has not established the likelihood of specific and direct harm that would outweigh the public interest in the disclosure of the information to the extent set out in Attachment 1.

Commission staff further considers that certain additional information should be disclosed on the public record of the proceeding on an aggregated basis. The WSPs that have argued against disclosure on an aggregated basis have not established that they would suffer specific and direct harm as a result. Further, staff considers that disclosure of this information would provide parties with a meaningful opportunity to comment on general and relevant trends in the wireless market that may influence those parties’ submission with respect to proposals on the record of the proceeding.

Commission staff acknowledges that in certain cases the information provided has been identified by the submitting party as an estimate. However, these cases are limited, and staff considers that even estimates would have value to parties as a means of informing their participation.

Having regard to the considerations set out above, on 27 February 2017 Commission staff will place the following aggregated totals on the public record, on an annualized basis from 2014 – 2016: the number of devices unlocked by WSPs, revenues associated with unlocking, and the number of devices returned during the trial period.

The information will be set out in the format of the Table below, as calculated by Commission staff. The aggregated totals will be based on the responses of the WSPs participating in the proceeding to the following undertakings:

The Table will include information from the responses to undertakings noted above, as well as from any responses to undertakings that the WSPs have incorporated by reference into their responses to the listed undertakings. Not every WSP that participated in the proceeding and that filed responses to undertakings has filed information for each category and year set out in the Table below. Accordingly, it cannot be assumed that any particular WSP has contributed information to the table for a specific year under a specific category.

As noted previously, further process to allow parties to comment on the new information may be set out in the coming days.

Sincerely,

[Original signed by]

Nanao Kachi Director, Social and Consumer Policy Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy

Enclosure

c. c.:  CRTC: Megan Wawryk, megan.wawryk@crtc.gc.ca;

          Guillaume Leclerc, guillaume.leclerc@crtc.gc.ca;

          Megan Maloney, megan.maloney@crtc.gc.ca;

          Adam Balkovec, adam.balkovec@crtc.gc.ca   

Distribution List:

Wireless Service Providers

Bell Mobility (bell.regulatory@bell.ca)

Bragg Communications Inc, dba "Eastlink" (regulatory.matters@corp.eastlink.ca)

Freedom Mobile (eantecol@windmobile.ca)

Quebecor Media Inc., on behalf of its subsidiary Videotron G.P. (dennis.beland@quebecor.com)

Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (monifa.morgan@rci.rogers.com)

Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) (document.control@sasktel.com)

SSi Micro Ltd. (regulatory@ssimicro.com)

TELUS Communications Company (eric.edora@telus.com)

Consumer Groups

The Coalition, composed of the Consumers’  Association of Canada (CAC), Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO), National Pensioners Federation (NPF) and Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) (lawford@piac.ca)

Comité pour le service cellulaire équitable L'Islet (sjmckay49@gmail.com)

Consumers Council of Canada (whitehurst@consumerscouncil.com; dchogarth@gmail.com)

Deaf Wireless Canada Consultative Committee (lisa@deafwireless.ca)

Media Access Canada, on behalf of the Access 2020 Coalition of Disabilities Stakeholders (anthony@tibbs.ca)

Union des consommateurs (slambert-racine@uniondesconsommateurs.ca)

Other Parties

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (keby@cwta.ca; info@cwta.ca)

Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc. (howard.maker@ccts-cprst.ca)

Community Legal Aid (lbahgat@uwindsor.ca)

Dr. Catherine Middleton, Canada Research Chair, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University and Dr. Tamara Shepherd, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Media and Film, University of Calgary (catherine.middleton@ryerson.ca; tamara.shepherd@ucalgary.ca)

Forum for Research and Policy in Communications (execdir@frpc.net; (cynkhoo@gmail.com)

Group of Students from Huntington University at Laurentian University (jgoldie@huntingtonu.ca)

Group of researchers composed of Marina Pavlovic, Mary Cavanagh, Sean Grassie and Lora Hamilton (marina.pavlovic@uottawa.ca)

Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec et l'Office de la protection du consommateur (karine.lemieux@mcc.gouv.qc.ca)

Vaxination  Informatique (jfmezei@vaxination.ca)

Attachment 1: Disclosure of Information Designated as Confidential

SaskTel

RCCI

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