Telecom Commission Letter adressed to Mr. Matthew Boswell (Competition Bureau)

Ottawa, 18 April 2019

Our reference:  1011-NOC2019-0057

BY EMAIL

Mr. Matthew Boswell
Commissioner of Competition
Competition Bureau
50 rue Victoria
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0C9
matthew.boswell@canada.ca

RE: Review of mobile wireless services, Telecom Notice of Consultation 2019-57 – Procedural Request of the Commissioner of Competition – seeking the issuance of a request for information

Dear Mr. Boswell:

The Commission is in receipt of your letter, dated 5 April 2019, which responds to the process letter issued by Commission staff on 25 March 2019. In your letter you provide additional detail pertaining to your 8 March 2019 procedural request, specifically with respect to the amount of information being sought in the requests for information (RFIs) that the Competition Bureau has proposed. You also respond to various comments made by wireless service providers (WSPs) who opposed your procedural request.

Commission staff appreciates your interest in this proceeding, and recognizes that the Competition Bureau has unique expertise in the area of competition analysis.  

The purpose of this letter is to provide some guidance and clarity on how the RFI process will proceed given that the Competition Bureau has made a unique procedural request that deviates somewhat from the process set out in the Notice of Consultation insofar as it makes a specific request for the Commission to issue RFIs by a specified date (16 April 2019), and to have parties respond to those RFIs within 90 days. The Competition Bureau argued that these timelines are necessary so that it has sufficient time to have an outside consultant conduct a series of economic studies in time for the second intervention phase in October. 

At this early stage of the proceeding, staff’s priority is on building a fulsome record in relation to the issues outlined in the Notice of Consultation. With this goal in mind, Commission staff has issued an initial series of its own RFIs (dated 5 April 2019) to various WSPs, and upon which the Competition Bureau has been copied.

Commission staff notes that much of the information in its RFIs overlaps with information that is the subject of the Competition Bureau’s proposed questions. For example, market data such as revenues, number of subscribers, switching data, etc., is typical of the type of information that the Commission would normally seek in a proceeding such as this one. When responses to these questions are received, the Competition Bureau will have the opportunity under section 39 of the Telecommunications Act to request disclosure of any specific information that is designated as confidential in parties’ filings.

With respect to RFIs proposed by the Competition Bureau and the associated timelines, staff considers that the information being sought is highly granular and is concerned that requiring parties to respond to two sets of RFIs at this early stage of the proceeding, before interventions have been filed, would be overly burdensome on WSPs, who are preparing both their initial interventions and their responses to Commission staff’s 5 April 2019 RFIs.

In light of the above, Commission staff does not intend to issue any additional RFIs to parties at this time, either on its own behalf or on behalf of another party, at least until Commission staff’s 5 April 2019 RFIs, which are due on 5 June 2019, are filed and reviewed.  At that point, Commission staff will have a better sense of the quality of the record and be able to better identify what additional information is required for the purposes of building a record upon which the Commission can conduct its deliberations and reach informed conclusions on the issues before it, while having regard for the Commission’s interest to manage its proceedings so as to ensure that they are conducted in an efficient manner.

As indicated at paragraph 62 of the Notice of Consultation, Commission staff expects to issue additional RFIs by 5 July 2019, and parties, including the Competition Bureau, have until 29 May 2019 to put forward proposed questions that will be taken into account in the formulation of such RFIs. At that time, Commission staff will also take into account the RFIs already proposed by the Competition Bureau, as there may be a need to supplement the record with some of the more detailed and granular information that the Competition Bureau is seeking in its questions.

Yours sincerely,

Philippe Kent
Director, Competition and Emergency Services Policy
Telecommunications Sector

c.c.: Laura Sonley, Competition Bureau, laura.sonley@canada.ca
Jeremy Lendvay, CRTC, 819-997-4946, jeremy.lendvay@crtc.gc.ca
Adam Mills, CRTC, 819-995-4574, adam.mills@crtc.gc.ca 
Sylvie Labbé, CRTC, 819-953-4945, sylvie.labbe@crtc.gc.ca

Distribution

Bell Mobility Inc. (Bell), bell.regulatory@bell.ca;
Benjamin Klass, benjiklass@hotmail.com;
Bragg Communications Incorporated (Eastlink), regulatory.matters@corp.eastlink.ca;
Brooke Telecom Co-operative Ltd., geoff@brooketel.ca;
Execulink Telecom Inc., ian.stevens@execulink.com; martha.facey@execulink.com;
Hay Communications Co-operative Limited, a.lawrence@hay.net;
Huron Telecommunications Co-Operative Limited, grubb@hurontel.on.ca;
Mornington Communications Co-operative Limited, knaylor@mornington.ca;
Quadro Communications Co-operative Inc. regulatory@quadro.net;
Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers), rwi_gr@rci.rogers.com;
Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), document.control@sasktel.com;
Shaw Telecom Inc (Shaw), regulatory@sjrb.ca;
Sogetel Mobilité inc., richard.biron@sogetel.com;
SSi Micro Ltd., regulatory@ssimicro.com
TBayTel, stephen.scofich@tbaytel.com; David.Wilkie@tbaytel.com; rob.olenick@tbaytel.com;
TELUS Communications Inc. (TELUS), regulatory.affairs@telus.com;
Videotron Ltd. (Videotron), regaffairs@quebecor.com;
Ice Wireless Inc., regulatory@icewireless.ca;
Xplornet Communications Inc., xplornet.legal@corp.xplornet.com;
Wightman Telecom Ltd., regulatory@wightman.ca
TNW Wireless Inc., regulatory@tnwcorp.com

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