Telecom Commission Letter addressed to the Distribution list

Ottawa, 15 November 2019

Our reference:  1011-NOC2019-0057

BY EMAIL

Distribution list

RE:Review of mobile wireless services, Telecom Notice of Consultation 2019-57 – Requests for information

This letter addresses (i) outstanding deficiencies and clarifications with respect to the requests for information (RFIs) issued by the Commission on 24 May 2019, and (ii) additional RFIs.

  1. Outstanding deficiencies and clarifications with respect to the 24 May 2019RFIs

In a letter dated 24 May 2019, the Commission issued RFIs as part of the proceeding initiated by Telecom Notice of Consultation 2019-57 Footnote1 whereby it asked parties to provide data on a number of topics relevant to the issues under consideration. In a letter dated 16 August 2019, Commission staff indicated that it was of the view that some of the responses were deficient and requested parties to file further responses on the record of this proceeding.

In a letter dated 20 September 2019 the Commissioner of Competition (the Commissioner), among other things, indicated its view that a number of deficiencies remained in the responses provided by certain wireless service providers (WSPs) to the Commission’s 24 May 2019 RFIs. Notably, the Commissioner argued that there was a lack of explanation surrounding the assumptions WSPs used in responding to those RFIs, and that some responses were partial or incomplete.

The Commission received replies from certain wireless carriers addressing the Commissioner’s identified deficiencies. Bell Mobility Inc. submitted that responding to the Commissioner’s requests would impose an unreasonable burden on the company and other parties and would serve no purpose as the Commissioner would be unable to integrate those responses into its submissions in time to meet existing deadlines. Saskatchewan Telecommunications submitted that certain of the Commissioner’s requests, or portions of requests, represented new RFIs, but provided responses to those requests which, in its view, represented simple requests for clarification as part of its letter. TELUS Communications Inc. submitted that the responses it provided were full and adequate, subject to its system limitations.

Having reviewed the responses to the Commission’s 24 May 2019 RFIs, the further responses provided with respect to these RFIs, as well as the Commissioner’s 20 September 2019 comments and responses to those comments, Commission staff is of the view that there are still outstanding deficiencies in the responses provided to the 24 May 2019 RFIs.

Commission staff notes that, in some instances, the level of detail provided by parties varies greatly, which limits the ability to compare the data set across wireless carriers, and further considers that certain responses remain incomplete. In this regard, Commission staff considers that several RFI responses provided by various parties are deficient in that they do not contain clear descriptions or definitions of the nature of the data provided, fail to adequately describe the manner in which certain variables were categorized and/or failed to describe the methodology used in support of the response provided. Commission staff considers that remedying these deficiencies would be beneficial as it would help to gain a better understanding of the mobile wireless market and allow for a better assessment of the matters at issue in this proceeding. These outstanding deficiencies and requested clarifications are provided in Attachment 1 of this letter.

  1. Additional RFIs

Commission staff also considers that additional information would help with the assessment of the matters at issue in this proceeding. These additional RFIs are provided in Attachment 2 of this letter.

Parties are to file with the Commission all information set out in Attachments 1 and 2 by 6 December 2019. If a party is unable to provide the requested information for any questions identified in the attachments, the company is to provide a detailed justification as to why.

As set out in section 39 of the Telecommunications Act and in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961, Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, persons may designate certain information as confidential. A person designating information as confidential must provide a detailed explanation on why the relevant information qualifies for designation as confidential and why its disclosure would not be in the public interest, including why the specific direct harm that would be likely to result from the disclosure would outweigh the public interest in disclosure. Furthermore, a person designating information as confidential must either file an abridged version of the document omitting only the information designated as confidential or provide reasons why an abridged version cannot be filed.

Parties are reminded that, if a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by that date. Parties are also reminded that, pursuant to Telecom Decision 2019-277, Footnote2 they are also to disclose to the Commissioner of Competition all responses filed in confidence in relation to the Commission’s 24 May 2019 RFIs with the exception of copies of network sharing agreements. In addition, parties are to submit both the abridged and confidential versions of their responses that have been generated in worksheets in an Excel version of the document.  

With respect to the quality of the information submitted, all parties are expected to provide accurate information on the record of this proceeding. As such, if any party becomes aware of any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the information it provided in the course of this proceeding, the party is expected to file a revised version of the information in a timely manner.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Philippe Kent
Director, Policy
Telecommunications Sector

c.c.:  Jeremy Lendvay, CRTC, 819-997-4946, jeremy.lendvay@crtc.gc.ca
Marianne Blais, CRTC, 819-997-4836, marianne.blais@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

Attach. (3)

Distribution List:  All parties to 2019-57.

ATTACHMENT 1

Outstanding deficiencies and clarifications with respect to the 24 May 2019RFIs

(CRTC)5April2019-103 Footnote3

Bell Mobility, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, TELUS, and Videotron

  1. Describe the subscriber segments that are represented in your responses to (CRTC)5April2019-103 (for example, all subscribers, including individual and business subscribers, only individual subscribers, only individual and small business subscribers - taking care to define your understanding of the term “small business”, etc.).  The identification of subscriber segments is to be done separately for each brand that your company operates and for each of the sub-questions contained in the RFI. Also indicate whether the same subscriber segments were used in developing your responses to other questions in the 24 May 2019 RFIs (for example, (CRTC)5April2019-104, 105, 208, 209, 210 and 212). If not, explain the differences in subscriber segments involved for each relevant question.
  2. Indicate what sources of revenues are represented in your responses to (CRTC)5April2019-103 (e.g. whether the reported revenues only included service revenues or if other revenues, such as sales of handsets and other equipment/accessory related revenues were included) for each brand your company operates. Also indicate whether the same sources of revenues were used in developing your responses to other questions in the 24 May 2019 RFIs (for example, (CRTC)5April2019-208 and 209). If not, explain the differences in types of revenues involved for each relevant question.
  3. Explain whether ARPU for a given month/year in a CMA/province can be calculated by dividing the revenue reported in your responses to (CRTC)5April2019-103 by the associated subscriber count.

Bell Mobility

  1. Refer to your responses to (CRTC)5April2019-103 for Lucky Mobile. Confirm whether all the reported data for this brand pertains to 3G plans.

Rogers

  1. Refer to your responses to (CRTC)5April2019-103 for chatr. Confirm whether all the reported data for this brand pertains to 3G plans.

TELUS

  1. Refer to your responses to (CRTC)5April2019-103 for Public Mobile. Confirm whether all the reported data for this brand pertains to 3G plans. Footnote4
  2. Refer to TELUS(CRTC)24May19-103_REVISED_Att_1 in which TELUS provided revised numbers with respect to its retail mobile wireless services subscribers.
    1. Some data were categorized as “Other” or “NULL”. Explain precisely what these categories refer to.
    2. TELUS did not provide a breakdown of its TELUS Mobility prepaid mobile wireless service subscribers by province/territory. Provide a breakdown of this information for each province/territory for each of the years 2014 to 2018, including a detailed description of the methodology and assumptions used.
    3. With respect to Koodo prepaid and Public Mobile, provide subscriber counts for each of the months from January to October 2016 and on an annual basis for 2014 and 2015 for each province/territory as well as for each CMA and for the Census Agglomeration code 586.
  3. Refer to TELUS(CRTC)24May19-103_REVISED_Att_2 in which TELUS provided revised numbers with respect to its retail mobile wireless services subscribers that subscribe to a plan that includes data.
    1. Some data were categorized as “Other” or “NULL”. Explain precisely what these categories refer to.
    2. With respect to Koodo prepaid and Public Mobile, provide subscriber counts on an annual basis for 2014 and 2015. Also provide subscriber counts on a monthly basis from January to October 2016 for Koodo prepaid and from January 2016 to January 2017 for Public Mobile. Provide the requested information for each province/territory as well as for each CMA and for the Census Agglomeration code 586.
  4. Refer to TELUS(CRTC)24May19-103_Attachment_4 where the company provides information about its retail mobile wireless revenues. TELUS provided a breakdown of its “retail network” revenues by province, and its “equipment” revenues on a national basis. TELUS then added the total “retail network” revenues to its “equipment” revenues to provide its “retail revenues”, but only on a national basis.
    Provide, for each brand your company operates, a provincial breakdown of your retail mobile wireless revenues for each of the years 2014 to 2018. Provide the information separately for the provinces included in the “Maritimes”. Include separate totals for prepaid and postpaid services. Provide a detailed description of the methodology and all assumptions used.

(CRTC)5April2019-205

Rogers

  1. Refer to Rogers’ revised response to (CRTC) 5April2019-205 where the company provided information regarding its capital expenditures. Provide the reported information separately for each of the provinces included in “Atlantic” and “Mid West”.  Provide a detailed description of the methodology and all assumptions used.

(CRTC)5April2019-208

Bell Mobility

  1. In its response to (CRTC)5April2019-208, Bell Mobility provided ABPU figures instead of ARPU.
    1. Explain the difference between these two metrics.
    2. Provide retail mobile wireless ARPU figures for each of the years 2014 to 2018 as follows: (i) average (i.e. blended) ARPU covering all brands your company operates, and (ii) separate figures for each brand your company operates. Provide separate totals for prepaid and postpaid services for (i) and (ii) above. Provide a detailed description of the methodology used for calculating ARPU as well as of all assumptions relied upon.

TELUS

  1. In its response to (CRTC)5April2019-208, TELUS provided ABPU figures instead of ARPU in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
    1. Explain the difference between these two metrics.
    2. Provide ARPU figures for each of the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 as follows: (i) average (i.e. blended) ARPU covering all brands your company operates, and (ii) separate figures for each brand your company operates. Provide separate totals for prepaid and postpaid services for (i) and (ii) above. Provide a detailed description of the methodology used for calculating ARPU as well as of all assumptions relied upon.

(CRTC)5April2019-209

Rogers

  1. Refer to Rogers’ revised response to (CRTC)5April2019-209 where the company provided information regarding its EBITDA margins. Provide, for each of the years 2014 to 2018, and for each month from January 2016 through May 2019 your total company-wide EBITDA margin for your retail mobile wireless services (i.e covering all brands your company operates).

(CRTC)5April2019-210

TELUS

  1. In its response to (CRTC)5April2019-210, TELUS indicated that the company was unable to determine the number of subscribers that wanted to unsubscribe to its mobile wireless services. Other wireless carriers provided estimates Footnote5 of the number of these subscribers as well as those that were successfully retained based on different methodologies and assumptions. For example:

Using a methodology that could be similar to one used by other wireless carriers, provide, for each of the years 2014 to 2018 and for each province/territory and for each brand your company operates, an estimate of (i) the number of your retail mobile wireless service subscribers that wanted to unsubscribe to your mobile wireless services; and (ii) the number of subscribers that your company successfully retained. Provide a description of the methodology used and all assumptions relied upon.

  1. Provide, for each of the years 2014 to 2018 and for each province/territory and for each brand your company operates, the number of subscribers your company lost. Footnote6 If TELUS is not able to determine these numbers, the company is to provide its best estimates.  The company’s response is to include a detailed description of the methodology used and all assumptions relied upon.

(CRTC)5April2019-211

Sasktel

  1. Refer to your response to (CRTC)5April2019-211 where you indicated that the company’s pay per use charge per GB of overage ranges from 3¢/MB ($30.72/GB) to 6¢/MB ($61.44/GB). Confirm whether this range reflects the rate(s) charged for overage by the company for its retail mobile wireless services for each of the years 2014 to 2018. If not, provide the overage rate(s) that applied for each of these years.

(CRTC)5April2019-213

Rogers

  1. Some data were categorized as “Dealer sales”. Explain precisely what this category refers to.

ATTACHMENT 2

Additional requests for information

Question for Bell Mobility, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, TELUS, Videotron, SSi Micro, TBayTel, Xplornet, BCBA, CNOC, Cogeco, Data On Tap, Ecotel, Distributel, ITPA, Ice Wireless, TekSavvy, TNW Wireless, Tucows, the CCWS, the FRPC, the Manitoba Coalition, and CIPPIC and Openmedia.

  1. In RFI responses, the ITPA and Rogers proposed that if MVNO access is mandated, MVNO service providers should be required to meet certain eligibility criteria, Footnote7 including the requirement for MVNOs to be Canadian owned and operated. Irrespective of your views on the desirability of mandating MVNO access, respond to the following:
    1. Comment on the feasibility of requiring MVNOs to meet the criteria proposed by the ITPA and Rogers.
    2. Should MVNO access be mandated by the Commission, provide your views as to whether MVNOs should be required to be Canadian owned and operated.  How should the Commission define “Canadian owned and operated”?
    3. Identify any other criteria that MVNOs  should be required to meet in order to be eligible for mandated access and explain why these criteria would be necessary.
    4. Provide your views as to whether there are any statutory or other legal impediments to establishing such eligibility criteria.

Questions for Bell Mobility, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, TBayTel, TELUS, Videotron, and Xplornet

  1. Provide the list of prices for all of your LTE retail mobile wireless Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) plans (both advertised and unadvertised) for each of your brands for the years  2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and in 2019 (up to this date). Your answer must follow the Excel spreadsheet format provided in Attachment 3.
  2. Across all brands your company operates, provide the percentage of your retail mobile wireless services subscribers that subscribed to a plan that included a device subsidy in 2018.
  3. For each of the years 2014 to 2018, and for each province/territory separately, provide
    1. the number of your retail mobile wireless services subscribers that subscribe to 3G plans;
    2. the number of your retail mobile wireless services subscribers that subscribe to LTE plans;
    3. your retail mobile wireless revenues from retail mobile wireless subscribers that subscribe to 3G plans; and
    4. your retail mobile wireless revenues from retail mobile wireless subscribers that subscribe to LTE plans.
      Include separate totals for each brands you company operates for a), b), c), and d) above. Include a detailed description of the methodology used and all assumptions relied upon.

Question for Rogers

  1. Provide a copy of all internal records Footnote8 which were provided to or that otherwise served to inform your senior executives regarding the decision to introduce unlimited data wireless plans on June 13, 2019.
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