Telecom - Commission letter addressed to the Distribution List

Ottawa, 12 December 2019

Our reference: 1011-NOC2019-0057


BY EMAIL


Distribution List


RE: Review of mobile wireless services, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-57 – Disclosure of information designated as confidential to the Commissioner of Competition

Dear Madams, Sirs:

On 5 July 2019, the Commission issued a number of requests for information to parties covering a wide range of issues in the wireless review proceeding. These responses were filed with the Commission on 12 September 2019, and some of the information was filed in confidence.

In a letter dated 20 September 2019, the Commissioner of Competition (the Commissioner), among other things, identified a number of request for information (RFI) responsesFootnote1 for which he requested disclosure of information designated as confidential pursuant to section 39(4)(b) of the Telecommunications Act (the Act).Footnote2This is the second disclosure request the Commissioner has made in this proceeding – the first one was largely disposed of in Mobile wireless review – Disclosure of information designated as confidential to the Commissioner of Competition, Telecom Decision 2019-277.

With respect to this current request, the Commissioner provided justification for why each of the RFI responses was relevant to competition issues and how he could potentially use the confidential information in the context of the current proceeding. Parties provided initial justifications for their confidentiality claims, as required by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure. However, aside from these initial claims, no party filed specific objections in response to the Commissioner’s disclosure request. 

Under section 39(4)(b) of the Act, the Commission may exercise its discretion and require disclosure of confidential information to the Commissioner if, in its view, the information is relevant to competition issues. In conducting this assessment, the Commission must first determine whether the information sought is relevant to competition issues being considered in the proceeding. If it is determined that the requested information satisfies this requirement, the Commission then weighs the potential benefits resulting from disclosure against any associated risks.

In this case, the information being sought is wide ranging and generally pertains to the following: potential Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) models, the competitive impacts of network sharing agreements, market definition, pricing practices, customer retention tactics, network capacity, roaming and other wholesale services, and support structures. In the Commission’s view, these matters are highly relevant to the competition issues being considered in this proceeding as they relate to key issues of competition policy, including retail and wholesale activities and barriers to entry. This information is important to understanding and defining relevant markets, assessing the presence of market power, and ultimately determining whether regulatory measures would improve competition.

The Commission is of the view that disclosure of the confidential information to the Commissioner could ultimately be of benefit to the record. While the Commissioner has already filed his further comments and economic analysis, the information could still assist the Commissioner in preparing his evidence for the remainder of the proceeding, including his appearance before the hearing panel and his final reply, leading to a more fulsome record upon which the Commission can make its determinations.

The Commission notes that some of the information subject to the Commissioner’s disclosure request touches on the terms and conditions set out in network sharing agreements. In particular, certain RFIs sought information relating to whether network sharing agreements contain any provisions that would restrict MVNO access. Certain carriers included specific provisions of their network sharing agreements in their responses, which were filed in confidence.

While no party filed comments specifically objecting to this disclosure request, the Commission is mindful that, in disposing of the Commissioner’s first disclosure request, it had not required disclosure of network sharing agreements. That determination resulted from an appreciation that these agreements contained highly sensitive commercial and network information and an assessment that, given their highly technical nature, disclosure of these agreements would not likely contribute to a better understanding of the competitiveness of the mobile wireless marketplace. 

However, in this case, there would be benefit to requiring disclosure of specific information relating to whether the agreements contain terms or conditions that restrict MVNO access and thus limit or prevent competition. The Commission considers that disclosing this information to the Commissioner would assist him in better assessing competitive issues central to this proceeding and produce more informed submissions for the Commission to consider.

The Commission sees little risk of potential harm in ordering the contemplated disclosure, given the Commissioner’s position as a federally appointed expert, supported by a specialized agency, without a financial stake in the outcome of the proceeding and with extensive experience in handling sensitive information.

In light of the above, the Commission grants the Commissioner’s disclosure request. Therefore, impacted parties (as set out in Appendix 1) are to file the information in question to the Commissioner by 20 January 2019.

Yours sincerely,


Original signed by


Claude Doucet
Secretary General

Distribution list: parties to Telecom proceeding 2019-57

Attachment (1)

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION DESIGNATED AS CONFIDENTIAL

The following responses contained information that was filed in confidence and are to be disclosed to the Commissioner:

Bell Mobility

(CRTC)5July2019-111
(CRTC)5July2019-116
(CRTC)5July2019-117
(CRTC)5July2019-204
(CRTC)5July2019-210
(CRTC)5July2019-215
(CRTC)5July2019-216
(CRTC)5July2019-217
(CRTC)5July2019-218
(CRTC)5July2019-220
(CRTC)5July2019-231
(CRTC)5July2019-301
(CRTC)5July2019-304
(CRTC)5July2019-402
(CRTC)5July2019-403

Rogers

(CRTC)5July2019-204
(CRTC)5July2019-210
(CRTC)5July2019-214
(CRTC)5July2019-215
(CRTC)5July2019-216
(CRTC)5July2019-217
(CRTC)5July2019-218
(CRTC)5July2019-219
(CRTC)5July2019-301
(CRTC)5July2019-304
(CRTC)5July2019-401

SaskTel

(CRTC)5July2019-204
(CRTC)5July2019-218
(CRTC)5July2019-219
(CRTC)5July2019-301
(CRTC)5July2019-401
(CRTC)5July2019-404

Shaw

(CRTC)5July2019-206
(CRTC)5July2019-214
(CRTC)5July2019-215
(CRTC)5July2019-216
(CRTC)5July2019-220

TBayTel

(CRTC)5July2019-210
(CRTC)5July2019-301

TELUS

(CRTC)5July2019-204
(CRTC)5July2019-206
(CRTC)5July2019-210
(CRTC)5July2019-215
(CRTC)5July2019-231

Videotron

(CRTC)5July2019-206
(CRTC)5July2019-210
(CRTC)5July2019-218
(CRTC)5July2019-219
(CRTC)5July2019-220
(CRTC)5July2019-231
(CRTC)5July2019-401
(CRTC)5July2019-404

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