Telecom Commission Letter addressed to the Distribution list

Ottawa, 10 January 2020

Our reference: 1011-NOC2019-0057


To: Distribution list

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

Dear Madams, Sirs:

On 22 November 2019, the Commissioner of Competition (the Commissioner) filed his further comments and an accompanying economic report, prepared by Dr. Tasneem Chipty of Matrix Economics (The Report), both with abridged versions for the public record containing redacted information and confidential versions for the Commission only.  The redactions include information that originated from confidential responses to requests for information (RFIs) that were disclosed to the Commissioner by wireless carriers pursuant to a previous Commission ruling.

Four parties have made requests to have certain elements of this redacted information disclosed: Bell Mobility inc. (Bell Mobility), Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc. (CNOC), Rogers Communications Canada Inc. (Rogers) and TELUS Communications Inc. (Telus). The requests made by CNOC and Telus are extensive and complex, and include proposals to disclose information selectively to certain qualifying persons and to further amend the procedural dates in this proceeding, including the date of the hearing.

The present letter deals only with the disclosure requests from Bell Mobility and Rogers.  CNOC’s and Telus’ requests, inclusive of procedural proposals made in response, are still being assessed and the Commission will issue its related determinations at a later date.
The disclosure requests made by Bell Mobility and Rogers focused on the outcomes of some of the statistical tests and models that were conducted as part of the Commissioner’s studies.
Specifically, Bell Mobility requested disclosure of:

Rogers specifically requested public disclosure of:

Bell Mobility and Rogers have argued that the information they are seeking is essential for properly testing the Commissioner’s analysis and conclusions and that release of the information would pose no risk of harm to parties who disclosed confidential information to the Commissioner since they are only seeking statistical results (e.g. results of regression analyses including R-squared values and coefficients). They indicated that this information does not contain or reveal any confidential information filed by parties.

While many parties opposed the CNOC and Telus requests, most parties did not offer any objections to the Bell Mobility and Rogers requests. Shaw did not object, in principle, to disclosure of statistical information, provided that the information would not enable any party to determine, derive or calculate in any way its confidentially submitted information.

With regard to the requests made by Bell Mobility and Rogers, the Commissioner initially indicated that if the regression information was disclosed on the public record, there would be little risk that any information previously designated by parties as confidential could be deduced as a result. Further, the Commissioner did not object to disclosing party-specific summary statistics included in the Report to Bell Mobility. However, in a subsequent letter dated 23 December 2019 the Commissioner filed a revised submission indicating that, in his view, disclosure of columns four and five of Exhibit D-3 in the Report could result in Bell Mobility and Rogers each identifying certain specific, confidential information of the other party. As of the release of the present letter, no party had commented on the Commissioner’s revised view on this specific matter.Footnote1

Bell Mobility further requested a Commission determination on part of a Commission staff letter dated 11 December 2019, specifically the following paragraph:

“Commission staff considers that it will be possible for parties to participate meaningfully in the 13 January 2020 reply phase based on the materials already filed on the public record by the Competition Bureau in its further comments. For instance, parties may comment on the methodologies employed or the appropriateness of the policy recommendations proposed by the Competition Bureau.”

Bell Mobility argued that staff was mistaken and that parties require additional information on the Commissioner’s conclusions with respect to the competitiveness of the wireless market in order to participate meaningfully, including the degree to which these conclusions are supported by evidence. Accordingly, Bell Mobility requested that, in addition to the public disclosure it has requested, the Commission create an additional RFI phase whereby parties would suggest RFIs to be posed to the Commissioner, which would then be issued by the Commission. Only after this RFI process would parties file their comments on the Report.

With respect to the disclosure requests, as was indicated in a Commission staff letter dated 23 December 2019, the Commission is of the view that, generally speaking, public disclosure of the outcomes of statistical models poses minimal risk of harm to parties who disclosed their confidential information to the Commissioner.

In the Commission’s view, by having access to this information, parties will be better positioned to evaluate the Commissioner’s analysis, which should lead to a more fulsome record. Based on the record before the Commission, the concerns over potential harm resulting from public disclosure appear to be speculative, with the exception of the risk of harm to Bell Mobility and Rogers if columns four and five of Exhibit D-3 were publicly disclosed.  Accordingly, with the exception of columns four and five of Exhibit D-3, the public interest in the release of the information being sought would outweigh any harm.

As a result, the Commission directs the Commissioner to publicly disclose the following:

The Commission also directs the Commissioner to disclose to Bell Mobility only:

Finally, in the interest of fairness, the Commission directs the Commissioner to, upon written request, disclose to any other carrier whose confidential information was used in the Report:

As previously mentioned, the Commission is still assessing the disclosure requests made by CNOC and TELUS as well as the procedural proposals related to these requests. While the creation of additional procedure may result from this assessment, the Commission does not consider that any party has established that it is necessary or appropriate to change the procedural steps that are in place at this time, including the date of the public hearing, which has already been postponed once.  If any other procedural changes are necessary, the Commission considers that they can be implemented at a later date and do not have to be completed prior to the commencement of the public hearing, which represents only one of many opportunities for parties to submit evidence in this proceeding.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Claude Doucet
Secretary General

Distribution list: parties to Telecom proceeding 2019-57

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