Telecom - Commission Letter addressed to the Distribution List
Ottawa, 25 May 2022
Our reference: 8660-B38-202103357
To: Distribution List
RE: Bell Mobility Inc. – Application for various orders regarding Videotron Ltd.’s use of Bell Mobility’s wholesale roaming service (Abridged version)
For the reasons set out below, the Commission denies Bell Mobility’s application; the Commission encourages the parties to engage in good-faith negotiations to resolve the dispute, and to avail themselves of staff-assisted mediation if needed. The Commission also reiterates its expectation that the parties regularly exchange information, discuss matters thoroughly and exhaust all appropriate methods available to them in order to resolve disputes, before submitting applications to the Commission. This approach would be a considerably more efficient use of both the parties’ and the Commission’s resources.
The Commission is in receipt of an application Footnote1 filed on 25 May 2021 by Bell Mobility Inc. (Bell Mobility) against Videotron Ltd. (Videotron), claiming that Videotron has: (i) violated Bell Mobility’s Access Services Tariff (the Tariff) Footnote2 and Telecom Decision (TD) CRTC 2020-48 Footnote3 by employing a roaming usage threshold that enables some of Videotron’s end-users to permanently roam on Bell Mobility’s network; and, (ii) failed to consistently apply the measures in its current Videotron test (CVT) regarding its end users’ roaming.
Bell Mobility requested that the Commission: (i) find Videotron to be contravening the Tariff and TD 2020-48; (ii) issue orders requiring that Videotron apply Bell Mobility’s new permanent roaming test (NPRT) to its customers roaming on Bell Mobility’s network; (iii) cease “exempting itself” from the Tariff; (iv) provide enhanced monthly roaming reports to Bell Mobility and the Commission; and (iv) impose an administrative monetary penalty on Videotron.
Bell Mobility noted that although the Commission directed Bell Mobility and Videotron to negotiate a new threshold and that they could use Commission staff-assisted dispute resolution mechanisms in TD 2020-48, staff-assisted mediation is inappropriate, because Videotron’s behaviour demonstrates that it is seeking a new policy or changes to the existing Commission ban against permanent roaming.
Videotron denied that it has improperly applied its CVT or contravened TD 2020-48. It argued that it identified and addressed instances of non-compliance with the CVT, which resulted from technical issues and human error. In its view, the CVT is effective in ensuring that Bell Mobility’s Tariff is respected. # #
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and TELUS Communications Inc. filed interventions.
Bell Mobility reiterated that Videotron disregarded directions in TD 2020-48 and failed to apply its CVT or suspend end-users who were permanently roaming. In its view, Videotron’s non-compliance is a reflection of systemic issues that its application is the most appropriate process for addressing. Further, Videotron # #.
In TD 2017-56, Footnote4 the Commission determined that parties such as Bell Mobility and Videotron should come to an agreement on how to measure permanent roaming under the relevant wholesale tariff, rather than the Commission adopting a method and imposing it on parties.
In TD 2020-48, the Commission did not alter this approach and reiterated that it would be inefficient and inappropriate to establish a specific threshold in the tariffs. It determined that Videotron could keep using its CVT until Bell Mobility and Videotron mutually agreed upon an alternative and stated that they may use the Commission’s staff-assisted dispute resolution mechanisms if they cannot come to agreement. The Commission expected that Bell Mobility and Videotron exchange information regularly and discuss issues affecting the provision of the relevant services before issuing notices of suspension or submitting applications.
Bell Mobility’s application indicates a continuing commercial dispute on matters that the Commission has previously indicated that the parties should be primarily responsible for resolving. What is at issue is how these parties choose to operationalize their commercial relationship within the existing policy framework and applicable Tariff provisions.
As with any application regarding such disputes, the Commission can consider whether the applicant has done all it can to resolve its dispute prior to filing its application. # #. Neither party requested Commission staff-assisted mediation. The Commission remains of the view that the issues in dispute are more appropriate for a negotiated resolution between the parties within the Commission’s existing policy framework rather than necessitating a new Commission policy or varying an existing Commission policy.
Accordingly, the Commission denies Bell Mobility’s application and concludes that, at this time, this is not the appropriate mechanism to resolve this dispute, in view of the Commission’s previous decisions regarding imposing thresholds for permanent roaming. The Commission’s determination is consistent with the approach taken by the Commission in TD 2020-48, which was to address a related and similar dispute without altering the policy determinations set out in TD 2017-56. The Commission encourages the parties to undertake good-faith negotiations to resolve the dispute on their own and to avail themselves of staff-assisted mediation if needed.
In closing, the Commission reiterates its expectation that the parties regularly exchange information and discuss matters thoroughly before submitting applications to the Commission. Doing so would result in a much more efficient use of the parties’ and the Commission’s resources.
The Commission is required, in exercising its powers and performing its duties under the Act, to implement the policy objectives set out in section 7 of the Act, in accordance with the 2019 Policy Direction and 2006 Policy Direction. Among other things, the Commission considers that the policy objectives set out in paragraphs 7(f) and (i) Footnote5 of the Act are advanced by its determination to deny the application and encourage the parties to resume negotiations.
Original signed by
Fiona Gilfillan, CRTC email@example.com
Michel Murray, CRTC firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal Hulley-Craig, CRTC email@example.com
Robert Malcolmson, Bell Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Béland, Québecor Média Inc. email@example.com
Stephen Schmidt, TELUS Communications Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
John Lawford, PIAC, email@example.com
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