Ottawa intends to keep his promise of reducing the cost of wireless services

Ottawa compte honorer sa promesse de réduction du coût des services sans fil

January 14, 2020 8h59

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Ottawa intends to keep his promise of reducing the cost of wireless services

Terry Pedwell

The Canadian Press

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OTTAWA – The federal government has clearly indicated that the reduction of the costs of wireless services that must be completed by providers of mobile services must be added to all of the price reductions already observed since 2016.

The minister of Industry, Navdeep Bains, said that the reduction in cost of wireless service to 25 percent that he has a mandate to achieve over the next two years will be measured almost from the moment he received his letter of the term in December.

The liberals of Justin Trudeau had promised during the federal election campaign in the fall to reduce rates of mobile devices by 25 percent, on average, a commitment that the opposition parties had supported at the time.

But no details were provided on when and how it was the government’s intention to require a lower costs.

In his mandate letter published weeks after the re-election of the liberal Navdeep Bains has been asked to use “all available instruments” to reduce by 25 percent the average cost of the invoices for cell phone in Canada in two years.

According to a report in 2019 on the Board of the canadian broadcasting and telecommunications, the costs on the canadian market for mobile wireless services had already declined by 28 percent on average from 2016 to 2018.

“We are committed to reduce the cost and we will honour that,” said Navdeep Bains.

The rates for cellular phones and wireless services have long been the subject of complaints from consumers who see lower prices advertised in other countries, in particular in the United States.

The main canadian providers, Bell, Rogers and Telus, have warned that any measure taken to force down the prices of their packages wireless could result in a reduction of the investment in the infrastructure necessary to ensure that a mobile service is faster and more reliable.

The government has two major tools it can use to encourage competition in the wireless market, and thus reduce prices, said the minister, Baths: sale of licenses of spectrum for wireless services, and require that the largest telecommunications companies rent space on their networks to small operators who do not have their own network (mobile virtual network operators, also known under the acronym MVNO).

The federal government has sold more than 100 spectrum licences for wireless services last spring, raising almost $ 3.5 billion in the process. The lion’s share was bought by Rogers Communications.

The spectrum is the signal invisible to be transported by electromagnetic waves, which enables wireless service providers to transmit data to mobile phones and other connected devices – the same spectrum, at different frequencies, is used to carry signals for radio and television.

The government plans to auction licenses for wireless spectrum in the 3500 MHz range for networks of the fifth generation, or 5G, at the beginning of this year.

Wireless technology mobile 5G is up to 100 times faster than the system 4G is currently widely used in Canada.

A committee of experts appointed by the government reviewed the laws on broadcasting and telecommunications, and the rules relating to MVNOS. Navdeep Bains said he hoped that the committee’s report – expected in a few weeks – would provide Ottawa guidelines on how MVNOS could be used to foster greater competition in the wireless services market.

This is not only the small operators that are hoping to build on the existing wireless networks.

In a presentation to the committee last summer, Google has called for changes to rules that would facilitate the implementation of the telecommunications services in Canada, primarily for the data.

The CRTC will also hold public hearings on mobile wireless services.

These hearings should start next month in Gatineau, Quebec.

The CRTC is studying the possibility of requiring the three major providers of telecommunications services in the country to rent space on their networks to mobile virtual network operators, until these small operators can buy licenses of spectrum for wireless services and build their own infrastructure.

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