Canada’s telecom regulator sets new rules for virtual wireless networks to boost competition

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The CRTC has printed new rules governing mobile networks often called Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNOs — rules the telecom regulator says it hopes will present higher competition within the wireless market.

True MVNOs are mobile networks that don’t have any infrastructure or spectrum of their very own, however merely resell wholesale entry to incumbent networks to shoppers, usually for less expensive.

Mint Mobile, owned by Canadian actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds, is an instance of a U.S. MVNO, which sells limitless knowledge, discuss and texting plans throughout the U.S. for $30 a month. The firm has no cellphone towers or spectrum rights of its personal, however merely buys “house” on different corporations’ mobile networks and resells entry to it to shoppers. 

Last yr, Canada’s telecom regulator established a coverage to set floor rules for MVNOs wishing to function in Canada. Under these new rules, an organization like Mint nonetheless cannot function in Canada as a result of the CRTC requires any MVNO to have its personal community someplace in Canada, so as to piggyback on present networks in the remainder of the nation.

On Wednesday, the regulator launched extra floor rules for any quasi-MVNOs wishing to arrange store. The telecom regulator did not change any of the essential framework it established in 2021, however did present some extra element on what it desires to see occur now.

The main incumbents “should now start accepting requests for entry to their networks and enter negotiations with regional wireless suppliers to agree on wholesale MVNO charges,” the CRTC says.

The regulator says these negotiations will assist be certain that certified MVNOs have entry to 5G networks the place relevant, and that calls on their networks usually are not dropped as clients journey between protection zones.

The regulator additionally says it has denied a number of provisions that might have made MVNOs extra restrictive or tough to use by regional gamers, and says it is going to block any transfer that might limit regional suppliers from reselling their wholesale entry to different MVNOs.

“We are one step nearer to implementing our coverage that may allow regional suppliers to supply wireless companies in areas the place competition is proscribed,” CRTC chair Ian Scott mentioned in a press launch. “This will assist present extra inexpensive choices to thousands and thousands of Canadians whereas growing competition. We count on the big suppliers to negotiate in good religion and are available to an settlement as shortly as attainable with regional wireless suppliers.”

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