Distributel Disappointed that CRTC Ruling Fails to Open Wholesale Wireless Access to Independent Service Providers

Canadian wireless prices to remain among the highest in the world as consumers denied choice, competition and affordability

TORONTO – April 16, 2021: Distributel Communications Limited is disappointed by yesterday’s announcement by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), in which it ruled that Canada’s national telecom companies do not have to provide the country’s independent carriers with wholesale access to their wireless networks. The ruling regulates the provision of wholesale access only for regional carriers who already own wireless spectrum and facilities – which restricts mandated access exclusively to other large, incumbent companies.

“We have long heard from Canadians that they want more choice and lower prices in their wireless services,” says Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel. “We also believe it’s unfair to continue asking Canadians to pay more for wireless services than nearly every other country across the globe. We had expected yesterday’s announcement would be the beginning of real change in our wireless industry.”

A Missed Opportunity to Usher in Real Change

“This was a chance to open wireless wholesale access to independent providers, who are poised and ready to deliver innovative products and competitive pricing, to the benefit of all Canadians,” says Stein. “It was a real opportunity to see some meaningful action. But instead, this was a non-decision that protects the status quo for the big incumbent players, which unfortunately means Canadians will continue to pay the high wireless prices they’ve always paid.”

2021 data from Rewheel/research confirms that Canada’s wireless prices are among the highest in the world. Distributel had been hopeful that the CRTC would mandate a full mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model, under which independent providers would purchase wholesale wireless service from the large companies at a regulated rate. This would then allow them to design their own pricing structures and implement innovative product offerings around them. This expanded competition in the industry would have brought new products and services, at lower, more competitive rates, to all Canadians.

“Regulation is meant to ensure a robust market where customers have an abundance of options with many providers competing for their business,” says Stein. “This ruling, which we waited two years for, does nothing to make that happen.”

Despite today’s setback, Distributel remains committed to fighting for fairness, choice and competition in the industry. “We have a long history of putting Canadians first,” says Stein, “and we’ll continue to do that. We will continue to champion a competitive marketplace and the consumer benefits that come with it. Independent carriers are the key to competition, innovation and affordability in this industry, and we’ll keep fighting for regulation that brings those benefits to all Canadians.”

About Distributel

Established in 1988, Distributel is a national, award-winning, independent communications provider offering a wide range of consumer, business and wholesale communications services. In 2020, the company proudly achieved certification as a Great Place to Work®, earning recognition for its progressive, collaborative workplace. 100% Canadian-owned, with offices across the country and a national network, Distributel is focused on providing choice and value to Canadians. With the recent acquisition of Primus Telecommunications, the company is even better positioned to offer solutions to consumers and businesses of all sizes. Distributel offers high speed internet, TV, mobile and home phone products through its consumer brands. It delivers business solutions through the Primus and ThinkTel brands as a provider of advanced voice and data offerings for the SMB and Enterprise markets throughout Canada. The company also forges new partnerships and brings innovative services to the wholesale market. For more information, visit www.distributel.ca.

For further information:
Andrea Lekushoff
Broad Reach Communications
T: 416-435-2569
E: alekushoff@brpr.ca