Canada's regulatory agency is requiring Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus to provide wholesale access to their networks under terms and conditions approved by the agency.

April 16, 2021

3 Min Read

GATINEAU, Quebec – the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that certain telecommunications providers will be able to access the wireless networks of Canada's dominant providers to offer Canadians more choice and affordable options.

As a result, regional providers that invest in network infrastructure and spectrum will be able to offer competitive services to millions of Canadians as mobile virtual network operators in areas where competition is limited. These companies have already been contributing to greater competition and helping to lower prices.

Furthermore, these regional providers will have the flexibility to resell their wholesale access to mobile virtual network operators, which will enable further competition in the marketplace.

In an effort to benefit consumers, the CRTC is also requiring that the national wireless carriers implement seamless roaming to help prevent dropped calls and data sessions when customers move from one network to another, especially during travel.

Lastly, the CRTC is taking action to ensure that Canadians–including seniors, low-income earners and those who use their mobile phone sparingly–can benefit from more affordable mobile plans that meet their needs. By July 14, 2021, Bell, Rogers, Telus and SaskTel will be expected to offer low-cost and occasional-use plans in most markets, as well as promote them on their websites, in person and over the phone.


"While there are encouraging signs that prices are trending downwards, we need to accelerate competition and more affordable options for Canadians. Equally important is ensuring that wireless providers continue to invest in their current networks and build out their 5G networks. The competitive model we are introducing today will result in greater choice and cheaper mobile wireless services for Canadians, who rely on their smartphones now more than ever."

- Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC

"In particular, we heard from Canadians about the importance of having more affordable wireless solutions, especially for those who don't require a lot of data. We expect the introduction of occasional-use and low-cost options by national service providers, as well as SaskTel, to provide Canadians with more choices that suit their wireless needs and budgets."

- Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC

Quick facts

  • A mobile virtual network operator is a company that uses the networks of another Canadian wireless service provider to offer competitive services to Canadians.

  • The following dominant mobile wireless providers will be required to grant wholesale access to their networks under terms and conditions approved by the CRTC:

    • The three national wireless carriers–Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus–in all areas across Canada, except in Saskatchewan and the territories

    • SaskTel in Saskatchewan, and

    • Bell Mobility in the three territories.

  • Wholesale rates will be negotiated between providers, while the terms and conditions will be established by the CRTC. This arrangement will be mandated for a period of seven years from the date it is finalized, which will give regional carriers time and incentive to expand their wireless networks.

  • The national carriers, as well as SaskTel, must report back to the CRTC every six months, on their low-cost and occasional-use plan offerings. The Commission will make these reports available on its website to ensure transparency and accountability to Canadians.

  • The CRTC is monitoring developments related to the proposed transaction between Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications.

  • Prices for mobile wireless services have been coming down in recent years. For instance, the average monthly cost of a mobile wireless package dropped by 13.8% between 2018 and 2019, according to the CRTC's Communications Monitoring Report.

  • Canadians are encouraged to contact their wireless provider, shop around to see what plans are available to them and consult the Wireless Code to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

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