In Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-177, the Commission punted forward to 2016 its decision of what the tariffs should be for wholesale roaming to be charged by the 3 largest incumbent mobile carriers in Canada. However, interim tariff pages are due to be filed this Thursday June 4, 2015.

Unfortunately for new entrants, the interim tariff is “equal to the highest rate charged by each of Bell Mobility, RCP (Rogers) and TCC (TELUS)  to any other Canadian wireless carrier for each GSM-based voice, text and data wholesale roaming as of the date of this decision”, although each company is free to charge a lower rate if it chooses to do so.

According to the CRTC in 2014*, aggregate average wholesale rates charged in Canada were:

  • $0.081 per voice minute,
  • $0.011 per text message,
  • $0.037 per MB of data.

This means that some or all of the interim wholesale roaming tariffs to be filed this week could be higher than the amounts listed above.

To provide a point of comparison, we note that in the US, as per its 2013 annual report on competition in mobile, the FCC reported an aggregate proxy for intercarrier roaming revenue of $0.024 per voice minute in 2011, down from $0.027 in 2010. This is more than 60% lower than the average rate reported by CRTC last year, using a current exchange rate. Furthermore, the FCC notes that this average intercarrier voice roaming revenue per minute is likely overstated as the total revenues included to calculate the proxy exceed those of roaming voice revenues.

This comparison certainly seems to indicate that some or all cost-based wholesale roaming rates in Canada could see substantial decreases compared to the aggregate average wholesale rates published by CRTC in 2014.

* Commission Letter addressed to various parties in Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-76 (August 6, 2014)