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Two GIFs explaining the CRTC's decision to investigate the Big Three Add to ...

Problems with roaming

Unlike national wireless carriers like Rogers, smaller Canadian competitors offer limited network coverage, typically available in cities like Toronto or Vancouver and the surrounding areas. If a customer with one of these smaller carriers leaves the network, their call is transfered to the network of a national provider. This is called roaming.

The same applies to customers coming in from the United States on networks like AT&T and Verizon. These customers ride on Canadian networks for the phone calls, data and text messaging.

"Unjust discrimination" in fees

In these situations, the smaller phone company will pay the larger carrier a fee to use their network. The CRTC found larger companies were charging, or planned to charge, Canadian competitors more for this service than other U.S. companies. This practice potentially violates part of the Telecommunications Act, which says Canadian companies cannot "unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference" toward any company with regards to pricing.

“We are equally concerned that the current wholesale arrangements may be having a negative impact on the competitiveness of the Canadian wireless market and, ultimately, on the consumer experience,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the CRTC.

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