Small Wireless Players Can’t Let Users ‘permanently Roam’ on Big Networks

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Canada’s telecom regulator has ruled a discount wireless startup cannot rely on a roaming agreement with Rogers Communications Inc. to keep its customers connected.

Toronto-based Sugar Mobile offers a cut-rate wireless service that relies primarily on WiFi access. When a cellular connection is necessary, Sugar turns to a roaming agreement its sister company Ice Wireless has with Rogers. Ice operates in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, but Sugar, which does not have a network of its own, markets its service to customers across the country.

In a pair of decisions Wednesday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said that companies that do not own airwaves or operate a cellular network in a particular geographic area cannot allow their customers to “permanently roam” on the networks of the established national carriers.

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Christine Dobby – Globe and Mail – March 1, 2017.

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