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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Going Mobile—Slowly: How Wireline Telephone Regulation Slows Cellular Network Development

Commentary by Neil Quigley, Margaret Sanderson

Neil Quigley and Margaret Sanderson address the issue of Canada’s poor cellular capacity and the unwillingness of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to evolve regulations as times change.

As Quigley and Sanderson explain, Canada ranked 26th of 30 OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) countries to introduce digital cellular services, and 28th in per capita cellular subscribers. The authors also suggest that Canada seems to lag behind many developing nations, with respect to its overall willingness to adapt to relative advantages that can be realized through cellular services. The authors’ express their concerns that should Canada not ‘catch up’ to the international mobile trend, then Canadian businesses will be unable to reap the overall benefits that mobile technology has to offer.

The authors attribute this lack of interest in greater mobile services to the artificially low price of wireline services in Canada, which has effectively undermined the cellular market. To resolve this problem, Quigley and Sanderson make three suggestions: 1) the CRTC should stop using universal low prices to deal with equity issues associated with local phone service costs; 2) the CRTC should allow cellular and wireline services to compete with each other under fair circumstances, and, 3) that policymakers must reconsider foreign ownership restrictions if these services are allowed to compete freely.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Neil Quigley; Margaret Sanderson;
Publisher: C.D. Howe Institute [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2005; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Telecommunications
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Technology
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Technology / 2005
Policy Articles / Media & Communications / Telecommunications / 2005
Policy Articles / Media & Communications


Keywords / Tags:

Canada; telecommunications; mobile; cellular service; Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC); telecommunication regulation; technology; international technology;