Canada set a requirement for top-tier operators to accept network access requests from smaller regional providers and also negotiate on wholesale prices under new rules being implemented by the country’s regulator to boost competition.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) indicated the new terms and conditions will open the door to a greater number of MVNOs, in turn providing greater competition by boosting the options available to consumers.

The move builds on a CRTC ruling from April 2021 designed to better enable MVNOs to be launched in the Canadian market.

CRTC chair and CEO Ian Scott stated the policy aims to enable regional providers to offer mobile services in areas where competition is limited. The measures will be in place for seven years, giving the smaller players time to build and expand their networks.

Scott noted larger providers Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications and Telus, as well as SaskTel in Saskatchewan, will be expected to “negotiate in good faith and come to an agreement as quickly as possible with regional wireless providers”.

Reuters reported Canadian mobile users pay some of the highest charges in the world, although prices have been falling in recent years.

Competition concerns have also stymied a proposed buyout of Shaw Communications by rival Rogers Communications.

Canada’s Competition Tribunal recently set a timeline of late October for the start of mediation between authorities and the parties involved.