TORONTO (Reuters) - Wind Mobile, a small wireless company that claims fourth spot in an industry dominated by three major players, said on Tuesday that it now reaches 97 percent of Canada’s population after adding an unnamed domestic roaming partner.
Wind said the addition would most noticeably increase its coverage in British Columbia, suggesting Vancouver-based Telus Corp as a likely partner.
The deal follows a ruling in July by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) that Rogers Communications Inc, the country’s largest wireless provider, used exclusivity clauses and high rates in roaming agreements it signed with new wireless entrants to unfairly discriminate against them.
“The CRTC’s recent ruling that Rogers’ exclusivity clauses are invalid opened the doors to new discussions, and we have since sat down and finalized roaming agreements with some new carriers,” said Telus spokesman Shawn Hall, who declined to explicitly state whether Telus has struck a deal with Wind, citing confidentiality clauses in deals it has reached since the CRTC ruling.
Wind lags far behind the three biggest players - Telus, Rogers and BCE Inc’s Bell - each of which has at least 10 times as many wireless subscribers.
Wind has discussed teaming up with regional telecom and media company Quebecor Inc, with both sides pushing the CRTC and the federal industry ministry to enforce lower-cost roaming access to the networks of established operators.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Steve Orlofsky