BCE and Rogers Among Carriers Facing Wireless Code

Canada’s wireless regulator will issue a code of conduct for the country’s wireless carriers next week, which may put a check on certain fees, such as charges the companies levy for canceling contracts.

The new guidelines for companies including BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp. are scheduled to be released on the morning of June 3 in Ottawa, Denis Carmel, a spokesman for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, said today.

The CRTC will release the document just as a three-day conference for wireless executives and regulators kicks off in Toronto. The regulator circulated a draft code, which applies to all carriers including new entrants, Jan. 28.

CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais is reacting to Canadian consumer demands for more clarity on mobile-phone bills and relief from three-year contracts the three largest providers typically insist on. In the U.S., most contracts last two years and T-Mobile US Inc. recently introduced a plan that allows customers to pay for a smartphone over time but not be committed to two years of monthly service fees.

Blais is scheduled to speak at the Canadian Telecom Summit on June 4 at 10 a.m. Rob Bruce, the head of Rogers’ wireless business, will kick off the conference with a speech at 8:45 a.m. on June 3. Rogers spokeswoman Patricia Trott said the Toronto-based company had nothing to say about the code at this time.

BCE, Telus and Rogers together control about 90 percent of the domestic wireless market, even after four new competitors attempted to win market share with stripped down, prepaid phone plans. One of the new firms, Mobilicity, agreed this month to be bought by Vancouver-based Telus for C$380 million ($369 million). Backers of Wind Mobile, another of the new players, are exploring a sale of the Toronto-based carrier.

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