What is an MVNO — and how will they unlock cheaper cell phone prices for me?
A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a low-cost, alternative cell phone carrier that can offer customers cheaper, fairer options outside of Big Telecom. They’re the solution to our staggering lack of competition, choice, and affordability that Bell, Rogers, and Telus don’t want you to know about.
How do MVNOs work? It’s simple: they have a behind-the-scenes arrangement that brings YOU cheaper prices! They are third-party, “virtual” carriers who don’t own any physical cell phone towers. Instead, they buy access to wireless networks owned by other telecom companies. Because they don’t have to build their own physical infrastructure, they’re able to sell more affordable services to everyday people.
It’s a globally-proven model for reducing wireless prices. The proof is in the pudding; just take a look at this recent ad for Mint Mobile, an MVNO carrier based in the United States that boasts $15/month service.3 $15 a MONTH — can you imagine?!
Why don’t we have any real MVNOs operating fully in Canada today?
Did you know that Canada is one of the only countries among our international peers that doesn’t fully allow MVNOs?4 That’s because Canada’s rules don’t let them operate here — outside of a narrow set of scenarios designed to benefit Big Telecom first, NOT ordinary people.5
In April 2021, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) denied MVNOs the right to operate in almost all circumstances in Canada’s cell phone market.6 Dotmobile, an MVNO looking to operate in Canada, immediately appealed the decision with the support of OpenMedia and other advocates, industry players, and more.7,8
But in April 2022, our federal government chose to uphold our current price gouging system, and ignore the affordability needs of people in Canada by choosing not to revisit the CRTC’s ruling on MVNOs — re-committing to a broken system they know does not work.9
What needs to happen so I can switch to a cheaper, fairer cell phone plan from an MVNO — and DITCH Big Telecom?
The Canadian government and Prime Minister Trudeau have the power to immediately open our wireless market to allow MVNOs to operate fully in our country. What they need is a PUSH.
Big Telecom and our government are relying on people not knowing or caring about MVNOs, so that they can continue to restrict us from accessing these cheaper options. No longer.
We need to take this opportunity to speak up LOUD to demand Ottawa fix these unfair rules that are holding us back from affordable connectivity. If enough of us make our voices heard, they won’t be able to keep shoving their anti-consumer prohibition of MVNOs under the rug.
Will you sign the petition NOW demanding the government finally fix the rules to let MVNOs operate fully in Canada?