Rogers Gets Forced To Allow Other Carriers Onto Its TTC Subway Network…. Excellent!!!

In the last couple of days, the Federal Government has forced Rogers to open up its network on the Toronto Transit Commission subway to other carriers such as TELUS and Bell. Thus ending in my view, a lot of stonewalling by Rogers who were pretty clearly using the fact that they had this network as a competitive advantage. More on that in a bit. Right now, here’s the salient details of what is being forced upon Rogers:

  • Rogers Communications must allow access to its network serving the TTC by October 3 at the latest to other carriers.
  • All wireless carriers who offer service in Toronto will be required to have commercial agreements in place to provide service on the TTC network within the next 100 days.
  • Every single TTC subway station will have mobile coverage by next June.
  • About 80% of tunnels will have service by the end of 2025.
  • The entire system will have full coverage by the end of 2026.

Now up until this announcement was made, the only people who had access to Rogers network were Rogers customers along with Freedom Mobile customers and Videotron customers. And only in a handful of places:

  • The downtown U-shaped stretch of the Line 1 Yonge-University-Spadina,
  • 13 stations on the Line 2 Bloor-Danforth from Keele to Castle Frank
  • Tunnels between St. George and Yonge stations.

The actions by the Federal Government, which I applaud by the way, accelerates the expansion of this network and makes sure that the citizens of Toronto can get cell phone access when they take the subway. Especially since the subway isn’t a safe place given the fact that there have been what seems to be a never ending spree of violent incidents on the subway for months now.

And this issue with violence on the subway is part of why I see Rogers as the bad guy here. Rogers bought the bones of this 5G network from BAI Communications, who could never get anyone other than Freedom Mobile to jump on board this network, and clearly wanted to use this as a means to get people to switch to Rogers, as well as force carriers like TELUS and Bell to come on bended knee to Rogers and agree to whatever terms Rogers wanted to serve up to get access to this network. My problem with this is that as mentioned earlier violence is a serious problem on the subway. You would think that Rogers would at least partially put aside their business aspirations to work with other carriers to provide service on the subway so that people feel safer. But based on the fact that it took the Federal Government to lower the boom on Rogers, I guess not.

And the other thing that I would like to point out I am not the only person who thinks Rogers is the bad guy here. Not one person who I’ve talked to over the last couple of months has defended Rogers on this issue and they see Rogers as the bad guy. If you’re Tony Staffieri the CEO of Rogers, that must concern you as that’s not going to help you to acquire new customers or keep the ones you have. I’m not saying that Rogers needed to do this for free. They run a business after all and they have to get compensated for this somehow. But I find it highly implausible that Rogers couldn’t come to an agreement with TELUS, Bell, and other carriers if they really wanted to in order to make this happen.

Rogers during this whole episode hasn’t done itself any favours here. Thus they may want to keep that in mind going forward as I don’t know how many more times Rogers can do things to upset the public and get away with it.

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