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Canada to cap domestic roaming rates

Canadian government has announced plans to draw up new legislation to cap wireless roaming rates charged by the three largest providers for smaller rivals using their network.

The new law is designed to encourage wireless competition ahead of the spectrum auction in January.

Canada’s market is dominated by Rogers, Bell and Telus, which combined have more than 25 million wireless subscribers.

Smaller providers have to negotiate agreements with the three market leaders to give their customers service across the country and roaming fees are charged when customers use their phones outside their own network provider's coverage area.

The smaller companies have complained that the rates are too high, preventing them from offering more choice and lower prices. The new law intends to prevent the big providers from charging small wireless companies more than they charge their own customers for domestic roaming.

"We think sending this important signal today,” said industry minister James Moore. “The status quo is not going to continue and the gap between wholesale and retail is not appropriate and not conducive to greater competition for consumers.”

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