Quebecor extends its Fizz wireless services to four provinces

Quebecor’s Fizz mobile operator is expanding into Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, thanks to a regulatory framework that allows regional cell phone providers to compete across Canada using networks built by their larger great rivals.

Fizz says it will offer introductory plans starting at $14 per month in select regions across these four provinces.

Since its launch in 2018 as a discount operator in Quebec, Fizz has been Quebecor’s alternative to its traditional wireless operator Videotron.

The expansion outside of La Belle Province follows a four-month trial. New customers in the four provinces will be able to keep their plans and rates for as long as they want “without negotiations or end dates,” the company promises.

It also plans to expand its reach to more cities and regions in these provinces within a few months, with the aim of eventually offering services to 90% of the Canadian population.

The expanded service will operate, in part, with Quebecor’s current infrastructure, which exists primarily in urban areas of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

In less dense regions of these provinces, as well as in Manitoba – where the company has not built its own network – the service will operate through the networks of competing operators under the regulatory framework of the network operators virtual mobiles (MVRE) of Canada.

Seven years to establish your own network

In 2021, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a policy allowing regional providers to compete as MVNOs using networks built by larger companies. Then, in May last year, the federal telecommunications regulator ordered major operators to negotiate agreements for access to their networks.

The CRTC said the move was intended to increase competition in cellular telephony, giving regional operators a presence in communities across Canada that they did not previously serve.

Under the framework, regional competitors are then required to establish their own networks in these areas within seven years.

Fizz chief executive Martin Gendron said the trial phase allowed the company to test phone coverage when transitioning from one network to another.

He said Fizz made minor changes to ensure the process ran smoothly.

“Outside urban areas, we use the networks of other existing operators and it works well,” Mr. Gendron said in an interview. It’s definitely a catalyst for us to expand across Canada. »

Depending on the brand’s success in “less urban markets”, Fizz will assess whether it makes financial sense to continue its expansion within the framework of MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), he says.

“Because we then have the obligation to build our network within seven years,” said Mr. Gendron. Then, it is an economic question. We would like that and we hope the MVRE framework continues to evolve. »

Fizz says its beta testers will be able to maintain their heavily discounted prices for six months after starting their subscription “as a thank you.”

“Our teams are grateful to the thousands of beta testers who were the first to experience Fizz outside of Quebec,” said Quebecor President and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau in a communicated.

“These have influenced the development of our offering, our technology and our services to allow us to offer Fizz in its best light to more people across Canada. I would like to sincerely thank them for being so numerous to take part in this extraordinary initiative in the telecommunications sector,” he added.

Along with its expansion, Fizz says it will offer its SIM cards in 139 Circle K locations across British Columbia and Alberta.

Customers can order a SIM card online or pick one up in store.

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