Canadian Carriers Sign to Roam

By Eric Griffith

March 01, 2004

The country's wireless telecom association says that the five major carriers with hotspots have officially signed to allow roaming by the fall.

Back in August 2003, four major wireless carriers in Canada-- Bell Canada, Telus Mobility, Rogers AT&T Wireless, Microcell Solutions -- announced plans to allow roaming on each other's hotspot networks.

This week, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), Canada's version of the CTIA in the U.S., announced that the agreement between the four companies has been formally signed.

The agreement calls for the hotspots they operate to allow customers of any of the four to be used, will billing to continue to come from one source (the user's cell phone bill in most cases).

CWTA director of communications March Choma says that if other Canadian hotspot vendors "want to offer this experience, the door is open." Any vendor who meets the requirements can participate. However, what those requirements are have not been spelled out, and won't be until the program officially launches in the Fall.

The agreement will also include a branding efforts, with signs saying "Hotspot wireless Internet Access" or "pointd'accés accés Internet sans fil" for French Canadian users.

Logins to the roaming network will be the same for all users, no matter who their carrier.

"When you log on, you'll have the same experience with your carrier or another carrier's [hotspot]. It's seamless to the customer," says Choma.

He says the carriers represented by CWTA plan to open another 500 hotspots in Canada this year.

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