TNW Wireless relies on Wi-Fi, roaming to extend its reach
TNW Wireless filed an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to force Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility to provide wholesale roaming agreements so that TNW’s users can roam onto their networks.
TNW Wireless is a new entrant to the Canadian wireless market; TNW Networks provides data center and co-location services as well as a microwave backhaul network. It said in its application to the CRTC that both carriers have refused to set up wholesale roaming agreements with it, “citing the potential misuse of a roaming agreement to allow permanent access to their respective networks.”
Roaming is essential to TNW Wireless’ business model, as outlined when the company declared last December that it was ready to launch service. The company provides data-only “smartphone-over-IP” iPCS services and does own spectrum: 850 megahertz licenses that it came to own through the acquisition of RuralCom late last year. TNW’s home network covers only a slice of northwestern Canada, and it relies on Wi-Fi and roaming to supplement its coverage, although it also noted in its application that “intends to serve subscribers within its own network footprint, and that it is working towards expanding its coverage within its licensed area.” The permanent access concern is that TNW users would basically be roaming on a national carrier’s network all the time — which the CRTC ruled against in March in the case of Sugar Mobile, a low-cost mobile virtual network operator and a division of regional carrier Ice Wireless, that was tapping into a roaming agreement with Rogers Wireless in order to offer national access to 3G services.
Lawry Trevor-Deutsch, chairman and president of TNW Wireless, told IT World Canada that “we believe it’s not within their rights to refuse on the basis of misuse that may occur in the future. We are both within the letter and the spirit of the law.” He also added that “people are on WiFi most of the day, so we don’t really have a real concern that people are permanently roaming.”
According to TNW’s description of one of its service requirements, “subscribers using iPCS in Canada will be required to use 50% or more of their total monthly data in the TNW home service region or while connected to any open Wi-Fi which de-registers the device from roaming partner networks via the Wi-Node function.”
TNW charges $10 per month for 500 GB of non-Wi-Fi data and free roaming when connected to Wi-Fi.
Image copyright: georgejmclittle / 123RF Stock Photo