Commission won’t force GTAA to maintain wireless service at Pearson Airport The Canadian wireless industry has lost its bid to keep the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) from shutting down wireless PCS service at the country’s busiest airport – Telecom Decision 2002-38. The GTAA has previously stated that it will "power down" the carriers’ equipment beginning Monday, July 8 unless wireless phone companies negotiate an advantageous new contract with the airport. Canada’s four national operators had filed a Part VII application with the CRTC asking it to issue an interim order that would force the GTAA to maintain wireless service at Lester B. Pearson International Airport until the two sides could come to an arrangement. Bell Mobility, Microcell Telecommunications Inc., Rogers Wireless Communications Inc., and Telus Mobility filed the joint application to the commission on June 27. The two sides were in serious discussions for the last several months to resolve contentious rent agreements (RoW Update, June 18/02). The carriers pay the GTAA rent to have their equipment on airport grounds and in airport buildings ensuring wireless phone users receive satisfactory coverage. Talks between the two sides broke off last month, when it became apparent the two sides couldn’t come to a mutually acceptable agreement. The four national operators balked at increases in rent they described as excessive and unreasonable. In some cases, the GTAA was demanding increases of up to 750 per cent. In their Part VII application, the wireless operators maintained that under certain sections of the Telecommunications Act, they had the right to continue operations until an agreement could be reached. The GTAA disagreed with their arguments, stating that the application didn’t meet certain requirements that would give the CRTC the right to intervene. The commission agreed with the GTAA’s arguments and ruled in its favour in a decision released today. It’s still too early to tell what actions, if any, the wireless industry can take, but it’s certain that this case is not over and will be heading to court.See next week’s issue of Report on Wireless for more details on this story.