Rogers Wireless Inc. and Microcell Solutions Inc. are asking for equal treatment alongside other wireline telecommunications service providers when interconnecting with incumbent telcos’ digital transport networks, known as competitor digital network access (CDNA) services. The two wireless service providers put their demands forward in comments and reply comments as final arguments in the CRTC’s Telecom Public Notice 2002-4 wrapped up at the end of 2003. The issue arose in the price cap ruling, Telecom Decision 2002-34, in which the commission set out the interim terms and conditions for ILEC CDNA services. In that decision, the CRTC determined that CDNA "service is available only to competitors to provide access between an end customer premise to a competitor’s switch." Both Rogers Wireless and Microcell say this blocks wireless operators from benefiting from lower interconnection costs established in the interim CDNA regime. Rogers Wireless suggests that wireless service providers (WSPs) should not have to use outmoded tariff structures like wireless access service and pay rates that were designed to maximize contribution when wireline competitors can take advantage of more economic and realistic arrangements. "Rogers submits that it is imperative for the commission to address this issue such that WSP interconnection using DNA is included in the final definition of CDNA and provided to competitors, including WSPs, at cost-based rates," the company writes in its December 12 comments. Microcell says that the CRTC can solve the problem by amending the "end customer premise" constraint with a more generic reference such as "end customer premise, competitor premise or competitor equipment." The company suggests that it should be compensated for the financial inequity it has suffered since June 1, 2002 (the day following the original price cap ruling). Reiterating Oct. 3, 2002 comments it made in PN 2002-4, Microcell writes: "This retroactive adjustment could be implemented simply by requiring the ILECs to refund to affected competitors the difference between the rates they paid under the prevailing DNA tariffs and the rates they would have paid in accordance with the final CDNA tariffs had they been eligible for the latter tariffs from June 1, 2002." Dennis Béland, Microcell’s director of regulatory affairs, tells Report on Wireless the company hasn’t calculated the potential savings under a regime that treats wireless operators the same as wireline competitors. Nor would he venture a guess on how much the company would be owed if the commission were to grant its request for retroactive refunds. Microcell notes in its December 12 comments that 8.3% of total operating expenses is spent on retail DNA services leased from the incumbents. At the end of 2002, Microcell reported total operating expenses of nearly $730 million. The two wireless operators say the commission must enforce the technology neutrality provision it adopted in Telecom Decision 97-8, which paved the way for competition in the local telephone market. The two companies note in their comments, however, that the incumbents are using untenable arguments to bypass the technology neutral provision. They say the commission has to outright discount any ILEC claims as to the level of competition in the provision of CDNA services by competitors. Rogers Wireless highlights what it says are the incumbents’ contradictory arguments presented in other CRTC proceedings as evidence of the ILECs’ desire to maintain the status quo. It points to Bell Canada’s November 2003 Part VII application requesting symmetric regulation for broadcast distribution and telecommunications in which it claimed wireless providers are becoming major competitors to wireline players. "The ILECs make these contentions and yet wireless providers are not accorded peer interconnection arrangements with their competitors under the interim CDMA regime. … Accordingly, (Rogers Wireless) submits that it is imperative that the commission correct this oversight in the final CDNA arrangement," reads the company’s December 23 reply comments. Microcell writes in its December 23 reply comments that it is simply seeking a better balance between the facilities-based wholesale market and the facilities-based retail market. "Achieving a better balance requires an understanding that facilities-based retail competitors are heavily dependent on the ILECs for digital transport services, and that cost-based pricing of these services, where appropriate, is a necessary requirement for the sustainable expansion of these competitors’ networks."