Just days after Canada’s Competition Bureau announced that it would look into the details of Apple’s contracts with wireless carriers, a newly-uncovered court filing has shed light on the regulator’s allegations of anti-competitive practices. The agency believes that Apple’s terms may have ultimately forced Canadian consumers to pay more for mobile devices and wireless services than they otherwise would have, according to Reuters. The investigation was publicly revealed late last week, though Apple was informed of the probe in April.
Canadian consumers may have ended up paying higher prices for cellphones and wireless services because of contracts between Apple Inc’s Canadian unit and domestic carriers, the Canadian Competition Bureau said in a court filing this week. The iPhone has given Apple extraordinary bargaining power with mobile carriers around the world, and the Canadian watchdog wants to know if it used that leverage to force domestic operators to sell rival devices at a higher price than they otherwise would have. The Competition Bureau is seeking details on volume commitment, minimum order quantities, and any special treatment that Apple may have sought from the carriers, the filing showed. “Of course it is natural for them to want to push in that regard, and let’s see if they pushed too hard,” said Colin Gillis, a technology analyst at BGC Partners in New York. The affidavit filed on Tuesday by Vincent Millette, who is heading the Competition Bureau’s investigation, and obtained by Reuters on Friday listed several ways the agreements with the phone companies may have prevented or lessened competition.