CI NEWS SERVICE
Everyone is aware that Canadians pay one of the highest rates for cellphones in the world and recently the Trudeau government committed to reducing the cost of
mid-range cellphone services by 25 percent and further increase competition which would in turn present consumers with more affordable options.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry made this announcement when he released
the 2019 Price Comparison Study. The study shows that average prices from regional providers were up to 45 percent lower than plans provided by the three big national carriers.
While this progress seems promising, the prices for mid-range plans have not moved which is why Minister Bains presented the next steps to lower prices for telecom services and promote competition.
To track progress of a 25 per cent reduction, the government will report on wireless pricing quarterly by establishing a clear benchmark. This will also increase
transparency. For cellphone plans that offer 2 GB to 6 GB of data, the three big national carriers—Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Canada and Telus Communications—are expected to lower their prices by 25 percent in the next two years.
If these targets are not met within two years, the government will take action with other regulatory tools to further increase competition and help reduce prices.
However, many consumers remain sceptical about the success of this plan. For example back in 2018, CRTC data and a government-commissioned report found that prices for internet and wireless plans were in decline due partly to the introduction of new no-data-overage offered by the big telecoms, but despite this so-called improvement, studies showed that cellphone prices were still above international averages and are roughly double those in Australia.
Meanwhile a BBC report, citing a UK-based price comparison site, said that 1 gigabyte (GB) of mobile data cost $0.26 in India, compared with $12.37 in the US, $6.66 in the UK, and a global average of $8.53.
But in reality, many Indian users were actually paying less than $0.10 a GB.
For example, a cellphone user pays less than $3 a month for unlimited free calls and gets 42GB of 4G data, at 1.5GB a day, which works out to less than 6 cents per GB – 70 times cheaper than what a consumer pays for 4G data in London.