Telecom bills are rising rapidly: Government report confirms that cell phone cost increases are running at three times the rate of inflation
June 18, 2015
Tabish continued: “With price hikes like these, it’s no surprise that Canada remains dead last among OECD nations in terms of mobile subscribers. Today’s official report underlines the need for action from Industry Minister James Moore. We’ve recently seen positive steps forward from Industry Canada to improve choice and affordability - but clearly much more remains to be done to create a level playing field for affordable independent alternatives to the Big Three.”
The report compared prices in six major Canadian cities to those in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. Key findings include:
Canada’s wireless mobile prices remain significantly more expensive than the other countries surveyed.
This is particularly true for basic packages, in which Canada’s plans were found to be the most expensive at an average price of $37.29, compared to $22.00 average for other countries. (Wall Report, pp. 25-26).
In moderate to high usage plans, average Canadian prices are remain amongst the most expensive of the countries surveyed, placing Canada at the back of the pack. On average, Canadian prices were approximately 15-20% over the average for a given usage basket (level 2, 3, 4 and 5). (Wall Report, pp. 25-26).
Lower prices in other countries were “due to the availability of exceptionally low-priced prepaid voice services” in countries such as France, Germany, and Italy, where residents experience greater choice in mobile providers. (Wall Report, p. 25).
Wireline phone prices “have increased significantly” in the past year at a rate well above inflation.(Wall Report, page ii)
Within Canada, wireless prices have generally increased since last year. Basic packages have increased 4.4% from $35.70 in 2014 to $37.29 in 2015. This will hurt low-income Canadians who rely on these services. (Wall Report, section 4.0)
Prices for moderate usage plans within Canada have also continued to increase, w/ increases of 7.6% and 6.9% for level 2 and 3, respectively, since 2014 – over three times the rate of inflation. (Wall Report, p. 26)
Prices continue to vary wildly between regions. Throughout the report, cities surveyed such as Regina and Winnipeg were found to have lower prices than places like Vancouver, Toronto, or Halifax. For example, the same high usage plans ranged from between $62 and $65 in Regina and Winnipeg to $91.23 in Halifax. (Wall Report, p. 19).
New entrants like Wind offer far more affordable wireless plans – at a discount of between 26-50% over the prices offered by incumbents. (Wall Report, page iii)
When it comes to broadband Internet, the report found that Canada remains “at the high end of the group of surveyed countries”. For example average 16-40 Mbps service costs 64% more in Canada ($67.81) than in the U.K. ($41.25). (Wall Report, page vi)
Today’s report echoes the findings of other surveys, including StatsCan data indicating a 7.6% increase in the cost of telephone services.
Over 25,000 Canadians are speaking out for faster, cheaper Internet and cell phone services at UnblockCanada.ca
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