Government’s own report confirms Canadian wireless prices still amongst highest in industrialized world, while more affordable new entrants starting to have positive impact on costs
New entrants hugely outperform the Big Three when it comes to wireless costs - but the Big Three is still blocking many Canadians from these affordable alternatives
Key takeaways from the Wall Report include:
- Independent providers greatly outperform the Big Three across the different wireless baskets measured, particularly for plans including data. Indie providers were cheaper by 28%, 10%, 44% and 49% overall for the different baskets (from no data to lots of data). They were also much better when it comes to roaming rates. (Wall Report, s. 4.2)
- Data (wireless internet) is what more and more Canadians want - yet prices for plans with data are still far more expensive than for plans without. Canadians are on the hook for nearly $80 per month for a basic data plan, compared to $45 for a plan with talk and text. (Wall Report, s. 4.2)
- Prices for basic wireless service without data actually increased 16% since last year - this will particularly impact low-income Canadians who rely on these basic plans. The recent loss of Public Mobile to Telus won’t help matters. (Wall Report, s. 4.2)
- Canadians living in cities such as Regina and Montreal with established alternatives to the Big Three paid significantly less for wireless service than their counterparts elsewhere. (Wall Report, Table A.2.1)
- Canada is still lagging behind international counterparts, especially when compared with Europe. Canadians pay more across the board (for plans from no data to lots of data) than their counterparts in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Australia. (Wall Report, s.4.2)
- The report again failed to include the most affordable providers in a number of foreign countries - for example GiffGaff in the U.K. which offers a nationwide data plan for the equivalent of under CDN$20 a month. Had these providers been included, the difference between Canada and countries like the U.K. would have been even more pronounced. (Wall Report, s.2.3)
- Indie providers in Canada offer lower roaming rates to the U.S. than Big Three – who have recently been revealed to be charging roaming rates that are marked up nearly 50,000 percent. (Wall Report, s.4.4)
“This morning’s report shows just how far Canada still has to go to catch up with our international counterparts when it comes to affordable wireless services,” said Steve Anderson, Executive Director of OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a 70,000 strong campaign for greater wireless choice. “It also reveals just how important independent providers like Wind and Mobilicity are when it comes to bringing down prices. Sadly, some of these independent providers are really struggling because Big Telecom is preventing many Canadians from accessing them.”
Anderson continued: “The situation is pretty stark when we consider that Mobilicity is in bankruptcy protection and Public Mobile has been gobbled up by Telus. Every Canadian deserves an affordable alternative to the sky-high prices charged by the Big Three. The government has taken a number of positive steps recently to improve choice, but more action is required to undo the years of regulatory coddling of the Big Three. Canadians will be looking to Industry Minister James Moore to do what needs to be done to open our networks and ensure that Canadians can access a range of independent cell phone service options.”
OpenMedia.ca is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy.
The Demand Choice campaign was launched to pressure decision-makers to take action for greater choice and lower prices in Canada’s telecom market. Early in 2012 OpenMedia.ca launched a campaign decrying the price-gouging poor customer service and lack of choice in the cell phone market at StopTheSqueeze.ca.
OpenMedia.ca then highlighted Canadians’ Cell Phone Horror Stories in a crowdsourced submission to the CRTC, and released a citizen-driven report entitled ‘Time for an Upgrade’ detailing their findings and recommendations.
This citizen pressure resulted in a broadly positive new set of customer-friendly rules for wireless companies – national rules that reign in punitive three-year contracts, make it easier to switch to a new affordable provider, and impose caps on data roaming fees.
The Big Three cell phone providers recently unleashed an expensive PR campaign to mislead cell phone users. Canadians took to the Internet to ridicule and debunk the Big Three’s claims in a wide variety of ways - speaking out on reddit and on Facebook, and even creating parody websites, parody videos on YouTube and parody accounts on Twitter. We’ve also seen citizen-produced op-eds appear in newspapers across the country, taking the Big Three to task for their years of terrible customer service.
Over 60,000 Canadians have now participated in the Demand Choice campaign, with more standing up for wireless choice and affordability every day.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
- Measures to improve Canadians’ access to independent wireless services hailed as a positive step forward, although more will be needed to lower prices and boost choice - Source
- Telecom Notice of Consultation 2013-551-1 - Source: CRTC
- OpenMedia.ca: Concerned Canadian reveals Bell’s anti-competitive practices: https://openmedia.ca/news/concerned-canadian-reveals-bell%E2%80%99s-anti-competitive-practices-1
- Ben Klass complaint to CRTC (PDF)
- Crossing the Line - Ben Klass explains why he's taking Bell to the CRTC
- See the infographic showing how half-a-million Canadians spoke out against telecom price-gouging: https://openmedia.ca/sites/openmedia.ca/files/Tariffs_Timeline_111212_0.png
- OpenMedia fought for and won Open Internet rules that should prevent Big Telecom discriminating against competing services. We even flew in some of the original architects of the Internet to the CRTC hearing.
- CRTC report shows Internet openness complaints went up in 2012 - see this media advisory.
- OpenMedia.ca’s crowdsourced Casting an Open Net Plan calls for net neutrality audits and penalties for companies in breach of net neutrality.
- CRTC will rescind ‘unlimited use’ Internet decision – or Ottawa will overturn it. Source: The Globe and Mail
- OpenMedia.ca: Regulators pull back from usage-based billing after half-a-million Canadians speak out
- "If using the Rogers 3G or LTE network, for only $5/month, customers can enjoy 10 hours of viewing on their device" (This means non-Rogers content is unfairly more expensive than Rogers-owned content.) Source: Google Play