A report shows that we as Canadians, pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for cellphone plans.
Published by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), a pro-free-market think-tank, the report looked at a 2017 wireless price-comparison study, commissioned by the federal government and completed by consulting firm Nordicity.
The annual study found that — once again — Canada’s cellphone rates rank among the highest out of eight countries surveyed.
MEI claims the study is “simplistic and misleading” because it ignores factors that can inflate prices, such as Canada’s geographical barriers and the investments that Canadian telcos have made to provide superior wireless services.
“We have some of the best networks in the world,” said MEI report author Martin Masse. “We’re paying for a Lexus, but it’s worth a Lexus.”
Canada also has a small population spread out over a large region, Masse says, making it more expensive for wireless networks.
Looking at Wireless Around the World
The Nordicity study compared wireless rates in Canada, the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the U.S. and Australia.
Australia’s average monthly prices for cellphone plans were consistently cheaper than Canada’s — up to $37 less a month.
Yet according to data included in MEI’s own report, Australia has larger geographical challenges than Canada, invested more per capita on telecommunication services between 2005 and 2015 — and offers faster network connection speeds.
Australia’s prices are said to have dropped in the past few years and it may be due to telcos investing in their networks, which eventually paid off at some level say the experts.
The annual price-comparison report has been commissioned since 2008 by the federal government or the CRTC, Canada’s telecom regulator. Nordicity says it has always used the same criteria, which excludes factors such as geography and telco investment.
BOTTOM LINE WITH WIRELESS IN CANADA
The CRTC (Canadian Radio Television and COmmunications) has found that Bell, Rogers and Telus collectively have had 91 per cent of all wireless service revenues in 2016.
Some argue that more intervention is needed to provide Canadians with more affordable wireless plans.
Without any support from the CRTC and the government, it’s going to get worse say critics.
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