It’s been nearly six months since Bell took over MTS in Manitoba, part of a $3.9 billion deal. Now, Bell MTS has quietly increased rates across the board on all services, except for wireless (for now).
Here are the price increases, as noted by the Winnipeg Free Press:
- Home phone: + $1.95 per month; now starts at $36.95/mo
- TV: + $2.95 per month
- Internet: + $3.95 per month; now starts at $63.95/mo
- Calling features
- TV packages
- Fibre-optic network
- Other services
The Bell MTS website published details of the upcoming changes on June 30, while phone bills from last month saw a one liner that read “the price of some home phone plans and features, Ultimate TV and equipment and high-speed internet plans will change as of September 2017.”
Customers on the company’s website were told “In order to maintain our quality of service and technological leadership our customers have come to expect, Bell MTS must adjust the cost we charge to the customer.”
Dan McKeen, Bell MTS senior executive in Western Canada, explained the price hikes are required due to increased costs required to operate their busy networks.
“Telcos and cable companies across the country are faced with many of the same industry drivers,” McKeen told the Winnipeg Free Press. “TV content costs are going up and there is exponential increase in internet usage. It’s not specific to any one provider. They are industry issues.”
Wireless rates have not changed, yet. When Bell officially acquired MTS earlier this spring, it promised to retain current rates—for at least 12 months.
Gloria Desorcy, executive director of the Consumers’ Association of Canada’s Manitoba division, worries prices will continue to keep rising, due to less competition in the province. She said “One thing we were concerned about before the sale was that in provinces where there was even one less regional player, like is the case now in Manitoba, rates were a lot higher. That was certainly a concern.”
Since February of last year, MTS and Bell MTS price increases have occurred three times on various products and services.
McKeen added customer reaction to price hikes has been “normal”, noting users want “really high-quality service” and Internet to work well, versus decreasing network quality, because that “is not a happy path.”
Manitoba’s Premier Brian Pallister hinted last year prices could be increasing with Bell MTS, saying “We’ve had cheaper, limited services. Now we get better service,” and “you get what you pay for.”