Rogers, TELUS, Bell Raising Prices “Because They Can”: OpenMedia


Rogers, TELUS and Bell are all raising their cellular plan prices across Canada starting at $5 per month–blamed on the exchange rate (except in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec, where regional carriers offer real competition; and exchange rates ‘magically’ don’t apply).

According to Internet advocates OpenMedia, the Big 3 are able to jack up prices “because they can”, especially when there is little to no competition, speaking to News1130:

“The real reason is that we have so little choice and competition in the marketplace. When you’ve just got like three large companies controlling 90 per cent of the market, they feel that they can pretty much do as they please.”

OpenMedia director Josh Tabish also asks when the Canadian dollar rebounds, “will the Big Three lower prices back to where they were?”

While we’re seeing wireless rates increase, Internet and home phone rates are set to jump in February, as part of an uncanny synchronized price increase.

Coupled with the impending onset of ‘skinny’ TV packages starting at $25, as enforced by the CRTC, the Big 3 will make their money back one way or another from consumers.

Alphabeatic’s Peter Nowak sums up perfectly why this is the case for Canadian consumers:

Therein lies the problem with a giant vertically integrated oligopoly that controls the market for every service. When regulators and government put in place new rules to protect and help consumers on one front, the companies can simply turn around and ding them somewhere else.

Oh, Canada! Get your wallets ready.


  • Raven Sherbert

    Correct. Stop buying if you don’t like it.

  • JB

    Break up the telcos. TV vs Wireless vs Broadband vs landline phone. Make them compete with each other and their own current business units.

  • It’s Me

    Don’t forget their ownership or exclusive control to access of almost all content. They own the Canadian networks and specialty channels and radio stations and news broadcasters and lock in distribution rights to the rest.

  • Accordtr

    Man I loooove MTS. I would never buy a MTS cell phone but thanks you MTS for making my Rogers plan $20-30 cheaper than other provinces!

  • Ashley Mann

    Listening to the big 3’s bullshit is exhausting. The best way to deal with the price increases and the crazy high bills is wine. Wine consumed in mind numbing quanties. I like to think of it as my 5 to 12 servings of fruit a day.

  • Phill


  • BigCat

    Unfortunately the “Big 3” was permitted to grow unchecked in a protected environment without true regulation and oversight.

    Either true regulation should be legislated (similar to hydro electric power) or the market should be truly opened up.

    Unfortunately, due to corporate lobbying our Federal Goverment has been engaged in a game of double speak. Consumers have been denied true choice and have indirectly funded these companies. To a large degree the current choice is them or nothing.

  • FragilityG4

    “Similar to hydro electric power”

    You obviously don’t live in Ontario!

  • FragilityG4

    I wish we had a regional carrier in Ontario just for that reason! Enjoy the savings!!

  • fmanowhereman

    Same as Sasktel in SK, makes all the other carriers compete ????????

  • fmanowhereman

    Manitoba regional provider

  • McNucklefuts

    This is why I hope that Shaw actually brings BC Alberta and Ontario some competition.

  • BigCat

    No, I am in British Columbia.

    My comparison is in relation to how rates are set. For example: If BC Hydro wants to increase rates by 5% they must submit a pubic application, which must be approved by a independent body.

    This process helps protect consumers in monopoly market. I am very sure the “Big 3” would greatly disagree with my analogy.

  • FamiGami

    But that’s not regulation. That’s state-owned monopoly which is even worse. Hydro Quebec raised rates 14% in a year where they made records profits!

  • FragilityG4

    In Ontario hydro rates are through the roof thanks to our green energy act.

  • Widohmaker

    This is a straw man argument. The majority of people cannot abandon wireless services or internet services in totality. Our society requires us to be connected. So saying, “stop buying if you don’t like it” is not a viable option. Instead the government needs provide strong regulation to force competition and discourage cartel practices. Competition benefits everyone. If the big 3 are not afraid to compete why did they spend millions in ads when there was a threat of Verizon entering the Canadian market.

  • Raven Sherbert

    The majority of people? I’m not sure who you are speaking for, but don’t speak for me. None of the people I know in my life need a smartphone. I don’t know where you are getting this “majority” stat from. They are fun toys, but not necessary to live. The problem with first world countries is that we think we need this stuff.

  • Widohmaker

    Again with the straw man. Because you and the people in your life do not require a smart phone doesn’t mean that others do not. I can easily say the opposite, “the majority of people I know blah blah blah”. The point is that smartphones have become a de facto norm in our society and services they enable are a driver of growth in the economy on many levels. The point I was trying to make is that abandoning smartphone technology or internet access is not a sound argument to answer the question of oligopolistic/cartel practices amongst the big 3 telecoms.

  • Raven Sherbert

    You need to help me see a circumstance in which an average consumer needs a cell phone to live, then you can try playing the straw man card. Its a luxury. We can’t burden our government with regulation jobs just because our teens want to use Facebook outside.

  • Raven Sherbert

    Your opening argument in your first comment was “The majority of people cannot abandon wireless services” and other comments about us needing it… but now you are saying it doesn’t matter if we need it or not? Why open with that statement if it is not the point?

    So technically, you were missing the point from the beginning, and you basically created a straw man argument after complaining about such straw man arguments. You just defeated youself, that was easy, thanks.

  • SOB

    At some point in the near future these luxury items will become a necessity. To not have a smart phone or internet access from home will become a disadvantage. We are not there yet but the time will come sooner than later. And when that time comes it’s important that Canadians are getting fair prices for these services then what we are facing now.

  • BigCat

    Sorry for the distraction on electricity pricing. Not an analogy that works well for everyone.

    Hopefully the Canadian cellular monopoly is dealt with through good regulation and/or a more open and fair market place.

    Hey, make sure you eastern boys & girls don’t leave any lights on:)

  • Widohmaker

    Raven, I’m not trying to defeat you. I’m just trying to point out how inane the argument you are making is with relation to this topic. I should have been more precise before. But you are still avoiding the core issue. “Stop buying if you don’t like it.” is devoid of any substance or rational thought. It just comes across as a petulant statement.

  • Widohmaker

    In my view, a ‘luxury’ item or service is one that constitutes extravagant living. I don’t think smartphones or smartphone service fits that description as it is already widely adopted at multiple income levels.

  • Raven Sherbert

    “It is already widely adopted at multiple income levels.”

    This is how you determine luxury vs necessity? Well the same can be said for Television. Its widely adopted, so it must be a necessity? We need that stuff to live? Try again.

  • Raven Sherbert

    “At some point in the near future these luxury items will become a necessity.”

    Ok so let’s say that your ridiculous sentence somehow becomes reality. Since we are talking about monthly cell phone plans, the average monthly cell phone phone bill is like $70 per month, it will be the lowest costing necessity ever. It will cost less than rent/mortgage, or monthly electricity/food bills. I’d say that’s a pretty fair price already. Why should it be even cheaper?

  • Widohmaker

    Necessity is subjective to every individuals requirements. Who are you to say what constitutes a necessity for someone else.

  • Widohmaker

    “I’d say that’s a pretty fair price already. Why should it be even cheaper?” If you are happy with what you pay for service that’s great. I’m also fine with the price I pay. But that doesn’t address the issue at hand. Governments and people need to be vigilant against ‘Oligopolies’ and cartel practices in any form. I’m sure you already know why these things are bad for an economy but you incase you don’t I suggest you educate yourself on the topic.

  • SOB

    You might think my statement is ridiculous. But the evidence supports what I said. At some point having a cell phone will be necessary. To not have one will put u at a disadvantage. It’s just like university students needing a laptop these days for school. Sure u could do without one but that makes life a lot tougher. Would u really want to put yourself at that disadvantage when all your fellow classmates are being more productive having laptops. Like it or not. This is just the way the world is heading.

    As for prices I just came back from Australia. My relatives have much better cell phone prices than us. Why? They have 11 carriers to choose from. If we had more competition Canadians would be getting better and fairer pricing.

  • AssHat900

    Trudeau should just buy them all and nationalize the whole thing.


    What about SOB’s sentence is ridiculous? It’s truth, and to imply otherwise is being dishonest.

    TV and cellular phone/internet access cannot even remotely be compared. One acts as a vessel for the free exchange of information, and the other as an information dump. One enables me to be productive, and one requires that to enjoy it that I am not productive.

    Furthermore, what is your argument here- that prices are just going to go up and to deal with it? Myopic, at best. Naive, putting it nicely.


    Many people don’t like to admit when they’re wrong. Raven is an example of one such individual.

    Do the majority of Canadians “need” wireless connectivity to live? Nope, they don’t.

    I mean, I couldn’t do my job without it (and I bet there are a lot of people that would suddenly find themselves professionally handicapped with out, but I digress). Then we also have to talk about Canada’s lack of competitiveness on a global level, and how making technology like this more accessible only serves to benefit us…

    But for some, the argument of “don’t like it, don’t buy it” is their defiant way of sticking it to you. After all, Raven is trying to defeat you despite being defeated himself. After all, their bill is going up too… 🙂

  • Widohmaker

    It’s OK. It seems like he’s quite young based on his Disqus profile. I’d rather use these opportunities to try and educate someone rather then have the discussion disintegrate into a childish troll war. Thanks for the support!

  • Sharphead

    Manitoba Telecom Services

  • Rory Breaker

    I wouldn’t bother. The guy is a troll. How do you make the argument that nobody needs a smartphone in todays society when you’re taking the time to post on a site for a smartphone? I know I spend my day going to sites I have no need for to make my opinions known…

  • Widohmaker

    Good point!

  • ComplacencyKills

    Lame excuse. What The Big 3 are doing is reducing consumer spending for other things, with the constant increases. They gouge, gouge, and gouge, rather than find worthwhile ways to increase subscriber base. I wish they would compete, but nobody wants to rock the boat. It’s basically Rogers vs. Telus/Bell. Also, a very crappy thing to do in such a precarious economy especially in Alberta, where Telus has made a crazy amount of money out of those now unemployed workers.

  • Raven Sherbert

    “Do the majority of Canadians “need” wireless connectivity to live? Nope, they don’t.”

    That was my point bud, thanks for agreeing. Its not a necessity, Widohmaker was saying it was. That’s all.

  • Raven Sherbert

    Age is relevant here? Talk about a straw man argument, even though I’m 31. Why would I troll with my real name and picture? If it was a troll, I’d be anonymous, like you.

  • Raven Sherbert

    You’re like “I wouldn’t bother.” But then you did.

  • Raven Sherbert

    Putting you at a disadvantage without something does not make it a necessity. I can’t see a future where the government says “The right to live includes shelter, food, and cell phone data plans.

  • Raven Sherbert

    “TV and cellular phone/internet access cannot even remotely be compared.”

    Cell phone data cannot even remotely be compared to food and shelter. Those are necessities. Ask your local homeless if his cell phone data plan is important.

  • Widohmaker

    If you hadn’t noticed, I was defending you by saying I ‘thought’ you were young based on your initial immature statement. I didn’t call you a troll. I said I didn’t want it to disintegrate into a ‘childish troll war’. If you are 31, I am surprised at your level of reading comprehension. You keep digging yourself into a hole for some reason. By the way, I would recommend that you not comment using your real name. As it can result in photos like this being posted:

  • Raven Sherbert

    It’s been fun guys. See you next time 🙂

  • Camille King

    So what does it mean when 84.9% of the Canadian population have a cell phone? That 35% don’t “need” it?

  • xunleaded

    Do you not understand what the word majority means? Might want to check in the english dictionary. He wasnt talking about you. You are not the majority.

  • xunleaded

    Hes a 31 year old idiot looking for a fight. He doesnt even understand what the word majority means. He automatically thinks youre talking about him. If he doesnt need it, he obviously isnt the majority, so nobody was speaking for him. This is how smart he is.

  • definingsound

    Saying “don’t buy it if you don’t like it” has no straw man, and cannot be a straw man argument. Straw man example: pointing out issues with muslim terrorists, and concluding that we ought not to allow Syrian refugees. The straw man (muslim terrorists) has nothing to do with the issue (Syrian refugees).

    What you’re trying to say is that wireless service is essential, cannot be lived without, and that Canadians are forced to choose from price-competition-avoiding oligopolistic suppliers.

  • jay

    there is easy way to fix that for once and for all. we will sign all with rogers the next 3 years and nobody with telus and bell. than we see what happens. is really a joke all have the same price and service…

  • Mavis Finnamore

    ACORN Canada is trying to get the telcos to offer low cost services, but monopolies are reluctant to change. I suggest, we offer them a deal: either lower their prices or allow low price services from abroad, like those in Africa or Asia to come in and compete directly with them. Everybody should support “Internet for All”.

  • Wasnt there something recently about them not being able to screw around with prices and shit

  • John Smith

    Why is everyone complaining, this is Canada, you should expect to be ripped off. Simply put, Rogers and Bell are sharing the same bed as the government. The Canadian government will never stick up for the consumer. As far as the CRTC is concerned, well that is a joke.
    I was with Bell then I went to Rogers, only to be taken advantage of, now I’m back with Bell, now I need to leave them. And I don’t know where to go. It is one vicious circle. And it won’t be long before Bell has it’s own search engine, so there will be more propaganda and higher prices. Then when there is a threat from an outside company offering better rates, Bell and Rogers gets together and lies to the public.

  • squirmybeatle20

    Not buy. Confiscate as unjust enrichment.

  • AssHat900

    You misspelled seize the means of production.