The State of Canadian Wireless Price Changes Explained in One Chart [PIC]


Journalist Peter Nowak shares a simple chart he received from Geoff White, counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), on the state of Canadian wireless pricing and the changes that have happened in about two years. The following details the changes of a basic smartphone plan from one of the ‘Big 3’, from August 2012 to March 2014—check it out below:

Smartphone plans

As you can see in the ‘Difference’ column, nothing has really changed aside from more minutes (at a time when voice usage is decreasing), a smaller voicemail inbox and the significant jump in pricing, up 46%.

The PIAC explains to Nowak:

“In just two years the basic entry point into smartphone ownership (and with a bare minimum of data) has increased 46 per cent. This and similar price increases cannot be seen as positive for anyone except the service providers themselves.”

Nowak also breaks down J.D. Power’s claim of “on average, monthly bills for wireless service have dropped by $7 for customers in Canada, helping to improve overall satisfaction,” as stated in their recent report on wireless satisfaction. The bottom line: wireless pricing isn’t going down, it’s increasing.



  • MG

    The only rather big detail missing from this chart is the contract length, 3y vs. 2y while keeping the price of phone with subsidy the same. This is the explanation why prices went up… Companies need to make the money back on the phones and they now only have 24months versus 36 in the past

  • Fireeast

    But if you do the math contracts in reality should have only increase by $5 ish. (Price of the phones did go up by about $50, below is done using pricing from Bell page on a Samsung S5 since the Iphone is being discounted for the new one.)
    3 Year agreement we would pay about $189 for the phone leaving $510 over 36 months which comes out to $14.17 of your monthly bill price minus what ever the true price the carrier is buying the phone for.
    2 Year agreement we would pay about 229 for the phone leaving $470 over 24 months which comes out to $19.58 of your monthly bill price.
    So by taking $19.58-$14.17= $5.41 is how much our bills should have increased by.
    And a more realistic comparison is how back in Aug 2012 you could get a 200 minute 6gb plan for $60 would now cost you $125.
    I just wish the new players would merge already and become a real threat.

  • Lukas

    $10 per 500 MB is equal $0.02 per 1 MB, not $0.05 … so big price hike.

  • wstoneman

    Yeah exactly! I am still on the fab10 75 plan from bell, 200 minutes and 6 gb, plus $10 for sharing with my ipad. Now it costs $60 for the voice (device plus), then $65 for 6gb data, then $10 to share data. I dont understand how they can double the price for these plans. I could care less about the unlimited talk… I rarely talk on my phone anymore and the 200 minutes was always enough.

    I will not be renewing when it ends in October, I will just go month to month. I am definitely not getting rid of this plan.

  • erth

    i as well have a great old plan with bell. i have 6 gb of data, unlimited text, and 150 mins of talk, which i hardly ever use. it is the data/text i wanted. i pay $74 per month. no voicemail. do care…
    they keep bugging me to upgrade my phone, but the same plan is $106 (with discounts…). i buy my new phones outright from apple and keep the plan going month to month.
    don’t you just love progress…

  • iFone

    absolutely, $0.05 per mb equals to $25 per 500 MB. That’s 2.5 times greater what it was before. Thieves!

  • Eket

    This says it is talking about the “entry point into smartphone ownership”, but those plans are the minimum plans for *premium* smartphones. You can get a cheaper plan if you get a cheap smartphone.

  • Charlie Brown

    But the price of the phone on contract did not stay the same. They went up.

    A good start for reforming Canada’s wireless industry would be divorcing plan prices from device prices, like T-Mobile has done in the US.

  • DoctorT

    Why doesn’t Ottawa just regulate the phone prices, and set hard caps on prices for a certain quantity of service? ie. Every gigabyte of data = max $10 (or something along those lines for every aspect of phone service). The EU has been doing this for years, and their prices are fantastic compared to ours!