Chart Shows Sky High Data Prices Canadians are Paying vs the World


If you have been following the incumbents’ quarterly earnings reports recently, you may have already noticed that they are posting nice revenues, and as smartphone adoption rises on their networks, data usage rises as well, driving more revenue.

There have been tons of reports saying that Canadians pay among the highest prices in the world, while carriers argue that their services are the best in the world. Still, when you look at how much others pay for the same gigabyte of data, well, somehow you start to wonder …

Here is a chart put together by Sweden-based telecommunications consultancy Tefficient (via Alphabeatic) showing Canada versus the rest of the world (okay, parts of it).


Canada, just like Finland, can be spotted immediately, because it is separated from other countries. And here is some explanation of this nice chart: It measures how many gigabytes of data typical cellphone users in different countries use per month, and also how much they pay for it. The prices are in euros.

Canadians seem to use relatively little data – a little more than 1 gigabyte – whereas Finnish people use more than 7 gigabytes.

But there is a major difference: In Finland, carriers make about 2 euros (less than CAD$3) for every gigabyte of data used. Canadian carriers make about 45 euros (roughly CAD$62) for every single gigabyte of data used.


  • Ang

    Look at the gap between US and Canada! Really wish T-mobile had come here and shaken their “best in the world” attitude

  • Ang

    it would also be interesting to see the number of players in each of these markets as well. I’m pretty sure competition has driven prices down for a lot of them. Instead of ensuring healthy competition, the Canadian government has done nothing much to ensure we have options

  • KS

    Correct. In fact in recent times it appears the Canadian Government is rather inclined to protecting the interests of the few big players in the telecom industry.

  • iGard Anderson

    Finland population is 6 mil, Canada – 36 mil…

  • Finland population density: 17/km²
    Canada population density: 3/km²
    It’s not just about population, it’s about how much infrastructure is required to serve that population. Canada is a very big place with not many people in it, and nobody likes dead spots. Carriers have to invest quite a bit into building and maintaining towers that will serve all of our sparsely populated areas.
    Not saying it couldn’t be better, but just trying to be realistic about the comparison.

  • It’s worth noting that the United States has ten times the population density that we do, so for every tower T-mobile constructs and maintains, they have potentially ten times as many clients that they can serve with that tower. Not saying that it couldn’t be better than it is, but I doubt that we’ll ever have service as cheap as it is in the US, just based on infrastructure costs.

  • Mrleblanc

    You do realize that Canada is mostly empty territory and inhabitable space, right ? So this comparaison is completely stupid and flawed

  • Steve Rushford

    It’s hardly a secret that Canadians pay higher costs for cellular service. But I wish that the horizontal axis was for costs of data plans, rather that for aggregate revenues of companies…..the latter variable probably means different things in different countries.

  • Tired of it

    And the CRTC does what for consumers?

  • I wouldn’t say it’s COMPLETELY stupid and flawed. I’d say comparing only total population numbers is definitely more flawed. Of course I realize that much of Canada is uninhabited. Finland has a large amount of sparsely populated areas as well. Most countries do.
    Of course it’s not the only comparative figure to look at, but it does play into it quite a bit. Even if you take out three quarters of our land area and don’t include that, we still have a lower population density than Finland, and we’re still far lower than most other countries.

  • Kael

    If you look at the current coverage maps you will see that they cover very little of the country now! Its mostly blank! Ontario mostly empty. BC mostly empty, NWT empty. Quebec mostly empty. Alberta and Saskatchewan have the most coverage. (Saskatchewan having the cheapest rates in the country BTW!) Ontario having the most population of any province has the least coverage. Saskatchewan has one of the lowest populations but almost the entire province has coverage AND the lowest rates.

  • Alan Khalil

    you read the chart wrong. in canada its 45 eur per gigabyte, and in finland its 2 euros per gigabyte.
    The horizontal axis is clearly labeled PER Gbyte

  • “Canadian carriers make about 45 euros (roughly CAD$62) for every single gigabyte of data used.”

  • Alan Khalil

    but your finaland analysis is wrong “In Finland, carriers make about 2 euros (less than CAD$3) for every 7 GB of data used”

  • Ah, okay you’re right, I see it. Fixed. Thanks

  • Alan Khalil

    youre welcome. send free sh*t

  • Done and one. Send over your address in Finaland homie

  • Alan Khalil

    1 Nordicaland Rd

  • Perfect, thanks. It’s about to get real on xmas eve!

  • Dehop

    Canada population density: ~4/km^2

    Australia population density: ~3/km^2

    And yet, the Aussie telcos pull in only 15 EUR per month… a third of what the Canadian telcos make.

  • KS

    In the same way, relating population to lower data charges should also be wrong. Because with that logic, the most densely populated cities in Canada should be paying the least for their data.

    The truth is, Canadian telecom providers will say anything to justify higher prices, from sparsely distributed population to higher US dollar, while the CRTC overlooks. I’m sure if Canada’s population density became twice that of Finland, they’ll say they need to increase prices just because more people are using their services!

  • Riley Freeman

    i dont think we use less data, these plans are so horrible that you barely get any data so people rush for wifi spots as much as possible. I have unlimited data so the only time i use wifi is at home and i regularly hit 16gb per month. When you dont care how much data you use, it adds up fast.

    im with bell and have an iphone 7

  • Riley Freeman

    an american company cant come here on their own. It cost way too much to build out a network and you have to wait way too long. The only way prices go down is if an american carrier buys a canadian one and has similar offerings to what they do in the U.S.

    the problem with that is its not legal for a foreign entity to own a majority share in our telecommunications company. So we’re stuck

  • Moe

    Something is Wrong Here as I don’t know anyone who pays $62.00 CAN Per gigabyte of data used?

  • Moe

    Your posts are so refreshing. . . Nice to see intelligent posts once in a while. . . Great factual posts.

  • SV650

    The Australian government also subsidizes telecommunications services.

  • SV650

    Probably lots of folks who bought, for instance, a 2GB plan because it was a pricing sweet spot but use less than half, effectively doubling their cost per GB USED. many Canadians are still not big users of mobile data. Possibly due to sticker shock.

  • warpdrive

    Public Mobile….. 12gb over 3 months. Got 10 referrals so I’m paying $28 a month. Hope they run the promo again so more can jump on it.

  • johnnygoodface

    CRTC doesn’t care about how much it cost for consumers, they never did! To reduced the 3 years contract to 2, that they can do… with the side effect for us paying the same amount for the 3 years put onto a 2 years contract…

  • Lakh Jhajj

    and CRTC is busy approving BCE and MTC merger so competition can die and prices never come down instead go further up

  • Marc S

    Finland Area: 338,100 km² (130,600 sq miles)
    Canada: Area: 9.985 million km² (3.855 million sq miles)
    Just saying we have lots more ground and mountain to cover than other countries. More towers are required with less population to support the economic development so we pay for it.