Why Unlimited Data Plans in Canada Will Never Happen, Explain Rogers and Bell

A recent CBC News article questions why Canada doesn’t have unlimited data plans, unlike our neighbours down south, where the five largest wireless players—AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular—all offer plans with unlimited data.

CBC News asked the Big 3 for comment as to why there aren’t any unlimited data plans in Canada. Their explanations on why you can’t get unlimited data may help you sleep better at night.

Bell told the CBC there are already numerous plans with “generous” amounts of wireless data, and also explained how the usage-based approach is required to pay for “tremendous costs” needed to expand their high speed networks nationwide, plus also cope with the surge in mobile data use.

Rogers spokesperson Andrew Garas emailed CBC News to say, “It just isn’t feasible to offer unlimited plans,” while also noting the company has numerous tools for customers to manage and monitor their data usage.

Telus did not respond to the CBC’s request for comment.

CBC News said the closest unlimited data plan they could find was from MTS, a $75 per month plan with 15GB of high speed data, then throttled after the latter limit is reached. But this option may be jeopardy with Bell recently finalizing their acquisition of MTS thanks to regulatory approvals.

Last year, Rogers and Bell provided similar statements to CBC News, when consumer group OpenMedia was advocating for unlimited and affordable wireless plans. Rogers said at the time “The network capacity isn’t there and it would weaken performance for everyone,” while Bell said the network-based approach was “by far the most economical” for most customers.

Years ago, when the Conservative government was in power, they noted in 2008, Canada’s incumbents held 97% of wireless airwaves in an ad blitz against the Big 3. While those numbers may have slightly changed today, there’s no questioning Rogers, Telus and Bell still hold an iron clad grip on the wireless market in Canada, in what has been called an oligopoly by some, including Canada’s Competition Bureau, in a recent interview with BNN (thanks @BenKlass).

Do you want unlimited data plans in Canada? If they ever do arrive in Canada–how much are you willing to pay for them?