B.C. to Push Federal Govt. for ‘More Affordable Cellphone Options’ in 2019

The B.C. government’s 2019 throne speech took place yesterday, outlining the province’s goals for the year. Part of the speech focused on stronger consumer protections, specifically a push for lower cellphone bills.

The throne speech, read by Lt.-Gov Janet Austin, cited how “high cellphone costs are a major burden for middle-class families.”

“Canadians pay some of the highest fees for phones and data in the world. Consumers deserve to know the true costs of the services they buy. This year, your government will take action to improve billing transparency, beginning with a consultation and legislative review,” added Austin.

The B.C. government continued to say it would “give consumers the tools they need to get the least expensive possible service and encourage the federal government to deliver more affordable cellphone options for people.”

The CRTC mandates protocols for the country’s telecoms, and for the B.C. government to suggest pressure on Ottawa will actually lower cellphone bills, will be quite the challenge.

Canadians have seen recent price increases from the country’s incumbent carriers. Rogers and Bell, along with their flanker brands Fido and Virgin Mobile, recently increased the price of the $60/10GB promo plan from 2017, by $5 per month. Telus followed suit but with a larger $10 per month increase, but its flanker brand Koodo—for now—has not decided on any price hikes.

Last month, Sweden-based Tefficient released a report studying global wireless rates, noting Canada was an outlier, as incumbents enjoyed the highest revenue per gigabyte in the world.

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As for other consumer protections laid out in the B.C. throne speech, the government said it would “crack down on unfair payday loan practices,” and also debut new laws to tackle “the unfair sale and re-sale of concert and event tickets.”

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