Canadian Wireless Prices on a “Swift Decline” Says C.D. Howe Institute

Cd howe wireless prices

The non-profit think tank, the C.D. Howe Institute, has released a new graphic detailing the Consumer Price Index for cellular services in Canada, noting a “swift decline” has been happening since June 2017.

A Consumer Price Index tracks changes in the prices of weighted average consumer goods and services bought by households.

According to the C.D. Howe Institute’s graphic, it tracks the wireless services component of the Consumer Price Index from Statistics Canada data.

The think tank concludes, “The data indicate that prices for cellular services declined by almost 17 percent as of December 2019 from a high point in June 2017. In contrast, Canada’s all-item Consumer Price index increased by 4.6 percent between June 2017 and December 2019.”

In other words, wireless services declined in price while other consumer goods and services increased during that period.

C.D. Howe adds, “with increased de-bundling of smartphone devices from wireless services, Statistics Canada modified its index in November 2018 to exclude devices (i.e., to only track wireless services).”

So from November 2018 to December 2019, the CPI for wireless services dropped about 9 percent, while the decline in July 2019 matches up to recent additions of “unlimited data plans” (throttled once initial buckets are used up), says C.D. Howe.

Rogers reacted to the C.D. Howe Institute’s conclusion by saying, “We were the first national carrier to introduce unlimited data plans with no overage fees, helping our customers get the most out of their wireless services and further strengthening the choice & value we offer our customers.”

We’ve seen more data being added to wireless plans over the past few years, but data overages are still expensive for those not subscribed to ‘no overage plans’.

Sub-brands of the ‘Big 3’, such as Fido, Koodo Mobile and Virgin Mobile all charge $10/100MB ($100/1GB) for data overages for those not on plans with overage protection. Virgin Mobile data overages are at $10/100MB for up to 800MB, then $0.15/MB thereafter, or $15/100MB (total of $110 for 1GB in overages).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government says it plans to reduce wireless prices by 25% in two years, either through the introduction of MNVOs or regulation. No details of the plan and how it will be achieved have been released, yet.

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