Canadians Still Pay Some of the Highest Prices for Wireless and Internet in the World, Shows Fed Report

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada on Wednesday shared the results of consulting firm Wall Communications’ fifteenth annual telecom price comparison study, which is commissioned by the federal government.

Wall Communications’ report analyzes and compares prices for both mobile wireless and fixed-line broadband internet services within Canada, and internationally across all G7 countries and Australia. The report divides available service packages into “levels” based on what they include.

In 2022, pricing for lower-tier wireless service levels in Canada either remained the same or actually increased as compared to 2021. Only higher-tier service baskets saw their pricing decline in the year.

Across all levels of mobile wireless service, Wall Communications reported that prices across Canada went down by an unweighted average decrease of just 2.6% year-over-year. While that is certainly an improvement, Canada remains on the upper end of global wireless costs and prices in the rest of the world are declining faster.

“We’ve reached the point where confirmation of Canada’s expensive wireless and Internet services isn’t news,” said Michael Geist (@mgeist), Canada research chair in internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, who shared some staggering highlights from Wall Communications’ report in a series of tweets.

For an unlimited talk and text bucket with 20-49 GB (Level 7) or 50-99 GB (Level 8) of data, Canadians pay well over twice as much as cellular customers in the U.K., France, and Italy. What’s more, pricing in the latter countries continues to decline faster than in Canada.

Broadband internet is a similar story, unfortunately. In Canada, internet customers pay double or more for fast, unlimited broadband service with speeds in excess of 250 Mbps. Between 2019 and 2021, fixed broadband internet pricing in Canada went up by up to 13.4%.

“This is the government’s own commissioned study. The bottom line is that Canadian prices remain on the high end worldwide and are declining faster elsewhere. Competition remains a problem and approval of the Rogers-Shaw merger won’t help,” Geist concluded in a follow-up tweet.

The $26 billion Rogers-Shaw merger, originally announced in 2021, is currently awaiting approval from Industry, Science and Technology Minister François-Philippe Champagne after clearing all other regulatory hurdles. As part of the merger, Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile will be sold to Quebecor’s Vidéotron.

According to the Wall Communications report, Freedom undercut incumbents by almost 21% and 39% in level 3 and level 7 wireless baskets, respectively, and offered about 5% cheaper services in level 8.