CRTC Study Comparing International Roaming Fees Coming Soon

Crtc roaming fees

The CRTC reiterated this week it has commissioned a study to compare international roaming fees charged by Canadian telecoms versus the world, and it should be out soon.

According to the CRTC, “The study is comparing the fees that Canadians pay with the fees charged in other countries. It will help us decide the best way to ensure the fees that Canadians pay are fair.”

Roaming fees are the rates you pay when you travel outside of Canada. Most wireless carriers have a U.S. or international daily roaming fee.

For example, Rogers chargers $12/day and $15/day for U.S. and international roaming, if your plan does not support roaming. Telus charges $14/day and $16/day, while Bell charges $13/day and $16/day for U.S. and international roaming, respectively.

Now, there’s a limit to how much you can be charged from these daily roaming plans according to the CRTC Wireless Code, which caps it at $100 per billing cycle, unless you agree to pay more. But the problem here? Your travel dates may not align with your cellphone billing cycle, so you could easily pay more than $100.

We are seeing some wireless plans that now include U.S. roaming, North American roaming or international roaming, such as plans kicked off by Quebecor’s Freedom Mobile. These roaming plans can save you money versus paying daily roaming charges.

You could also buy eSIM data through companies such as Airalo or Keepgo to stay online while abroad. The only issue is not getting 2-factor texts, but you could set up a line with the TextNow app for example, to still get them. Or switch to app-based 2-factor codes if possible.

This taxpayer-funded CRTC study won’t exactly reveal anything we don’t already know. One response to the study’s upcoming release on X, tells the tale.

“I could have given you the information you seek for free. I hope you’re ready to find out just how bad Canadians are being raped by the Big 3 and I hope you’re ready to change it,” said @theJMan68.

The CRTC was asked by Industry, Science and Technology Minister François-Philippe Champagne last March to look into international roaming rates. This was because roaming rates were increased by Telus, Koodo, Bell and Virgin Plus. Surprisingly, Rogers did not follow suit.

CRTC CEO Vicky Eatrides replied to Champagne on the same day last March, to say a study on roaming rates would be forthcoming.

“Our preliminary results confirm what many Canadians are feeling — that international roaming rates we pay are higher. We will be commissioning a study to examine this issue in greater detail,” said Eatrides. It’s been over a year and the study has yet to be released, but the final report should be out soon.

We’re not holding our breath though that the study will bring any major changes to the roaming rates Canadians pay. It will just provide optics for the government to say they are “taking action” to try to lower wireless bills. It’s unlikely the government will force private companies to lower pricing with legislation.

What do you do when you travel abroad with your cellphone? Share your roaming ideas in the comments below.

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