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Canada’s Wireless Pricing Seen as the Worst in Developed World: Study

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A new study from Finland-based boutique management consultancy, Rewheel, research detailing the state of 4G wireless pricing for Q1 2018 shows Canada ranking at the bottom when compared to other nations in the developed world.

The report takes a look at how much 4G data can be purchased with the equivalent of 30 euros (about $46 CAD) in European Union and OECD markets for smartphone and data-only plans.

The first chart shows how many 4G gigabytes can be purchased for smartphone (April 2018 pricing) plans which also include 1,000 minutes and at least 3 Mbit/s download speeds for video, if you had 30 euros ($46 CAD).

As you can see below, Canada ranks near the tail end with only 2GB, with only Hungary, South Korea, Malta and Greece trailing behind us (get real if you think we’re going to get unlimited data plans):

Canada 4G rewheel research

Now here’s a chart showing Canada as dead last according to Rewheel’s research, when it comes to data-only mobile broadband plans:

Data only mobile plans

According to Rewheel, “The country median gigabyte prices in Korea, Canada, United States, Germany and Japan continue to be a universe apart compared to the country median price (€0.8/GB) of the competitive 4-MNO French market,” adding “In Canada and the United States operators continue to charge exorbitant mobile broadband gigabyte prices.”

Rogers, Telus and Bell charge data overages of $70 per gigabyte. While our data overages continue to rise, EU28 and OECD median data charges keep declining, now at 0.84 euros and 1.1 euros respectively ($1.29 CAD and $1.69 CAD) per gigabyte.

According to University of Ottawa Law Professor, Michael Geist, who shared the study, he says:

In addition to outrageously expensive wireless data plans, Canadians also face huge overage charges (more than a billion dollars per year generated in the wireless overage cash grab) and steadily increasing roaming charges. Yet when it came to introducing greater resale competition, the CRTC rejected new measures that it admitted could result in some improvement to affordability.

Geist cites examples of how a Rogers smartphone plan in Ontario with 80GB of data costs $405 per month, while consumers in the UK can get 100 GB for a mere $46 CAD (30 euros).

He also noted if Bell subscriber wanted a 500GB mobile broadband plan for 30 euros ($46 CAD) like in Israel, it would cost $1500 CAD for 500GB from Bell ($50GB for $150 + $3/GB overages). Ouch.

Data isn’t getting any cheaper in Canada. Rogers, Telus and Bell recently submitted proposals for data-only, lower-cost wireless plans, which had prices starting at $25 for 400MB of data, which some Canadians called a “joke” in comments to the CRTC in the latter’s public consultation process.

What do you think about the state of wireless data pricing in Canada?

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