The NPD and the Conservatives have agreed to put forward a motion today to question recent wireless plan price increases by the Big 3 and how they will affect consumers. Toronto NDP MP Peggy Nash’s motion will be supported by the Harper Government, a spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore told GlobalNews.
However, spokesman Jake Enwright criticized the NDP for not supporting the government’s budget this year which had plans to cap domestic roaming fees, saying “The NDP have been silent on wireless and digital policies since the summer.”
Nash fought back to say the NDP has long supported capping roaming rates in the past:
“We need to do a lot more to make wireless services more affordable for Canadians,”
“The Conservatives have been buying ads and patting themselves on the back about wireless prices but this is a concrete example for consumers of their failure to create competition and better prices.”
Last year, the NDP also called for Parliamentary Hearings to question Ottawa’s wireless plans.
Nash also wants the committee to report back by the end of April–but Conservative MP Joyce Bateman who sits on the committee says it’s unrealistic to have the report completed with the Easter break coming up soon.
Nash’s motion reads the following and she also cited increases such as a recent $5/month plan hike across the board by Rogers, Telus and Bell:
That the Standing Committee on Industry, science and technology undertake a study of recent wireless plan price increases by Canadian wireless carriers and their impact on the affordability of life for consumers and report its findings to the House by April 30, 2014.
Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said although there was a $5/month increase, their most popular data plans decreased by $5/month. He also reiterated “Wireless is one of Canada’s most competitive industries, and that’s reflected in ongoing price competition.”
Rogers spokeswoman Jennifer Kett said the company would be eager to participate in the study but also emphasized “Like any business, we regularly adjust our prices and the services we offer.”
Just yesterday Industry Minister James Moore tweeted the Federal Government has received its payment of $5.27 billion from the 700MHz auction and licenses have been transferred.
Today was the deadline for 700mhz auction licence winners to submit their full payments. All $5.27B has been paid & licences transferred.
— James Moore (@JamesMoore_org) April 2, 2014
The study will reveal what we already know—competition in Canada is limited unless there’s a regional fourth carrier, like we’ve seen in these various price plans.