Government of Canada provides update on reducing prices for wireless services
Prices for a majority of mid-range data plans across Canada have decreased since price tracking began over a year ago
July 30, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
Now more than ever, Canadians are relying on telecommunications services for work, school, finances and health care—making access to high-quality and affordable services essential. That’s why the Government of Canada has introduced measures to make wireless services more affordable, including keeping providers accountable for their pricing. The commitment to reduce the cost of some of the most popular wireless plans by 25% over two years is a critical part of these efforts.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the publication of the latest quarter wireless pricing data on 2 GB to 6 GB data plans. The latest data show that prices for a majority of these plans have decreased by between 9% and 25% compared to the benchmark prices collected in early 2020.
Enhancing competition will contribute to better prices for consumers. That is why the government has taken the following steps to increase competition in the marketplace:
- set out pro-competition rules for the 600 MHz band spectrum auction that led to regional providers more than doubling their share of low-band spectrum;
- issued a policy direction to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that requires the Commission to consider how its decisions can promote competition, affordability, consumer interests and innovation; and
- reserved 50 MHz in the 3500 MHz spectrum auction for small and regional telecom companies.
Over two years, the three major wireless providers and their flanker brands, which represent 90% of the national market, are expected to offer plans in the 2 GB to 6 GB range that are 25% cheaper than the established benchmarks. If they do not meet this goal, the government will look to other regulatory tools to further increase competition in the marketplace and help reduce prices.
“Improving affordability, competition and innovation in wireless services is a priority for our government. While I’m encouraged by the decreasing prices for a majority of plans across Canada, there is still progress needed to meet our goal. We will continue working with service providers to ensure all Canadians have access to more affordable wireless services.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
On average, Canadians were using 2.9 GB of data per month in 2019
The benchmark price, or the price to which the 25% reduction will apply, is based on prices advertised on company websites in early 2020 for postpaid, bring your own device (BYOD), unlimited talk and text 4G/LTE plans in the 2 GB to 6 GB range.
While distinct from the quarterly benchmark price tracking, the 2020 Price Comparison Study shows a similar trend, with prices for the low- to mid-level service range decreasing by between 19% and 28% compared to 2019.
The benchmark price tracking is part of a suite of federal initiatives to improve the quality, coverage and price of telecommunications services, which includes the Universal Broadband Fund, a $2.75-billion investment designed to help connect all Canadians to high-speed Internet. Up to $50 million of the $2.75-billion total is available to support mobile connectivity projects that primarily benefit Indigenous peoples.
- Backgrounder: Offering Canadian consumers more affordable options for their wireless services
- Mobile plans: More affordable wireless choices
- Universal Broadband Fund
- Connect to Innovate Program – Project status updates
- Canada Infrastructure Bank announcement
- High-Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA
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