Government of Canada continues to show progress on reducing prices for cellphone data plans
Latest quarterly reporting shows continued price reductions for mid-range plans
November 5, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
Canadians are more connected than ever before, and they rely on telecommunications services to be connected at work, school and home. Access to high-quality and affordable services is essential, which is why the Government of Canada has introduced measures to reduce the cost of wireless services. The commitment to track the reduction of costs for 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 of wireless pricing data on 2 GB to 6 GB data plans, which covers the July to September 2021 period. The latest data show that prices for most mid-range plans have decreased by between 10% and 25% compared to the benchmark prices collected in early 2020 and that prices of mid-range data plans are continuing to move in the right direction.
- 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
- reserved 50 MHz in the 3500 MHz spectrum auction for small and regional telecom companies
Over a two-year period, 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 national benchmarks. If they do not meet this goal, the government will look to other regulatory tools to further increase competition in the marketplace and reduce prices.
“Access to high-quality and affordable wireless services is no longer a luxury for Canadians. In my role as minister, my priority is to improve affordability, competition and innovation in the wireless services available to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. This report shows important progress toward our goals, but there remains significant work to be done.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
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.
The two-year period to reduce wireless prices ends in March 2022, following a March 2020 announcement to track wireless prices.
This quarter’s results track plans over the July to September period and do not include recently reduced-price plans introduced in October. These results will be reflected in next quarter’s reporting.
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
Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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