Canada reports price reductions for data plans although more progress is needed

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

May 4, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians rely on wireless connectivity for working, attending school, doing their finances and connecting with friends and family-making access to high quality and affordable wireless services absolutely essential. That’s why the Government of Canada has introduced measures to make wireless services more affordable, including driving competition through its spectrum policies and keeping providers accountable for their pricing.

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. After more than a year of tracking, the latest data show a majority of these data plans across Canada have seen price declines between 9 and 25 percent compared to benchmark prices collected in early 2020.

Minister Champagne also announced the publication of the 2020 Price Comparison Study of Telecom Services, an annual report that tracks the prices for wireless, home Internet and mobile Internet services. While these results are distinct from the quarterly benchmark, the trend they have recorded is similar. The annual study found that in the low- to mid-level service range, prices have declined between 19 and 28 percent compared to 2019.

The government has made clear that, over two years, the three major wireless providers and their flanker brands, which represent 90 percent of the national market, are expected to offer plans in the 2 GB to 6 GB range that are 25 percent cheaper than the established benchmarks. If these options are not offered to Canadians, the government will look at other regulatory tools to further increase competition in the marketplace and help Canadian consumers make better-informed decisions about their telecom services.

Quotes

“Improving affordability, competition and innovation in wireless plans is a priority for our government. I am encouraged to see declining prices on a majority of plans across Canada. There is still more work to be done, and we will continue working with service providers in the coming year to make sure all Canadians have access to more affordable options.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • This quarter of wireless pricing data covers the period from January to March 2021.

  • On average, Canadians were using about 2.9 GB of data per month in 2019.

  • The benchmark price, or the price to which the 25 percent 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.

  • In Quebec, prices for the 2 GB and 4 GB data plans were already lower than the January 2020 benchmark price.

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