A recent study shows that CRTC’s new wireless cancellation policy may have boosted the cellphone charges on the lower end of the spectrum.
The new laws that allow Canadians to change or cancel their cellphone plans after two years instead of three have increased the cost of basic cellular plans, even as prices for heavy-use cellphone plans have come down because of new challengers in the market.
The price of mobile services has become a hot political issue, with the Conservative government trying to drive prices down by encouraging smaller companies to challenge the dominance of the big three: BCE Inc.’s Bell, Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp.
Regulators brought in those new rules in December 2013, putting an effective end to three-year contracts and aiming to stimulate competition by letting people switch carriers. But for the bottom end, this means higher prices.
The government-commissioned Wall Report showed the monthly charge for basic mobile wireless service rose to $36 in 2014 from $31 in 2013, and $34 in 2010. High-volume users, however, saw their prices decline to $80 from $94 in 2013, and from $110 in 2010.
Despite some improvements, the report found Canadian prices are still far higher, almost without exception, than those in other countries.
A basic, light-use, cellular plan in Italy costs the equivalent of $10.85 a month, for example, but $35.70 in Canada. And an “unlimited everything” plan (although it’s capped at 2 GB of data) costs $92 in Canada at the Big Three, but that same plan costs $58 in Britain and $50 in France.
(CBC.ca contributed to this report)