Canadian Cell Phone Plans Most Expensive in the World?

Many Canadians feel the pain every time they need to renew their cell phone plans, many believe they are paying too much for their mobile phone contracts despite government promises to reduce these costs and wanting to implement initiatives to encourage more competition in the industry. These promises and cost reduction never happened, in contrary, Canadians pay more money for their cell phone usage every year.

Cell phone plans in Canada
Canadian cell phone plans

Canadian prices are among the highest in the World

A Finnish independent telecom research company called Rewheel releases reports on the cost of mobile data in 50 different countries twice a year. The most recent edition, released in May of last year, listed Canada as one of the nations with the highest wireless charges.

Nah, Canada has not the most expansive cell phone plans in the World, Canada is only on the second spot, everyone else has cheaper rates, only South Africa is more expansive than Canada. So, the question arises, are cell phone companies in Canada overcharging Canadians? The answer is big YES!

A 4G and 5G smartphone contract with at least 1000 minutes, 10 Mbit/s, and 100 gigabytes was priced 14 times higher in Canada than in France in April 2022. According to the data, Canada’s cost per gigabyte is seven times more than Australia’s, 25 times higher than Ireland’s and France’s, and 1,000 times higher than Finland’s.

READ MORE: Rogers-Shaw merger, what Canadian consumers need to know

For instance, five minutes spent scrolling through Instagram would cost 20 cents in Canada but only half a cent in France. A half-hour show would cost $1.03 in Canada and $8.01 in Ireland to download on YouTube. An complete season of Wednesday would cost roughly $1.62 in Australia and $10.22 in Canada to get via Netflix. (All prices are in Canadian dollars and are based on the currency rates as of December 1, 2022.)

Back in April of 2023, we have reported the merger of Rogers and Shaw in Canada with special focus on future price development, and we were right. Prices did not come down as promised by Rogers and government plea to the company to do such move, in contrary, cell phone plans are more expansive than years before. So much for promises and government approval for Roger and Shaw merger, I guess government likes big money over Canadians.

Most expansive cell phone plans in the world
Cell phone plans in Canada

Beside the most expansive cell phone plans in the World, Canadians have to pay the most expansive roaming charges in the World as well! Many Canadians who traveled abroad and did not buy local SIM card or did not turn their cell phone off have been greeted back home with even higher cell phone bill than usual. Roaming charges in Canada are as high as $15 per day! Whether cell phone users receive text messages, send only one text message ore take a phone call! Canadian cell companies charge $15 per day flat whenever your cell phone makes contact with cell phone tower! If you travel and stay ten days abroad, your cell phone bill could end up being $150 + HST higher than usual!

READ MORE: Consumer spending in Canada shifting for good or worse

Only 3 providers in Canada

Most Canadians do have more than one option when selecting their cellular provider thanks to the country’s competitive market, and some may even go for a value brand that is more affordable. However, many of those value brands are actually owned by Rogers, Bell, or Telus.

Cell phone provider in Canada
Mobile plan providers in canada

There are many complex reasons why Canadian cell phone plans are pricey, but there are three main causes that especially drive up monthly costs:

inadequate infrastructure
little opposition
Discouraged government regulation

Although it has promised to cut rates, the CRTC’s success has been questioned. Plans in Canada are, on average, less expensive than comparable plans in the United States, according to a 2022 analysis financed by the Canadian government. However, American MVNOs, which provide cheaper rates than the nation’s own Big Three of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, were left out of the analysis.

The CRTC promoted legislation in 2022 that, in principle, would persuade more MVNOs to provide more affordable plans to Canadians. Those looking for legislation to spur rapid market competition were disappointed by the decision’s restriction to carriers currently active in Canada.

The recent merger of Rogers and Shaw did little to change Canadians’ pessimism toward the telecom sector. In an interview with CBC News, Carleton University expert on telecom policy Ben Klass encapsulated the sentiments of many Canadians: “This is a merger that is going to help the billionaire families that own these companies, not average Canadians who have to pay mobile bills at the end of the month.”

Canadians paid a pricey $7.75 per gigabyte of mobile data in 2022, according to a recent HelloSafe analysis. That is astoundingly 155 times more than Israelis and 26 times more than people in France.

The international comparison also showed that the most expensive countries for mobile data were South Korea, Switzerland, and New Zealand, with Canada coming in last at position 19.

The analysis used data from a sample of more than 5,000 mobile plans from around the world that had gathered to compare prices for 2022. It effectively measured the cost of buying 1 GB of mobile data by accounting for stand-alone data prices on wireless smartphone subscriptions.

So, knowing that we pay the most for our cell phone plans and data in the world, how does that make you feel? Are we worse than third world countries? Are we less developed than them, or is here something else in place?

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