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Canada Cellphones Communications Network The Almighty Buck The Internet Wireless Networking

Canadian Cellphone Bills Are Some of the Highest In the World, Says Report ( 184

Freshly Exhumed shares a report from Straight: A report released this week by the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) confirms that Canada ranks among the top three most costly countries for mobile wireless plans. Comparing the U.K, Italy, France, Australia, Japan, and the U.S. on six tiers of pricing -- which looked at talk-time, texts, and data -- the document shows that Canada has the most expensive mid-range and higher-tier plans in the world. "It is unacceptable that Canadians continue to pay ever-rising prices year after year for something as critical as mobile communications services," said Katy Anderson, Digital Rights Advocate at OpenMedia.
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Canadian Cellphone Bills Are Some of the Highest In the World, Says Report

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  • That's why I know a lot of people without cellphones. Basic packages are around $15~$20 and only give you about 10 hours of voice calls. You can pay $10~$20 extra on top of that for something like 100~500MB of data. It's just insane.

    And there's basically monopolies on the coverage everywhere, you only have options if you live in or near the big cities. Get outside of Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal and your list of options gets really small, really fast.

    • by kwerle ( 39371 )

      On the one hand, I feel bad for my northern neighbors.

      On the other hand, how the hell are you going to pay to cover that huge area with such a small population in most places?

      • On the other hand, how the hell are you going to pay to cover that huge area with such a small population in most places?

        That's the point. They don't. Most of Canada isn't covered by cell phone signal.
        Countries with similar population density such as Sweden and even Australia have better cell phone plans so Canada is getting ripped off no mater what excuse you can find.

      • They only need to cover the cities and the one road that goes west to east across the country.

    • That's why I know a lot of people without cellphones.

      Sounds fun, wish mobile was more expensive where I live.

    • All 3 of the major carriers (Telus, Rogers, Bell) have a special going right now with their budget subsidiaries (Koodo, Fido, Virgin):

      $60 / mth for unlimited Canada-wide minutes, unlimited SMS/MMS, voicemail, call display, etc, etc, etc, with 10 GB of data.

      The Fido and Virgin deals are actually 5 GB plans with a bonus 5 GB for the first 12 months. The Koodo plan is actually 10 GB of data.

      Note: These plans are only available until the 19th of Dec, and they haven't done much advertising for them.

      These are f

  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @04:10PM (#55747735) Homepage
    I live in Canada and can't believe what people are willing to pay, but that's just it -- the phone companies charge it and they pay it. Myself, I have a pay-as-you-go plan where I can buy minutes in a $100 chunk which doesn't expire for 365 days, and for several years I've never maxed out that $100 so it keeps rolling over. I think I have about $250 still in there right now. That's the best deal I could find, as it's only $8.33 per month, but I only use it for a few phone calls and maybe about a dozen texts per week with my wife. No data, I just use WiFi everywhere. My wife, on the other hand, with her iPhone 7 is paying around $60/month including data on a Rogers account, I think.
    • They passed laws that pre-paid credit cards and pre-paid store cards cannot expire anymore, so pre-paid phone cards should not expire too. You can be sure bribes were involved to exclude phone companies out of that law.

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        Nope, provincial governments put the gift card law in, but federal government regulates the telcos.
    • I do the same thing as you, but with PetroMobility, 25$ for 120 days, so 75$/year, it's 10 per minutes/SMS. I rarely use more than 15$ for a 120 days period.

    • by bdh ( 96224 )

      I'm on Speakout, as well. If you're going through 7-11 rather than PetroCanada, you can buy minutes in blocks as low as $25 for the year.

      I have co-workers who spend $350 a month for their family plans (two adults, two children). If they went with Speakout or similar, it would be closer to $7 a month. But then when you see two kids at the dinner table texting each other, or the adults making a 45 minute call on their cell phone when sitting right next to a landline, you see where why the telcos can charge wh

      • by RobinH ( 124750 )
        I'm on PC mobile actually, so it only has the 365 day option on $100 top-ups, but it looks like the coverage map for PC mobility (uses Bell towers) is better than Speakout. However, I have to admit that Speakout is certainly very good as well.
  • Anyone invested in Telus, Rogers, and Bell have had a good decade.

  • Cell phones are cheap in Saskatchewan. They have competition (sasktel) I just got new phones the other day and every fucking salesperson told me that there was no difference between carriers because "there's so much competition their pricing is identical" That's collusion.
  • ... is when enough people decide that they don't want to pay that much for it, and are willing to live without the service unless or until things change.

    After all, it's not ridiculous for a company to charge as much as people are willing to pay for a product or service, even if they pay it only because it is preferable to them than the inconvenience of not having it.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @04:28PM (#55747863) Journal

    If you look at the actual report, you'll find the differences between the prices in the US and Canada are not that dramatic. And they don't take into consideration all the lovely fees and service charges that get added to your cellular bill.

    Here's a direct link to the report, because the article itself gives almost no useful data: []

  • I got my Telus mobility bill just a couple days ago, it's just a few cents shy of $90 for a 1 GB data plan. I get about 300 minutes of call time (which I don't think I've ever gotten close to using) and unlimited texting nationwide (whoop de doo).

    I'm really thinking about going back to a dumb phone, or at least scrapping the data plan. 99% of the time I'm on WiFi anyway.

    • The prices vary greatly depending where you live.

      Here in SK with Koodo, I'm paying $48/mo for Unlimited Nationwide Calling (and roaming, I can be in BC and call NS for not a penny more!), Unlimited North American SMS/MMS (Canada and US), and 5GB of Data per month.

      I've yet to find a better deal anywhere else. I rarely go over 1GB data a month, so I don't have a use for "Unlimited" data.

      • Freedom Anywhere
        8gb/1gb roaming
        unlimited NA text voice roaming

      • by Straif ( 172656 )

        Sask tends to have the best rates and from what I've seen Ontario the worst. On the Telus site using a 6gb unlimited talk and text plan as a base you get:

        Sask = $55
        Ontario = $100 (but only 5gb)
        Quebec = $63

        Now I can see Quebec from my office window but I have to pay almost double for access to the same network. The Quebec cable company however does offer cell plans across the border which also happen to use the Telus network but at Quebec rates. So I can go with Telus and pay $100+ or switch to Video

      • by epine ( 68316 )

        I'm in BC on Koodo. After being badly overcharged a couple of years ago, I decided to turn off my data modem service until I had recouped the entire overcharge.

        This will take a while, as this is only saving me $5/month (measured against the impossibly small 25 MB/month plan). I must have misunderstood something in the TOS, but after a server crash (the only server in a company just coming out of post-2008 mothballs), just the panicky phone calls from the server room the following week (where it wasn't con

    • No here's the dumb part.

      I pay 35$+tx a month which is a little bit more than 40$ for unlimited calls across the country, 1 Gig data, unlimited texting nationwide and a voicemail box with 10 messages (the others offer only 3 VM with the base plan) on Koodo.
      Of course Koodo is using Telus' network since it's the same owner but most think it's better quality to be on a known brand like Telus.
    • My phone company is Canadian (Ting []). They are available all over the US and they're extremely cheap.

      Are they not available in Canada?

      • Yes they are located in Canada but none of the Canadian carriers will let them buy bandwidth as I recall which is why we can't get this option out here. If the federal government wanted to get competition going, they should force carriers to provide the possibility for companies like Ting to do here what they can do in the US.
        • by Luthair ( 847766 )

          Yep, in an odd twist we do require that cable, fibre and phone line networks be made available wholesale.

          Personally I'd like them to prevent network infrastructure operators from offering services to end users. Then we could have infrastructure companies competing with each other and service companies competing.

    • [] My brother told me Rogers is doing a 2 year promo for 10GB plan for $60. A few minutes later, he said Virgin is doing $55 and Koodo is doing $60 with no 2 year limit. You can switch to Koodo with your existing phone even if it is locked to Telus. I'm on $40 for 4GB on Public Mobile but never use that much since Shaw and Telus have so many WiFi hotspots in my town. But I hate that PM has no phone support but Koodo does. I left the $48 Manitoba plan for it and regret it.
  • Saskatchewan has some of the lowest rates, for example.

  • Rogers Wireless will slam charges in my T-Mobile phone. Had to call T-Mobile to have the charges reversed. Every. single. time. Very very abusive practice.
    • by BHS_Turf ( 8387 )

      I live in Victoria BC, and for years, I would roam onto AT&T out of Port Angeles every time I went near the water on that side. I don't know how many bills I had to get sorted before they stopped charging.

  • by nightfire-unique ( 253895 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @05:02PM (#55748121)

    .. I'd like to post a rant, but can't afford the data.

  • It's fucking bullshit that they get to have their cake and eat it too. If I go over one month, they get to charge me up the ass for it. But if I don't hit my limit the next month, there's absolutely no credit back. This is fucking bullshit. It should go both ways or no way at all. Fuck 'em.
  • I signed up for a Voice and 6GB data plan when the iPhone first came to Canada. It cost almost $85/mo (taxes in). It's still cheaper than any comparable plan you can get now.

    I got fed up and did the math. It would actually be cheaper to sign up with GoogleFi in the US, and just roam in Canada.

    So what I do now, is I use a flex data tablet plan. Costs $17 for 3GB, and $10/1GB after that, and I use a VOIP provider for voice and text, which costs less than a dollar a month for the number, and pennies a minute f

    • Same setup here, but $15 per month. With VoIP costs included I'm up to $18 per month or less.

    • What VOIP provider? Our Vonage bill is $41.58/mos ($27.99 + $13.59 in "Fees and Taxes") - which we barely even use.

      • is one time payment. Haven't really experienced any issues, but dealing with sip clients and no dynamic 911, not for me. No phone support, use their forums for help. Free calling list is fairly good. It's good to replace landlines, though.
      • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 )

        I use They're awesome for voice, but if you're a texter then you may want to look at other alternatives.

  • Cell phone usage is super super cheap. Like electricity cheap. So cheap that I have long ago stopped looking at the bills.
  • As long as I can remember just about everything in Canada is 20-30% more than in the U.S.. Sometimes 50% more, it varies as our dollar goes up and down like a yo-yo. Which we expect. The Bell-Rogers-Telus bunch just shove it in a little further.
  • 10 years ago I lived in Washington (state) and got a job commuting to Vancouver for work. I looked into getting a Canadian cell phone, and it turned out that adding the Canada roaming option to my U.S. plan was cheaper per minute than any Canadian plan.
  • So just as this was posted, there is a $60/mo promo going on with all the carriers in BC and AB, $60/mo for 10GB data, unlimited nationwide text/talk, BYOD. Some of the carriers (and probably soon all) are also offering it in ON. Get on it while you can.

  • by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @06:34PM (#55748657) Journal

    I live in Canada as a US expat. US allows ISPs to control the last mile so Comcast and such prohibit any competition for service to your house. Ontario, at least, requires Rogers, Bell to lease their lines to anyone. So I contract with VMedia and get cable with a couple of premium packages and 35 mbit down for about CAD$70 a month, much cheaper than what I was paying in the US ($70 a month for 1.5 mbit down. Really. Try living in Qwest territory.)

    OTOH the US prohibits telcos from owning cell towers, and the cell tower operators must lease to anyone so competition is fierce. As a result there's lots of competition and mobile prices are reasonable. In Ontario, Rogers owns Rogers towers, and no one else can use them. Each telco has to build its own tower network, decreasing competition and driving up prices.

    What the numbers in the report don't show is that in the US you can get family bundles that substantially lower the bill; I have 5 lines and pay about US$120 a month for the service; the first line is $60 and then each additional line is $10. If I was to contract with Rogers, I'd pay CAD$60 PER LINE with no discount. Sure I can share data, but I have to pay full freight for each line.

    • The problem is Canada is there is very little competition, and what does exist seems to actively collude and price fix (depending on your definitions I suppose). From my simple perspective, just go to Bell or Rogers (or one of their subsidiaries) websites. You'll see the exact same plans, for the exact same prices. The new player Wind, might actually shake some things up, however they have a pretty limited market share and is only really available is certain markets anyway. I am not surprised in the least t

    • by rhazz ( 2853871 )
      Exactly this. Mobile prices also vary significantly by province, due to varying states of regulation making competition more viable. Saskatchewan has some arms-length crown-owned providers which produces a competitive market with the big 3. Over there prices are in the area of $45/mo for phone+5GB, versus the exact same provider/plan in Ontario being $60/mo.

      And for all the idiots talking about population density? Saskatchewan = 1.8 persons/km, Ontario = 14.1 persons/km. The difference is competition and r
  • After five years of paying 50 CAD for more data and minutes than I ever used in a month, I went to a prepaid plan with minutes and data that don't expire at the end of the month if I pay the $15 base charge (Koodo). I now average about $25 a month in cell costs without being very stingy with my data or minutes.

    My wife uses her phone MUCH less than I do, so she is on a pay as you go plan and spends around $5 a month with no data (speakout7eleven).

    The key is to buy phones outright and not get sucked in to co

  • Where the data was actually collected: Canada: Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, and Vancouver; United States: Boston, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Seattle; UK: London; France: Paris; Italy: Rome; Germany: Berlin; Japan: Tolyo.

    Let me guess - The rates were cheaper in the places with higher population density.
  • They only looked at eight countries total, including the U.S. and Canada. No others as sparsely populated as Canada. It's a bit like breathlessly claiming that they're below average half the time!

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