News Local

Cellphone prices too high in Canada: group

By Sara Norman

Open Media wants more competition and better prices for cellphones. (QMI AGENCY)

Open Media wants more competition and better prices for cellphones. (QMI AGENCY)

Are you paying too much for your cellphone plan? David Christopher with Open Media thinks so. The Vancouver organization is hoping the federal government will turn its attention to lowering prices a year after implementing two-year caps to the length of phone contracts.

Christopher accuses cell companies of using that legislation to raise rates, citing the example of a common plan in the UK that costs the Canadian equivalent of just $20 a month. It includes a gigabyte of data along with nationwide minutes.

“That’s just impossible here,” he said, blaming a lack of choice in companies on the Canadian market, unlike the UK.

“You can look at the international comparisons with other countries where two-year contracts are standard and you can see there is clearly something the matter with the wireless market in Canada,” he said. “Effectively, it’s broken.”

Telecommunications consultant Mark Goldberg disagrees. He says research has shown prices are coming down, with progressively more Canadians signing up for cellphone plans or moving to smart phones.

“Every metric indicates they’re more affordable,” he said.

Goldberg claims Open Media was warned lobbying for shorter plans would push up prices since the price of phones themselves haven’t changed, and part of what users pay amortizes your hardware. As for comparisons to other countries, Goldberg says reception in Canada is far better quality, especially when compared to the UK, where service drops outside of main areas like London.

“Canadians have one of the most hotly competitive wireless markets in the world, and you see that in regular pricing changes up and down as companies compete with each other,” said Shawn Hall of Telus, pointing out their company has recently decreased the cost for buying a phone.



Is it unfair to compare Canadian cellphone plans with other countries?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions