Wireless plans in Canada are (finally) getting cheaper — or are they? A new federal government report shows progress on price cuts but the full picture is a bit more complicated.
What happened: The report tracked the price of relatively cheap “mid-range” wireless plans–those offering between 2GB and 6GB of data per month–offered by each of the three largest carriers. It found that the average nationwide price fell by 25% since February 2020.
- As of December 2021, the Big Three’s discount brands (Koodo, Virgin, and Fido) offered 2GB plans for $37.50, 4GB plans for $41.25, and 6GB plans for $45.
- However, analysis done of province-level data by The Peak shows that in Quebec, where plans were already cheaper, the average price for the most affordable mid-range plans actually rose slightly (from $40 in February 2020 to $41.25 in December 2021), driven by higher prices for 2GB plans.
Why it’s happening: The government claims that it increased competition by reserving parts of the wireless spectrum for smaller, regional telcos, thereby driving down prices.
- Some industry analysts have argued that growing competition from Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile has also played a key role in driving down costs.
But wait: Despite some plans becoming slightly more affordable, Canadian wireless prices are still significantly higher than most other G7 countries, particularly for plans that offer more data.
For example, the average price in Canada for a plan offering between 20 to 49GB of data is $91, while similar plans go for around $30-40 in the UK, Australia, and France.