Report finds Canadians pay more for wireless phone service

The New America Foundation, a nonprofit public policy institute out of Washington D.C., has issued a report that it says shows Canada and the United States have some of the highest wireless phone rates in the World.

In the report, entitled “An International Comparison of Cell Phone Plans and Prices,” the authors researched cell phone voice, text and data services for prepaid, regular postpaid, and unlimited postpaid plans provided by prominent cell phone carriers in 11 countries.

The authors found Canada had some of the most expensive voice and data rates and some of the cheapest text plans among the eleven countries surveyed. Countries surveyed included: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, United States and the United Kingdom.

While the report will probably re-enforce what many Canadians believe about wireless rates in this country, it should be pointed out that the report is flawed in several ways. For example, the rates used for Canadian cell phone rates were drawn from one company, Rogers Wireless. The post paid rate was based on one 250 minute plan offered by Rogers and the Pay as You Go rates were based on Rogers only.

Source: The New America Foundation

It’s unclear how the findings would have been different had the authors used different plans from different companies with different usage patterns. Had they chosen heavy usage plans from each country, is it possible they may have arrived at significantly different conclusions?

In addition it’s unclear what question the report is trying to answer. It’s doubtful a country the size of Canada with just 35 million people could ever have wireless costs as low as small, heavily populated countries such as Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

Is the insight that Canada has higher wireless rates than most countries meaningful or simply a geographic anomaly. Had the report also found that Canada had higher heating costs than most countries, would readers be surprised?

For the report’s conclusions to be meaningful, we need to know why Canadian and American wireless rates are higher than other countries and are the difference a function of geography or poor public policy?

Read the report here and discuss in Digital Home’s Canadian Wireless forum.


7 Responses to “Report finds Canadians pay more for wireless phone service”
  1. Tim Sampson says:

    Not to worry… with the lack of competition in Canada they are all within a few pennies anyways

  2. Graydon says:

    function of geography my @$$! the problem can be summarized in 3 words: big 3, monopoly.

  3. Johnz says:

    And this is supposed to suprise us????

  4. mmb says:

    Well, well, well, surprise, surprise …

  5. gretzky says:

    nothing new here we pay more for everything
    wireless phone service
    internet (bill vs connection speed)
    cable and satellite tv… no myth it’s a fact

  6. howie says:

    With the big 3 basically still running their oligopoly, this report seems pretty accurate. I agree with Gradyon, it isn’t as much as a function of geography as we’re made to believe. What’s more odd is that the student plans that Telus and Bell offer are catered to the most intense users of cell phones, and they have the best feature:cost ratio. Something like 40 dollars to 55 dollars. So it’s clear the prices are inflated.

    At least the infrastructure isn’t 3rd world anymore 😉

  7. Janna says:

    Its is a result of geography. If it were a case of the big 3 (Telus, Rogers, Bell) and not enough competition, then why is the US the 2nd highest? Look at the countries with the lowest rates. Small land mass, large population. Not everything is a conspiracy.