by Christina Peden

Canadians pay higher prices for mobile service compared to their international peers, a new report shows.

The study, commissioned by Industry Canada and the CRTC, reveals that the heaviest users of mobile services — those that pay for voice, text and data — saw price decreases of 27 per cent to just under $80 per month.

However, those that have a ‘no-frills’ voice-only mobile plan saw a rate increase of 16 per cent to almost $36 a month.

Consumers with typical usage — voice and text services with no data — saw a rate decrease of 15 per cent to just $45 a month.

Despite the downward pricing trend for some plans, the report indicates mobile plan prices in Canada are higher than average compared to other G7 nations — the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, France and the US — plus Australia.

The study also found that the smaller players in the Canadian market such as WIND, Public Mobile and Mobilicity, charge significantly less than the Big Three — Rogers, Bell and Telus.

The greatest mobile savings went to the heaviest users, who saved up to 50% on their monthly fees with a smaller competitor. For the purposes of the study, ‘heavy users’ were defined as those with high call volumes, extra plan features, 300 plus texts and 1 gigabyte of data usage per month.

The report comes on the heels of Industry Minister James Moore’s announcement that the government next year plans to auction new wireless spectrum to the smaller carriers in a bid to drive down prices and increase competition in the wireless sphere.

"Our government has aggressively and consistently made decisions to support a healthy and competitive wireless industry for the benefit of Canadian consumers of wireless services. We are encouraged by the findings revealed in today's independent report," Moore said Tuesday. "We will continue to stand up for consumer choice and robust competition in Canada's wireless sector."

Source: Toronto Star , Industry Canada