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.



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 .