The Big Three’s Low Cost Wireless Plan Proposals Are A Total Joke

Canada has some of the highest cell phone costs in the world. And pretty much everyone in Canada with the exception of those who work for Bell, Rogers, and Telus would agree with that. The CRTC saw that as well and asked for submissions for lower cost data only wireless plans back in March. The “big three” telcos responded with the following:

  • Both Bell and Telus came up with a monthly plan offering 500 megabytes of data for $30.
  • Telus also came up with a prepaid plan offering 600 megabytes for $30 a month
  • Rogers came up with 400 megabytes for $25 a month

The CRTC then posted the proposals online and got more than 230 comments which all said that same thing. These plans are a total joke. Let me give you a couple of examples as to why these plans are a total joke by illustrating my experience with wireless plans in other parts of the world:

  • During a business trip to India I used a Vodafone SIM for the week that I was where. It gave me unlimited voice and texting along with 1.4GB of data for 675 Indian Rupees which works out to about $13 Canadian. And that was considered expensive as I was apparently paying the “tourist rate”.
  • On a business trip to Australia, I used a SIM from Optus which gave me unlimited voice and text. But it limited me to 500 MB a day. Total cost was $2 AUD a day which in Canadian funds is about $2 CDN a day. Keep in mind that things are insanely expensive down under with cheap beer being about $9 CDN a bottle. But somehow this doesn’t seem to apply to the cost of their wireless services which are pretty reasonable by Canadian standards.
  • The first time I went to the UK on business, I paid one pound for a T-Mobile SIM card and ten pounds for 100 minutes of talk time, 400 texts, and 1GB of data. That’s $18 CDN. And the UK is an expensive place with burgers costing about $17 CDN.

The fact is that the “big three” telcos have zero interest in providing Canadians wireless plans that are a good value for Canadians hard earned money. Largely because they don’t see the need to. I’ve argued for a very long time that the only way to solve this is to have the Canadian government let in a very large foreign telco such as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, or Orange, and have them set up shop in Canada. Now to be clear, I am not advocating that the government should bankroll these companies. What I am advocating is that they simply have to open the door and let them walk in and set up shop. If they did that, the cost of your cell phone bill will plummet almost instantly because the “big three” would then have to seriously complete to keep you as a customer. And if you don’t believe that this would happen, look at the panic that Verizon caused the “big three” when they were rumored to be expanding into Canada a few years ago.

The bottom line is that these low cost proposals by the “big three” are a joke. In fact, I’ll also say that they’re insulting to hard working Canadians who only want cell phone service at a reasonable price that is in line with what the rest of the planet gets. These three telcos need to understand how out of step with reality they are and adjust accordingly. Alternately, the CRTC or the Canadian government need to take action so that Canadians get the service that they deserve at a price point that is within the bounds of reality.


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