The release of Nordicity’s 2016 Price Comparison Study of Telecommunications Services in Canada and Select Foreign Jurisdictions, commissioned by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was greeted with interest from news outlets and Canadians across the country including the Globe and Mail, National Post, and the CBC. The central aim of the Study was to provide a snapshot of telecommunications service prices in Canada, including mobile wireless telephony and fixed broadband services, in comparison with the US, Australia, the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Japan.
In the 9th edition of this Study, a number of changes have been made to better reflect the realities of the evolving telecommunications environment. For one, this year’s methodology was based on the least expensive lite devices available from each service operator rather than the premium devices opted for in previous iterations. Similarly, an additional service basket was added to the mobile wireless service category to account for the increasing adoption of shared plans by Canadian consumers. A comprehensive list of changes, the full Study, and its context are available in English and French.
The key findings of the Study suggest that Canada ranks amongst the least expensive countries in all service levels for fixed telephony services while for mobile wireless telephony and bundled services categories it generally ranks amongst the most expensive. Similarly, Canadian prices in the fixed broadband and mobile broadband service categories are in the upper range.
Here’s a taste of some of the news coverage garnered:
Emily Jackson, Financial Post
“Canada won gold for the most expensive low-end wireless telephone service and landed silver for premium mobile phone services that include more minutes and data, according to the ninth-annual international telecom price comparison study commissioned by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.”
Christine Dobby, Globe and Mail
“The information in the study is based on a survey conducted in January and February and it also tracks year-over-year changes in pricing. On top of international comparisons, the report tracks price differences and changes in various Canadian cities and compares the offerings of the incumbent wireless, telephone and cable companies to the prices charged by new-entrant cell carriers and Internet resellers.”
“When Canadians needed more [mobile wireless] service — 450 minutes of wireless service and 300 text messages — they fared a bit better in the international comparison. Canadians paid an average of $48.77 a month for that level of service, while Americans paid an average of $51.64 and Japanese consumers paid one cent more than Canadians. French wireless customers paid the least — $24.17.”
“The 2016 study is broken down in to five main categories: home phones, mobile wireless, mobile Internet, broadband Internet and bundled services, with sub-categories for each type of service — family plans are filed under the mobile phones category, for example. While Canada ranks among the highest paying countries in all categories, including mobile wireless, Internet and bundles, the country consistently ranks sixth lowest out of the eight total countries across all levels of home phone service.”
Kendra Mangione, CTV News
“The study found that Canada ranked highest among all seven when it came to the price of mobile phone service, at an average of $41.08 for a basic plan including 150 minutes […] A group that represents Canadian telecom companies like Bell, CTV's parent company, said Canadian service is better and faster than those in other countries. The networks also cover an area larger than France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.K. combined.”
The media response to Nordicity’s Study focused primarily on how Canada’s mobile wireless prices fare against other developed nations. This points toward Canadians’ increasing reliance on mobile telecommunications services over their fixed counterparts and, what’s more, our growing consumption of broadband services while on the go.
Sabrina Wilkinson is a Research Analyst in the Ottawa office with passions for literature and long distance running.