90% of Canadians Want Roaming Data Fees Capped, Study Finds

Nearly 90% of Canadian cellphone owners are in favour of wireless carriers halting data use abroad when they've spent reached a monetary threshold such as $50, a new study from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre says.

Consumers find it difficult and confusing to calculate megabytes and manage costs while roaming. This often leaves them with "bill shock," a situation in which they return home to find a wireless bill significantly higher than expected. This is happened to 89% of Canadians who've travelled, according to the advocacy group.

“We’re really trying to prevent this scenario where a consumer comes home and gets their bill and it’s much higher than they had expected,” Janet Lo, legal counsel fo the PIAC, told the Canadian Press.

As a result of high and unknown roaming charges, 44% of Canadians turn their devices off while travelling abroad and 16% just leave their smartphones at home.

SEE ALSO: Canadian Politician Wants Wireless Sector to Have "Real" Competition

The "Big Three" Canadian telecommunications companies (Rogers, Bell, and Telus) argue they already implement practices similar to what PIAC is suggesting. But while it's true they do (sometimes) alert users of data usage, they do not automatically cap that usage, meaning bill shock can still very easily occur. Further, PIAC is seeking "consistent practices between all wireless carriers," something that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission would likely need to enforce.

According to the CRTC’s latest report, Canadian wireless revenues are the highest in the G7. At $55 per month per mobile subscriber, Canadians pay 20% more than users in the US, 70% more than users in France, and 100% more than users in the UK and Germany.

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