Canadian Telcos Raising Their Wireless Prices to Spite CRTC's New Consumer-friendly Rules

Posted by Knowlton Thomas

Canadian consumers rejoiced in June when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission unveiled a new wireless code that brings cellphone contract lengths down from three years to two, includes a maximum overcharge for data of $50 per month, and a maximum overcharge for international roaming at $100 per month.

But there apparently isn't much to celebrate anymore.

Rogers, Telus, and Bell are among a group of wireless carriers in Canada who are not happy with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's new code of conduct, which was created to make the industry fairer to consumers. Earlier this month the carriers argued that the CRTC's code, particularly its "retrospective application," will damage them financially and that the code may even been illegal in some respects - now they've taken it into their own hands to protect their corporate wallets.

Carriers such as Telus and Bell are introducing new two-year contracts that have substantially higher monthly rates - up to $20 monthly premiums for smartphones - that negate any benefit customers may have derived from the shorter contract.

"The wireless code addresses the main frustrations that Canadians shared with the CRTC, which included the length of wireless contracts, cancellation fees, roaming charges and other industry practices," said the CRTC last month. But did the national regulator count for Telus creating plans that cost up to $150 per month on two-year terms?

OpenMedia Communications Manager Lindsey Pinto saw this travesty coming. "Canadians will never get the choice and affordability we deserve when just three companies control up to 94 percent of the market," she explains.

Canadians already pay among the highest prices for wireless service in the industrialized world without these steep price hikes. A recent report found the average monthly cell phone bill in Canada topped $77 at the start of 2013, up nine dollars from $68 in 2012—an increase of 13%, or 13 times the rate of inflation.

Photo: Canadian Press

Telus Corp.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technology is a key enabler for TELUS and our customers, providing advantage and differentiation in the marketplace. By managing the life cycle of current technologies and the timely introduction of new technologies we deliver superior service value to our customers and long-term growth oriented investment performance to our shareholders. For investors, TELUS is succeeding in managing... more

Bell Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Operating under the Bell brand, the Company's services include Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and exploring weird side streets. more

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