How much is your monthly cellphone bill? For many Canadians, it’s simply just too much!
David Christopher, Communications Manager for Open Media, is breaking down why exactly Canadians pay so much, and where we stand compared to other countries.
“I’m afraid it’s really because of a longstanding problem in which we see that just the three big telecom giants, Bell, Rogers and Telus, pretty much have the entire market locked down between the three of them, so there’s much less competition, much less choice within Canada than there is in most other industrialized nations in the world.”
But it hasn’t always been this way. Christopher says there was a time when other independent mobile companies were finding a place in the market, and it wasn’t all that long ago.
“What’s worse is we’re actually moving in the wrong direction, until about nine months ago we at least had a few independent providers in the marketplace, but sadly… Wind Mobile was gobbled up by Shaw last December, so now there’s not a single independent option for Canadians that can offer more affordable rates.”
And how do we compare to other countries?
Christopher recently visited the UK and saw unlimited mobile plans with everything included for the equivalent of $25-30 per month.
This is the case in a handful of other countries as well, says Christopher.
So who’s affected most by sky-high cell phone bills in Canada?
“Canadians are getting a really raw deal, and it’s not just an inconvenience, it’s really bad for especially low income Canadians for whom this kind of extra that we’re paying here in Canada is a really big deal.”
And these low-income Canadians forced to pay too much for their cell service aren’t even necessarily getting the full extent of that service.
Christopher says coverage maps show the’ big three’ only really cover very populated areas, those in rural communities have poor service.
“What we really need to do is open up the wireless networks so that any provider, whether you’re a telecom giant like Bell or whether you’re a small, new independent startup provider, so that all of those can operate on a level playing field.”
Christopher says with this outcome, the ‘big three’ would be forced to lower their rates to compete with smaller, independent providers.
He says he hopes Justin Trudeau’s government will attempt to make this a reality, something that the Harper government tried and failed to do.