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This article was published 12/4/2016 (2235 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It seems to be just about impossible to find a good deal when it comes to cellphone plans in Canada, a new poll has found.
Sixty-one per cent of Canadians think cellphone plans are too pricey, and less than 10 per cent think they’re getting a good deal, shows the poll from the Angus Reid Institute.
John Lawford, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa, specializes in telecommunications for consumers. He said the findings aren’t surprising.
"People don’t just use their cellphones primarily for voice anymore, it’s data now," Lawford said. "That’s really put a lot of pressure on pricing and made it perhaps less competitive but certainly more expensive for consumers."
Canadians are known to pay more for their cellphone plans compared with other countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Lawford said.
This is also demonstrated by a Wall Communications Inc. study for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which found cellphone plans in Canada are among the most expensive in the world.
"I think everyone accepts that Canada’s wireless pricing is a bit higher than it should be, so that probably indicates that there’s not enough competition," Lawford said.
The Angus Reid poll, which surveyed 1,522 people last month, also found 55 per cent of Canadians think there’s not enough competition in the industry. Nearly 50 per cent of the people polled in Manitoba thought the same, even though the province has local provider MTS in addition to Rogers, Bell and Telus.
The study suggests mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) could grow competition. They are small providers that lease network capacity from larger companies at a wholesale price. They sell the product at a lower rate.
Recently, the CRTC denied an appeal by MVNOs that would require large carriers to sell their services to them.
The larger companies argued requiring carriers to enter such lease agreements would discourage them from maintaining and expanding network infrastructure.
"If you don’t own anything, no actual wires or towers, and you want to set up a virtual network, you just want to re-sell Bell’s wireless, you can’t because Bell doesn’t have to offer it to you," Lawford said.
Even though MVNOs could create more competition, the study found 61 per cent of people had not heard about the CRTC ruling.
Lawford said if people want change, it’s up to them to speak up.
"I encourage people who have concerns about pricing to let their MP know, not just the CRTC," he said.
"The MPs put pressure that the regulators can’t. If people really find that it’s becoming an expense that they can’t bear, then they should complain in a political way."