Costs For Cell Phone Service In Canada Continues To Rise: Government Report

The cost to use a cell phone in Canada continued to rise in 2017, placing the country among the most expensive in the world when it comes to using handheld communication devices.

In a new report commissioned by the federal government in Ottawa, digital consultancy Nordicity Group Ltd. studied the state of telecommunications in six Canadian cities: Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Vancouver, and then compared the results to other countries around the world.

The report found that heavy users of mobile services saw their monthly bills rise steadily throughout 2017. The heaviest users of cell phone data saw their monthly bill rise by 8.2% to an average cost of $104.49 a month, while the average price of a high-level mobile service family plan increased by about 1% to $264.65 a month.

While small price declines were noted in some areas, they tended to be on lower end mobile service plans where consumers use little data and don’t access the Internet very much. When compared with the U.S. market, where virtually all the large mobile service providers offer unlimited data plans to their customers, the situation in Canada looks alarmingly bad for consumers, noted the report.

"Prices for low- and mid-use wireless plans are declining, allowing more Canadians to access services at rates they can afford," the federal government said in a press release. "While progress is being made, the government will continue to watch market dynamics and promote more competition so that all Canadians can have high-quality services at affordable prices."

On a broad international comparison, Canada fared poorly when it comes to costs for mobile services and cell phone usage. Specifically, when compared against seven other major countries (the United Kingdom., Germany, Italy, France, Australia, Japan and the U.S.), Canadian prices were among the top three most expensive in every service level category — and the most expensive among each of the top three data plans.