Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Three giants – Rogers, Bell and Telus – held 88.5% of the country's mobile plan market in 2022.

Télé communications: a tightly woven network of giants

Open in full screen mode

Canadians continue to pay more than elsewhere in the world for their mobile plans, cable services and Internet, according to a study commissioned by the federal government.

  • Philippe de Montigny (View profile)Philippe de Montigny

Feature in trial

Log inCreate my account

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

Despite efforts to reduce the cost of mobile plans in Canada, subscribers in the country still pay much more than elsewhere in the world. The same goes for cable and Internet services.

Marie Vaillaud, who recently moved to Toronto, is surprised by the cost of wireless plans. For a plan of unlimited data, calls and texts, in France and internationally, she paid the equivalent of $30 per month.

It's very, very expensive. It's almost double what we paid in France.

A quote from Marie Vaillaud

The cheapest offer found here is $55 to $60, but that's for fairly limited features, where you don't necessarily need a lot of mobile data, she specifies.

Open in full screen mode

Frenchwoman Marie Vaillaud will have to pay at least twice as much for her mobile plan in Canada.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Finding a subscription that suits him – like his French plan, which allowed him unlimited mobile data and the ability to use it abroad – is practically impossible.

LoadingA first snowfall in the east of the country

ELSELL ON INFO: A first snowfall in the east of the country< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">I can't find that or these are offers that will go for more than $100, says Marie Vaillaud.

The Canadian market is dominated by three giants – Rogers, Bell and Telus – who shared 88.5% of mobile service revenues last year, according to data collected by the CRTC. These market shares do not take into account the merger between Rogers and Shaw, which materialized in April 2023.

As for cable broadcasting, in 2022, the merged company would have pocketed nearly 36% of revenues, according to a CRTC analysis. Rogers is therefore ahead of the line, ahead of Bell (29%), Quebecor (11.6%) and Telus (11.3%).

The telecommunications oligopoly in Canada is therefore more imposing than the most recent available data suggests. The CRTC will continue to work quickly to strike the right balance between lower prices and continued investments in reliable, high-quality networks, says spokesperson Mirabella Salem.

An oligopoly is a market dominated by a small number of sellers. This is the case in Canada, particularly in the telecommunications, grocery, banking and commercial aviation sectors.

Laura Sajues, a A Mexican who settled in Halifax with her partner a few years ago was also startled when she saw the price of Canadian packages. Their spending on mobile services has more than doubled since their move.

I think it's because of this lack of competition that prices are quite high, she believes. All three offer more or less the same packages for the same prices. There is not much difference.

Open in full screen mode

Laura Sajues, originally from Mexico, has lived in Halifax for almost two years. She is now a Rogers customer.

Pierre Larouche, professor of law and innovation at the University of Montreal, agrees. He speaks of tacit coordination in Canada between the giants Bell, Telus and Rogers.

In Canada, there are our three major operators which x27;observe and stay on their own without engaging in too much active competition. We know that in telecoms markets around the world, in general, it is the fourth operator that makes the difference. It's the fourth operator who is undercutting prices, he explains.

In Quebec, we have a fourth operator, Videotron, and the prices are quite clearly lower, says Mr. Larouche.

The Quebec supplier is also committed to reducing prices by approximately 20% within ten years in the wireless markets in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario , after purchasing the activities of Freedom Mobile (one of the conditions of the merger between Shaw and Rogers).

Vidéotron, a subsidiary of Quebecor, did not respond to our interview request.

Open in full screen mode< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">The Canadian telecommunications market is dominated by Rogers, Bell and Telus, which share nearly 89% of the country's mobile service revenues.

Rogers, Bell and Telus also declined to comment on this matter. The Canadian Telecommunications Association responded by email that its members have made significant price reductions in recent years, beyond what the federal government requested in 2020, a reduction of at least 25 % of cell phone plans.

The government said at the time that it would like to see plans of 2 GB of data offered at $37.50 by March 2022. Mission accomplished, since consumers can subscribe to plans of 40 GB or more of data for the low price of $39, as seen recently, and even cheaper 20 GB and 30 GB plans, says Canadian Telecommunications Association spokesperson Nick Kyonka in a statement.

The price drops for mobile plans that we are seeing today were not dictated to us by the government.

He specifies that, despite the challenges posed by inflation and rising interest rates, these price reductions are possible, among other things, thanks to lower operating costs and investments in technologies that make networks more effective.

Professor Pierre Larouche, a specialist in competition law, affirms, however, that packages in Canada are still among the most expensive in the world. He points out that some of his foreign students prefer to keep their roaming service rather than take a local plan, because it is cheaper for them.

Competition in our cellular markets in Canada is not very vigorous, he says. This is reflected for consumers by prices that are too high and service packages that are not necessarily cutting edge.

Open in full screen mode

Pierre Larouche is a professor of law and innovation at the University of Montreal.

If you look in particular in European countries, we pay less and we often have subscriptions with an unlimited number of gigabytes, adds Mr. Larouche.

For unlimited nationwide talk and text and up to 20 gigabytes of mobile data, the average plan in Canada would have cost you $55.42 per month , last year, according to a study conducted by the firm Wall Communications.

This same plan is cheaper in most countries studied, including France ($43.05), the United Kingdom ($23.72) and Australia ($28.24). On the other hand, it costs more in the United States ($66.63) and Japan ($78.32).

Start of widget . Skip widget?End of widget. Return to top of widget?

The Canadian Telecommunications Association believes that this price comparison does not truly measure affordability, which would require comparing these prices to average incomes in different countries.

Its spokesperson Nick Kyonka also emphasizes that there are, within the markets studied, differences in the quality, coverage and characteristics of the packages. According to a PwC study (New window), Canada ranks first among G20 countries in terms of network quality.

Build and maintaining these Canadian networks also costs more, which affects the cost of providing services, says Kyonka.

Over the past five years, the Canadian telecommunications sector has invested an average of $12.1 billion to expand and improve its networks, according to research firm S&P Capital IQ. This represents 18.6% of average earnings, a higher proportion than among American, Japanese, Australian and European companies.

Matt Hatfield, chief executive of OpenMedia, an organization that aims to make Internet connectivity more accessible and affordable, says the overhaul of competition laws is a first step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go way to go.

He is outraged that the responsibility always falls on the small teams of the Competition Bureau to demonstrate, in a very specific way, the harmful effects of a merger or acquisition for Canadians.

The watchdog opposed the merger between Shaw and Rogers, but suffered a setback in the Federal Court of Appeal in January. The court rejected the Bureau's arguments that this marriage would be harmful to consumers.

It is not enough, under our current laws, to demonstrate that there is a strong chance of harming consumers, and therefore the Bureau is almost never able to block a transaction, says Mr. Hatfield, who is calling for an overhaul most comprehensive rules governing competition in the country.

Open in full screen mode

Matt Hatfield is CEO of OpenMedia, an organization that aims to make Internet connectivity more accessible and affordable.

The Canadian Telecommunications Association, for its part, believes that there is a healthy competitive dynamic within the sector. We continue to observe intense competition between wireless service providers in the country, which results in constant price drops, writes its spokesperson Nick Kyonka, by email.

However, even these lower prices are much higher than the roaming costs of foreign packages, underlines the director of OpenMedia. Revenues from Canadian customers are so high that they can afford cheap deals with foreign telecoms and still reap profits, says Matt Hatfield.

Nick Kyonka of the Canadian Telecommunications Association responded that the international roaming feature allows subscribers to connect on a temporary basis when they are outside the range of their provider's network.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">It is intended for occasional use only. Suppliers also have policies and procedures in place to restrict their permanent use, he specifies.

  • Philippe de Montigny (View profile)Philippe de MontignyFollow

By admin

Related Post