CRTC Says Wireless Pricing is Declining, Canadians Using More Data

While most Canadians would agree that they are using more data than ever before as they game, stream, and connect on the go, the news that the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) says wireless pricing is on the decline might come as a surprise.

Nonetheless, a CRTC report suggests that pricing for wireless service plans in Canada are decreasing year-over-year. The falling prices are mostly seen in the large data plans, with plans with 2GB and 5GB of mobile data declining by 41% and 44%, respectively over the last five years. Plans with 10GB of data, meanwhile, declined by 19% over the last two years while massive 20GB and 50GB plans fell by 9% and 26%, respectively over just the last year.

In the last quarter of 2021, the average data subscriber used 5.3GB of data per month, up 39.7% from the previous year and a 238% increase over five years.

“The CRTC has confirmed what has already been reported by the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and that has been clear to industry watchers for several years: mobile wireless service prices have been steadily declining, and usage of mobile services continues to grow,” confirms Robert Ghiz, President and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). “Even as prices decline and usage soars, Canada’s telecom network operators continue to invest billions each year in expanding Canada’s digital infrastructure to underserved communities and ensuring Canada maintains its global leadership in quality of service by deploying next-generation technologies such as 5G.

“As the COVID pandemic has highlighted,” he continues, “Canada’s economic well-being, safety and quality of life depend on high-quality digital infrastructure. Making world-class telecommunications services available to all Canadians at affordable prices remains the focus of our members.”

According to the report, which was published as part of a quarterly update to the CRTC’s Communications Market Reports, as of the end of 2020, Canada’s mobile wireless networks provide mobile coverage to 99.7% of Canadians, including 98.9% of Canadians living in Northern Canada and 98.5% of rural Canadians. This means the goal of reaching 100% population with mobile coverage in homes and businesses by 2026 is on track.

The CRTC report, entitled, “Current Trends – Mobile Wireless” is the latest quarterly update of the CRTC’s Communications Market Reports and was published on May 26, 2022.