Are Canada's wireless prices cheaper than in the US? A look at the numbers
Sep 2, 2013 / 8:10 pm
TORONTO - If you've opened a newspaper or turned on a radio in the past month or two, you've probably caught the barrage of ads bought by Canada's big wireless companies ominously warning about the perils of a potential move by U.S giant Verizon up north.
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association industry group also bought ads suggesting that consumers wouldn't benefit from an American competitor opening shop here. The ads quoted two independent reports that claim our prices are lower than what consumers pay in the U.S.
"Wireless rates in Canada are typically lower than in the U.S., in some cases up to 40 per cent lower and smartphone monthly plans are actually less expensive in Canada than in the U.S.," read the ads.
Bell, Rogers and Telus got good news on Sunday, when Verizon said it currently has no interest in moving to Canada.
But are the claims of low Canadian prices true? The Canadian Press compared the prices currently being promoted by the larger mobile providers on both sides of the border to see how the numbers stacked up. The comparison omits pre-paid packages and does not account for activation costs and other fees, which are sometimes waived by promotions. But keep in mind many carriers do charge $35 as a setup fee, which amortizes to just under $1.50 a month on a two-year contract. All prices are before taxes.
It may be difficult for web-obsessed users to imagine, but some consumers still see their mobile device as a telephone first. For them, the cheapest rate offered by both Rogers and Bell is $30 for 200 minutes of talk time. In the U.S., it doesn't get cheaper than $40 for a basic voice plan.
Cheapest data package
It'll cost you at least $45 to $50 to get a package that includes an allotment of megabytes to use for mobile web browsing, with Bell currently offering the best deal: 150 minutes of talk time and 400 megabytes of Internet activity for $45. U.S. pricing is no cheaper, although T-Mobile offers a plan for just $5 more that includes unlimited calling and 500 megabytes of data.
Unlimited calling, two gigabytes of data
Here, Americans get a better deal. Bells and Rogers have promotions at this tier for $75 a month. A similar plan with T-Mobile in the U.S. is $60 and it comes with 2.5 gigabytes of data.
All-you-can-download data plan
The U.S. companies win this one by default, since Bell, Rogers and Telus don't offer unlimited data plans. T-Mobile charges $70 for unlimited calls and data while Sprint bills $80 for that plan. Meanwhile, a Bell promo is currently offering unlimited calling and six gigabytes of data for $105.
Most mobile carriers are encouraging consumers to round up their family members on a single bill to get group savings. With Rogers, for example, two users can get unlimited calling and share an allotment of six gigabytes at a cost of $80 each. If three users are on the same plan sharing those six gigabytes, the price drops to about $72 each. In the U.S. with Sprint and T-Mobile, unlimited data and calling for two users on a shared account is $75 each. It's just $50 apiece for three users on T-Mobile.
What's Verizon's best deal?
More competition is always a good thing but there's not much about Verizon's current pricing down south to really get Canadian consumers excited â€” even if the company was interested in moving here. Verizon is heavily pushing the shared-plan concept, to the detriment of individual customers. The cheapest voice and data plan is $80 for unlimited calling and 500 megabytes to surf with. Rogers and Bell are currently charging $60 for the same package. The shared plans offer better value, especially with three or more users on the same account, but are still pretty close to Canadian pricing.
So who's got the better prices?
There is no definitive answer as to whether there's better mobile pricing in Canada or the U.S.; consumers in both countries win some and lose some. We get the best deals on cheaper, low-end plans. Consumers who are willing to give the smaller mobile providers a shot in some cases they're owned by the big three mobile companies anyway can sometimes find better pricing with those upstarts. But Americans do seem to enjoy more economical access to the mobile web and can burn through gigabytes at a lower cost.
Read more Business News
|QHR Technologies Inc||1.25||-0.03|
|Anavex Life Sciences||0.38||0.00|
|Copper Mountain Mining||1.53||-0.01|
This column is the last of three, for how to prove your personal injury claim. It is the piece de resistance of the trilogy, the Chuck Norris piece – the final say! As mentioned in the first two...
The bank manager just phoned and asked for full and immediate repayment of the line of credit because the latest, (and they were late!), financial statements showed continuing losses and falling sales...
Recently I recorded a video series for my keynote speaking business. It was called from Faith to Future. In one of the episodes, I talked about the concept of using hard work to get out of a difficul...
- Singer Bocelli visits MIT for workshop on adaptive technology for the visually impaired
- Cosmopolitan Las Vegas opens new glass factory-themed concert and meeting space
- US unemployment rate falls to 5-year low of 7 per cent as employers add 203,000 jobs
- Cold weather forces delays, cancellations for air travellers but expected to ease soon
- Stocks jump, breaking a five-day losing streak, after US reports more hiring gains last month
- NBC's 'Sound of Music' live telecast was Thursday's favourite thing with 18.5 million viewers
- E-commerce growth slowing in Canada as shoppers look to overseas e-stores
- US consumer spending up 0.3 per cent in October but wages and salaries post weak gain
- Healthy hiring in November would mark fourth straight month of solid job growth
- Bruce Lee's iconic yellow jumpsuit fetches $100,000 at Hong Kong auction
- Spotify to allow users to create playlists on phones and tablets and listen to them for free
- US lurching from 'crisis to crisis,' politics influenced by money: Gary Doer