Consumer advocates wary of Liberal plan for lowering wireless phone bills

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TORONTO — The Liberal party’s promise of a 25 per cent reduction in wireless bills for average Canadian families is being greeted with skepticism by observers of Canada’s telecommunications industry. 

Consumer advocates agree that Canadians want to pay less for their wireless services, but question whether a Liberal government would follow through on its pledge to voters if Trudeau gets another mandate as prime minister.

They cite a lack of detail in the party’s platform and the telecom industry’s opposition to having a government or regulator set the wholesale price they can charge to virtual network operators.

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OpenMedia’s Laura Tribe is skeptical that a 25 per cent price reduction will come from the current companies and says the Liberal plan for allowing a new round of competitors has too many qualifiers.

Others say that they think Canadians won’t be impressed with lower prices unless they fall relative to what’s available in other countries while also delivering higher and higher levels of service as technology advances.

A Scotiabank analysis suggests prices on some Canadian plans have already come down compared with the prices cited in the Liberal announcement.

“Examples given were $87/5GB and $75/2GB plans. These plans have already fallen recently to $65 and $55 BEFORE promotional bonus data, or by more than 25 per cent,” Scotiabank says in a brief report.

“Since June, the incumbents have been offering $75 unlimited at full speed up to 10GB which is much more attractive than the examples the Liberals used in its document.”


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2019.

David Paddon, The Canadian Press


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