(Adds movement in average prices, details on packages)
By Randall Palmer
OTTAWA, July 14 Changes allowing Canadian mobile
phone customers to cancel their contracts without penalty after
two years have increased the prices of basic plans, while
overall average wireless costs continued to fall, a study to be
released on Monday showed.
The price of mobile services has become a hot issue, with
the Conservative government trying to drive prices down by
encouraging smaller companies to challenge the dominance of the
Big Three: BCE Inc's Bell, Rogers Communications Inc
and Telus Corp.
The government-commissioned Wall Report showed the average
price of three types of wireless plans was now 22 percent lower
than in 2008. Last year the average was 18 percent lower than
The savings were concentrated on high- and medium-volume
users, with the price of basic plans rising due to the
regulators' December decision that effectively put an end to
Though aimed at stimulating competition by letting people
switch phone companies, the decision ended up boosting prices at
the bottom end as carriers tried to recoup their subsidies for
The Wall Report, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, showed
the average monthly charge for basic mobile wireless service
rose to C$35.70 ($33.36) in 2014 from C$30.71 in 2013 and
C$32.73 in 2008.
The price of medium-volume service edged up slightly to
C$45.26 from C$44.86 in 2013 but was down from C$60.81 in 2008.
High-volume users' prices on average declined to C$79.69 from
C$93.59 in 2013 and from C$112.34 in 2008.
The Wall Report noted that the main phone companies had
introduced alternative no-term BYOD, or bring-your-own-device,
plans that can yield a discount of C$10 to C$20 a month.
The study showed prices by companies newly operating in the
market were 10 percent to 49 percent less than the incumbents,
and they usually offered higher data allowances.
The Wall Report, which is done annually, introduced a new
comparison this year, of international roaming rates to and from
the United States for Canadian and American consumers.
It found the big U.S. players' roaming call and text rates
in Canada were lower than those in the United States from
Canadian incumbents, while the reverse was true for data -
effectively a draw.
But the study found the new entrants in Canada offered far
lower roaming rates than the Canadian incumbents, while U.S.
regional carriers offered very limited or no roaming services in
($1=$1.07 Canadian dollars)
(Editing by Miral Fahmy and Lisa Von Ahn)