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Brace Yourselves, Canadians, The Big 3 Are Raising Cell Prices "Because They Can"

More like The BIG GREED, EH? EH?

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That's right: Rogers, Bell, and Telus (commonly known in Canada as "The Big Three" phone carriers) are adding a new $5 surcharge to their cellphone plans.

They say these price “adjustments” are due to “current market conditions” — meaning the currently low exchange rate of the Canadian dollar. Their words.

ABC

A Rogers Public Affairs rep tells BuzzFeed Canada that they've increased their plans earlier this month "to reflect ongoing network and service investments and current market conditions impacting our industry."

The only provinces not impacted are Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec, where people have regional carriers as an alternative option.

But online advocacy group OpenMedia argues that the low dollar shouldn't impact The Big Three enough to force customers to pay extra. They say the real reason for the price hikes is "because they can."

ABC

“The real reason is that we have so little choice and competition in the marketplace," OpenMedia director Josh Tabish said in an interview with News1130. "When you’ve just got like three large companies controlling 90 per cent of the market, they feel that they can pretty much do as they please.”

In fact, Tabish says if it were really about the dollar, we would have seen a better value, or lower prices, when the dollar was stronger.

openmedia.org

“This just seems like any old excuse will do, when it comes to raising rates," he said. "It’s not so long ago since the Canadian dollar was actually really strong– actually, even stronger than the American dollar — and at that time, we certainly didn’t see The Big Three lowering their prices due to the strong dollar."

He further poses: "When the headlines read ‘Canadian dollar bounces back,’ will The Big Three lower prices back to where they were?"

ABC

Tabish's biggest issue with the cellphone monopoly in Canada is that it's hurting average people who are already impacted by rising costs of living.

UPDATE

While Rogers did not directly address the question of whether or not prices will go down as the dollar goes up, they issued this statement:


"Currency fluctuations are one element of the current market conditions we face. Currency impacts us in a number of ways including purchase of components for our network operations, roaming, etc. With respect to value, our Share Everything plans include enrollment in Roam Like Home and Game Centre Live. Share Everything + plans (more than 2.5GB of data) also include a choice of Shomi, Spotify or Texture for 2 years, a $200-$240 value."

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