Wireless Data Overage Fees Now Exceed Roaming Revenues in Canada

Michael Geist, University of Ottawa law professor, has shed some insight on the recent CRTC 2017 Communications Monitoring Report, which detailed the state of communications services in Canada.

The top five broadcasting and telecommunications groups/entities, which consist of Bell Canada, Quebecor, Rogers, Telus and Shaw/Corus, together combined to account for 83% of total industry revenues in 2016, a “slight increase” compared to 2015 and 2014 data.

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The CRTC report also notes Canadians paid $100 million in broadband Internet overages, or about 1 per cent of residential Internet service revenues.

Geist writes:

Canadian wireless carriers make more money from overage charges than from either long distance fees or roaming costs. In fact, with total data revenues at $11.9 billion, about 1 of every 10 dollars earned from data stems from overage charges.

This summer, Rogers and Bell increased data overage prices for new customers by 40 per cent, now charged at $7 per 100MB, or $70 per 1GB.

READ MORE: Why EVERY company (even small ones) should outsource Telecom Expense Management services

Canada’s wireless carriers do not favour unlimited data plans like their counterparts in the United States. Rogers previously said “it just isn’t feasible to offer unlimited plans,” while Bell stated there are “tremendous costs” associated with maintaining high speed networks. On average, Canadians used 1.2GB of data per month on wireless devices, a 25 percent jump compared to 2015, with over a quarter of those subscribed on monthly plans having 5GB of data.

The bottom line is unlimited plans will most likely never come to Canada and users will continue to use data sparingly, to avoid costly overages.

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