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Advocates say Canada’s telecom prices still too high for low income consumers

GATINEAU, Que. — The leader of an advocacy group says Canada’s telecom companies are using “magic math” that exaggerates how much their mobile data prices have dropped in recent years.

Speaking for the Coalition for Cheaper Wireless Service Tuesday morning at a regulatory hearing in Gatineau, Que., John Lawford disputed one carrier’s estimate that its prices have fallen between 37 per cent and 80 per cent in recent years.

Lawford said that prices of the flanker brands owned by the Big Three national carriers are only a “bit less” than before and basic service is still too expensive for Canadians with lower incomes.

His comments come as the CRTC continues hearings into what measures it should take to improve the state of competition in the mobile services industry.

Canada’s wireless network owners have told the CRTC that they are already highly competitive with each other and that there’s no need for the regulator to impose additional measures to bring down prices even further.

Lawford’s group is calling for the CRTC to require carriers to provide a universal basic wireless service for $25 to $30 per month, including more data than what’s currently available even at the mid- and low-priced range of the market.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B, TSX:QBR.B, TSX:T, TSX:SJR.B)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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