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Competition is key to lower cell phone bills: expert

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A CRTC report finding Canadians pay some of the highest prices for mobile service in the G-7 was likely no surprise to most of you, but what can be done about it?

An expert is looking at how prices might come down.

The cost to have a cellphone in Canada continues to be one of the highest in the world. The CRTC released more about how we compare to other G7 countries.

For a plan that includes one gig of data Canadians pay around $75 on average compared to customers in the UK who pay just over $30 for a similar plan.

The big companies will tell you it’s because Canada is a large to cover and they’re constantly working on infrastructure. Meghan Sali with OpenMedia doesn’t buy the argument.

“We see most of Canada’s population concentrated around the southern border so it’s not like we’re evenly spread across this huge land mass and a lot of the infrastructure that is actually servicing Canadians has already been built. So it’s not like they’re continually investing in all sorts of new infrastructure to be able to provide cell phone service to people.”

She says real competition is the only answer and to have that, regulators like the Competition Bureau of Canada have to stop the giants from buying up newcomers near the outset.

Sali adds rules forcing the telecoms which own the infrastructure to give small competitors access for reasonable rates could open up doors to newcomers as well.