Communications Monitoring Report 2018

2017 Communications Services Pricing in Canada

Infographic 2.1 Average reported monthly price of communications services in Canada

Infographic 2.1 Average reported monthly price of communications services in Canada
2017 Combined average price in Canada: $207, a 1.6% decrease from 2016

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Basic television service Basic wireline telephone service 25/3 Internet service Mobile telephone service with unlimited voice, SMS and 5 GB of data Total
Urban centres $26.64 $32.67 $79.89 $70.12 $201.98
Rural communities $29.54 $31.95 $79.06 $70.06 $211.44

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (hereafter, the Commission) collects prices annually from Canadian service providers for residential communications services. This report presents the reported monthly prices (hereafter, prices) for each of basic televisionFootnote 1, basic wireline telephoneFootnote 2, Internet (3 levels of service) and mobile (4 levels of service) services for 24 urban centres and 54 rural communities, from all provinces and territories across Canada, as of December 31, 2017Footnote 3.

Based on the prices of basic television, basic wireline telephone, internet (25/3)Footnote 4 and wireless (unlimited voice & SMS and 5GB of data) Footnote 5, the average, nation-wide monthly reported price for the four services combined (hereafter, combined price) in 2017 was an average of $207, 1.6% lower than in 2016. This decrease is attributable mainly to lower average prices for mobile services (specifically, plans that include unlimited voice and SMS, and 5 GB of data) across Canada as well as lower Internet service prices in the North.Footnote 6

Scroll

Source: CRTC data collection
View data

Across Canada, except in the Atlantic provinces,Footnote 7 average prices decreased slightly or remained constant from 2016 to 2017. The most notable decrease was in the North, where average combined prices decreased by 16%. In the Atlantic provinces, the average combined price increases are largely attributable to a number of providers now offering Internet service at minimum speeds higher than 25/3 Mbps, thereby raising the reported price of services meeting these speeds. Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan continued to report the lowest average combined prices.

In 2017, the average combined price in urban areas tended to be slightly lower than in rural communities. Nationally, it was $202 for urban locations and $211 for rural locations, a difference of about 5% – though there are significant provincial and regional differences.

Urban centres

Average combined prices in urban centres ranged from $161 in Quebec to $265 in the North.Footnote 8 Provincial/territorial price differences are, to a large degree, due to regional differences in average prices for Internet service, which ranged from $50 in Quebec to $111 in the North.

Scroll

Source: CRTC data collection
View data

Average prices in the North were higher than in the provinces for the four services individually and combined, and average combined prices were the lowest in Quebec. Provinces where a major regional service provider was present had the lowest average combined prices (in ascending order): Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Slightly higher average combined prices were observed in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Service providers in the Atlantic provinces reported higher average combined prices than those in the western provinces, although Internet service plans there often include unlimited data, which may explain the higher prices.

Rural communities

The average combined price in rural communities ranged from $170 in Quebec to $242 in the North, a difference of $72.

Scroll

Source: CRTC data collection
View data

The highest average prices for Internet ($105) and basic wireline voice services ($37) were in the North, while Alberta had the highest average price for basic television service ($46) and Prince Edward Island had the highest average price for mobile ($77).

As observed for urban prices, the lowest average combined prices were found in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In rural Ontario, New Brunswick and British Columbia, these prices were in the middle. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Alberta, they were slightly higher, and within $7 of each other.

Urban versus rural comparison

On a national basis, average combined prices in rural communities were 5% higher than in urban centres; however, this varies by region. Alberta had the widest gap between these prices in urban centres and rural communities, where they were, on average, 20% ($38) higher. On average, in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, prices in urban centres were 16% lower than in rural communities. This gap between average prices in rural communities and urban centres narrows going east; in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, prices in urban centres were, on average, 7% lower than in rural communities. On average, pricing was consistent in the Atlantic provinces.

The North, however, faces a different reality: average combined prices in northern rural communities were 8% ($22) lower than those in northern urban areas, due mainly to the presence of satellite Internet access service, which usually isn’t available in urban areas, and is offered at a lower price.

Television distribution services

In 2017, the lowest prices for basic televisionFootnote 9 service ranged from $14 to $25, depending on the area in which the service was offered. Generally, the areas with the lowest prices had 3 or more competitors offering services.

A basic television package usually contains between 20 and 35 channels, depending on the location and service provider. It includes local and regional television stations, mandatory distribution channels (E.g. Weather Network, APTN), community and provincial legislature channels (where available), and provincial/territorial educational channels. A basic television service package is meant as an entry-level service offering and presents the lowest cost for a television service subscription.

While licenced distributors must offer a basic television package for $25 per month or less, exempted distributors, such as small cable companies, may offer a service including more channels and at a higher price as their entry level service. This results in prices higher than $25 in the following charts.

The bar charts in this section display the range of prices for the various services in urban centres and rural communities in Canada. The number of service providers surveyed is indicated in parentheses. When multiple numbers are displayed as, for example (2/3), it means that there were 2 to 3 providers reporting for the area.

Urban centres

In urban centres throughout Canada, $25 television distribution service packages were offered by licensed Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings (BDUs,)Footnote 10 as mandated in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-96. In the North and in the Atlantic provinces, the lowest price was $25, while in the rest of Canada basic television services were offered for $18, and even $14 in Toronto, London and Kitchener-Waterloo.

In the markets where basic television service was offered at the lowest price, 4 or more competitors were present and they included Internet Protocol television (IPTV)Footnote 11 service providers.

Figure 2.4 BDU basic television service prices by major centre, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (4) $18 $56
Victoria (4) $18 $56
Calgary (4) $18 $56
Edmonton (4) $18 $56
Saskatoon (4) $18 $58
Regina (4) $18 $58
Winnipeg (4) $23 $38
Toronto (5) $14 $25
Ottawa-Gatineau (4) $18 $25
Hamilton (4) $18 $25
London (4) $14 $25
Kitchener-Waterloo (4) $14 $25
St Catharines - Niagara (3) $18 $25
Windsor (3) $18 $25
Oshawa (3) $18 $25
Montréal (4) $18 $30
Québec (3) $18 $25
Fredericton (2) $25 $25
Halifax (2) $25 $25
Charlottetown (2) $25 $25
St. John's (2) $25 $25
Whitehorse (2) $25 $50
Yellowknife (2) $25 $50
Iqaluit (1) $25 $25

Rural communities vs. urban centres

In 2017, prices for basic television service were usually lower in areas with 3 or more service providers reporting. The lowest price in urban centres was in Ontario, at $14.

The lowest price in rural communities was $18, in Ontario and Quebec, followed by $20 in Saskatchewan. In the rest of Canada, the lowest price in rural communities was $25.

Overall, there was no difference between the lowest price in rural communities and the lowest price in urban centres in the North, the Atlantic provinces and in Quebec, while the difference ranged from $2 (Saskatchewan) to $7 (Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia) elsewhere in Canada.

Figure 2.5 BDU basic television service prices by province⁄territory in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. rural (2/3) $25 $79
B.C. urban (4/4) $18 $56
Alta. rural (2/3) $25 $80
Alta.urban (4/4) $18 $56
Sask. rural (2/2) $20 $40
Sask. urban (4/4) $18 $58
Man. rural (1/1) $25 $25
Man. urban (4/4) $18 $25
Ont. rural (1/3) $18 $63
Ont. urban (3/5) $14 $25
Que. rural (2/3) $18 $43
Que. urban (3/4) $18 $30
N.B. rural (2/2) $25 $25
N.B. urban (2/2) $25 $25
P.E.I. rural (2/2) $25 $25
P.E.I. urban (2/2) $25 $25
N.S. rural (1/1) $25 $25
N.S. urban (2/2) $25 $25
N.L. rural (2/2) $25 $25
N.L. urban (2/2) $25 $25
Y.T. rural (1/1) $25 $25
Y.T. urban (2/2) $25 $50
N.W.T. rural (1/2) $25 $50
N.W.T. urban (2/2) $25 $50
Nvt. rural (1/1) $25 $25
Nvt. urban (1/2) $25 $25

Local wireline telephone services

Local wireline telephone service was available across Canada for approximately $30, while in certain areas the service was available for under $25.

Basic local telephone serviceFootnote 12 includes unlimited calling within a defined local calling area, 9-1-1 services, and message relay services, as well as access to long distance services.

The bar charts in this section displays the range of prices for the various services in urban centres and rural communities in Canada. The number of service providers surveyed is indicated in parentheses. When multiple numbers are displayed as, for example (2/3), it means that there were 2 to 3 providers reporting for the area.

Urban centres

Overall, prices for basic wireline telephone service in urban centres ranged between approximately $30 and $40 per month. In Montréal, Regina and Saskatoon, they were approximately $10 lower (between $22 and $33).

The lowest price in urban centres was reported in Regina and Saskatoon ($22), while the lowest price in the North was $10 higher ($32), in Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

Figure 2.6 Prices for basic wireline telephone service ($/month) and number of companies providing this service in major urban centres, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (2) $30 $38
Victoria (2) $31 $38
Calgary (2) $31 $38
Edmonton (2) $31 $38
Saskatoon (2) $22 $33
Regina (2) $22 $30
Winnipeg (2) $31 $33
Toronto (2) $31 $41
Ottawa-Gatineau (3) $30 $41
Hamilton (4) $30 $41
London (4) $30 $41
Kitchener-Waterloo (3) $30 $41
St Catharines - Niagara (2) $31 $40
Windsor (2) $31 $40
Oshawa (2) $31 $41
Montréal (3) $23 $31
Québec (2) $30 $31
Fredericton (2) $31 $32
Halifax (2) $31 $36
Charlottetown (2) $31 $36
St. John's (2) $31 $32
Whitehorse (3) $32 $40
Yellowknife (3) $32 $40
Iqaluit (3) $33 $40

Rural communities versus urban centres

Prices for basic wireline telephone service were generally consistent between urban centres and rural communities with service available at approximately $30 per month. The lowest prices were in Saskatchewan and Quebec urban centres ($22 and $23 respectively) followed by rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia ($26).

Overall, prices in urban centres ranged from $22 in Saskatchewan to $41 in Ontario, while prices in rural communities ranged from $26 in Newfoundland and Labrador to $41 in Ontario.

Figure 2.7 Prices for basic wireline telephone service ($/month) and number of companies providing this service in urban and rural communities, by province⁄territory, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. rural (1/1) $27 $32
B.C. urban (2/2) $30 $38
Alta. rural (1/1) $32 $34
Alta.urban (2/2) $31 $38
Sask. rural (1/1) $32 $32
Sask. urban (2/2) $22 $33
Man. rural (1/1) $31 $31
Man. urban (2) $31 $33
Ont. rural (0/2) $28 $41
Ont. urban (2/4) $30 $41
Que. rural (1/3) $28 $35
Que. urban (2/3) $23 $31
N.B. rural (1/1) $28 $28
N.B. urban (2) $31 $32
P.E.I. rural (2/2) $31 $36
P.E.I. urban (2) $31 $36
N.S. rural (1/1) $31 $31
N.S. urban (2) $31 $36
N.L. rural (2/2) $26 $36
N.L. urban (2) $31 $32
Y.T. rural (2/2) $33 $40
Y.T. urban (3) $32 $40
N.W.T. rural (2/2) $33 $40
N.W.T. urban (3) $32 $40
Nvt. rural (2/2) $33 $40
Nvt. urban (3) $33 $40

Internet services

Consistent with previous years, urban households generally had access to lower Internet service prices in 2017 and had a greater number of Internet service providers (ISPs) to choose from compared with rural households. On average, rural communities had access to 4 ISPs, while urban centres had access to 8.

In 2017, ISPs were asked to report the price of services meeting the service objective target, the former objective target as well as an intermediate service:

  • 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload (5/1 Mbps) (the former basic service objective target speeds)
  • 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25/3 Mbps) with at least 100 GB of monthly data transfer
  • 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload (50/10 Mbps) with unlimited monthly data transfer (the new universal service objective target speeds)

The bar charts in this section display the range of prices for the various services in urban centres and rural communities in Canada. The number of service providers surveyed is indicated in parentheses. When multiple numbers are displayed for example (2/3), it means that there were 2 to 3 providers reporting for the area.

Urban centres

Urban centres in Ontario and Quebec had more ISPs than those in western Canada, followed by the Atlantic provinces. The territories had the fewest options for ISPs.

5/1 Mbps service

In urban centres, 5/1 Mbps Internet service was available for $25 per month in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, with the exception of Regina ($35), while in Quebec, the Atlantic provinces and the North the lowest price varied from $27 to $60.

The lowest-priced 5/1 Mbps service option reported was provided with unlimited data transfer by 2 to 3 ISPs in the Atlantic provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and by 5 to 7 ISPs in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. These areas also featured more ISPs and greater use of wholesale broadband services. No reported services in the territories had unlimited data transfer in their lowest-priced offering.

Figure 2.8 Prices for residential broadband (5/1 Mbps) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in major urban centres, 2017

Except in Iqaluit, satellite services are excluded in urban areas.

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (9) $25 $63
Victoria (9) $25 $63
Calgary (9) $25 $63
Edmonton (9) $25 $63
Saskatoon (5) $25 $60
Regina (4) $35 $53
Winnipeg (6) $25 $64
Toronto (13) $25 $75
Ottawa-Gatineau (13) $25 $75
Hamilton (13) $25 $75
London (14) $25 $75
Kitchener-Waterloo (13) $25 $75
St Catharines - Niagara (12) $25 $75
Windsor (13) $25 $65
Oshawa (11) $25 $75
Montréal (12) $27 $61
Québec (12) $27 $61
Fredericton (3) $33 $92
Halifax (3) $50 $92
Charlottetown (3) $50 $92
St. John's (3) $33 $92
Whitehorse (1) $42 $42
Yellowknife (1) $42 $42
Iqaluit (1) $60 $60

25/3 Mbps service with at least 100 GB of monthly data transfer

Internet service with a download speed of 25 Mbps and upload speed of 3 Mbps or more was available for about $40 across urban centres in Canada, except in the Atlantic provinces and in the North. The lowest price was $39, throughout urban centres in Quebec and Ontario.

The lowest-cost 25/3 Mbps service option reported was provided with unlimited data transfer by 2 providers in most of the Atlantic provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and by 4 or 5 providers in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. As noted earlier, these areas also featured more ISPs and greater use of wholesale broadband services. No reported services in the territories had unlimited data transfer in their lowest-priced offering.

The lowest-cost 25/3 Mbps service with data transfer limits tended to include at least 175 GB, while in many areas up to 400 GB were included by some ISPs.

Figure 2.9 Prices for residential broadband (25/3 Mbps, 100 GB/month) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in major urban centres, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (9) $40 $80
Victoria (9) $40 $80
Calgary (9) $40 $80
Edmonton (9) $40 $80
Saskatoon (4) $40 $80
Regina (3) $40 $68
Winnipeg (4) $40 $80
Toronto (13) $39 $75
Ottawa-Gatineau (13) $39 $75
Hamilton (13) $39 $75
London (13) $39 $75
Kitchener-Waterloo (12) $39 $75
St Catharines - Niagara (12) $39 $75
Windsor (12) $39 $75
Oshawa (11) $39 $75
Montréal (11) $39 $66
Québec (12) $39 $66
Fredericton (2) $70 $92
Halifax (2) $92 $92
Charlottetown (2) $92 $92
St. John's (2) $70 $92
Whitehorse (1) $111 $111
Yellowknife (1) $111 $111
Iqaluit (0) $0 $0

50/10 Mbps service with unlimited monthly data transfer

As shown in the figure below, service including unlimited data transfer, and speeds of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload, was available in all non-territorial urban centres. Prices ranged from $49 to $90 in Ontario and Quebec, and from $60 to $105 in the other provinces. This regional difference is also seen in the average price , which is lower in Ontario and Quebec than in other areas.

Figure 2.10 Prices for residential broadband (50/10 Mbps, unlimited GB/month) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in major urban centres, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (7) $60 $105
Victoria (7) $60 $105
Calgary (7) $60 $105
Edmonton (7) $60 $105
Saskatoon (3) $60 $105
Regina (2) $85 $85
Winnipeg (3) $60 $105
Toronto (10) $49 $90
Ottawa-Gatineau (11) $49 $90
Hamilton (11) $49 $90
London (11) $49 $90
Kitchener-Waterloo (10) $49 $90
St Catharines - Niagara (10) $49 $90
Windsor (10) $49 $90
Oshawa (9) $49 $90
Montréal (9) $49 $80
Québec (10) $49 $80
Fredericton (2) $85 $92
Halifax (2) $92 $92
Charlottetown (2) $92 $92
St. John's (2) $85 $92
Whitehorse (0) $0 $0
Yellowknife (0) $0 $0
Iqaluit (0) $0 $0

Rural communities versus urban centres

Canadians living in rural communities generally have fewer ISPs to choose from than subscribers living in urban centres. Of all the rural areas examined, the median number of available ISPs was 4, and the average was also 4. The median for urban areas was 9, the average 8.

In addition to having fewer ISPs, rural communities also had access to lower Internet service speeds. Service offerings were reported in all rural communities for 5/1 Mbps service, in 89% of rural communities for 25/3 Mbps service and in 63% of rural communities for 50/10 Mbps service.

In addition to generally higher prices, service offerings in rural communities tended to have lower reported monthly data transfer limits (an average of 181 GB for 25/3 and 5/1 Mbps services) than in urban areas (an average of 224 GB for 25/3 and 5/1 Mbps services), as well as fewer ISPs providing unlimited data transfer with their reported lowest-price offering.

Unlimited data transfer was included in the lowest-priced service offering reported in around 83% of rural areas for 5/1 Mbps service, and in 54% of these areas for 25/3 Mbps service.

5/1 Mbps service

The lowest price for 5/1 Mbps service in urban centres was $25, in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, while the lowest price for the same service in rural communities was $28, in Quebec and Ontario.

The areas with the largest difference in prices between rural communities and urban centres were Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba (a $27 difference), followed by Saskatchewan (a $25 difference).

Quebec and Ontario had the highest number of ISPs reporting service offerings, the lowest prices in rural communities ($28) and the smallest difference between the lowest price in rural communities and urban centres ($1 and $2, respectively) across all provinces.

Figure 2.11 Prices for residential broadband (5/1 Mbps) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Except in Iqaluit, satellite services are excluded in urban areas.

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. rural (4/6) $30 $80
B.C. urban (9/9) $25 $63
Alta. rural (3/7) $30 $87
Alta. urban (9/9) $25 $63
Sask. rural (3/5) $50 $89
Sask. urban (4/5) $25 $60
Man. rural (3/4) $52 $69
Man. urban (6) $25 $64
Ont. rural (3/9) $28 $75
Ont. urban (11/14) $25 $75
Que. rural (4/9) $28 $60
Que. urban (12/12) $27 $61
N.B. rural (1/3) $33 $91
N.B. urban (3) $33 $92
P.E.I. rural (2/3) $60 $92
P.E.I. urban (3) $50 $92
N.S. rural (1/2) $60 $92
N.S. urban (3) $50 $92
N.L. rural (2/3) $60 $92
N.L. urban (3) $33 $92
Y.T. rural (1/1) $84 $84
Y.T. urban (1) $42 $42
N.W.T. rural (1/2) $42 $77
N.W.T. urban (1) $42 $42
Nvt. rural (1/1) $60 $60
Nvt. urban (1) $60 $60

25/3 Mbps service with at least 100 GB of monthly data transfer

Prices for 25/3 Mbps service varied from $39 to $111. The lowest price in urban areas was $39, in Quebec and Ontario, while in the North, where the service was available, prices ranged from $100 to $111 per month.

In rural communities, prices for this service ranged from $39 in Quebec and Ontario to $111 in the North, where the service was available.

Similar to 5/1 Mbps service prices, prices for 25/3 Mbps service were typically higher in rural areas. The difference in prices between rural communities and urban areas ranged from $0 in Quebec and Ontario, where there was the greatest number of ISPs reporting service offerings, to $29 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Figure 2.12 Prices for residential broadband (25/3 Mbps, 100 GB/month) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. rural (2/4) $45 $100
B.C. urban (9/9) $40 $80
Alta. rural (2/4) $45 $90
Alta. urban (9/9) $40 $80
Sask. rural (1/3) $69 $100
Sask. urban (3/4) $40 $80
Man. rural (1/2) $69 $100
Man. urban (4) $40 $80
Ont. rural (2/9) $39 $100
Ont. urban (11/13) $39 $75
Que. rural (2/6) $39 $100
Que. urban (11/12) $39 $66
N.B. rural (1/2) $70 $90
N.B. urban (2) $70 $92
P.E.I. rural (1/2) $90 $92
P.E.I. urban (2) $92 $92
N.S. rural (0/1) $92 $100
N.S. urban (2) $92 $92
N.L. rural (1/1) $92 $92
N.L. urban (2) $70 $92
Y.T. rural (0/0) $0 $0
Y.T. urban (1) $111 $111
N.W.T. rural (0/2) $100 $111
N.W.T. urban (1) $111 $111
Nvt. rural (0/0) $0 $0
Nvt. urban (0) $0 $0

50/10 Mbps service with unlimited monthly data transfer

50/10 Mbps service offerings were reported through most of the provinces, with the exception of rural Manitoba and rural Saskatchewan, which tended to rely on fixed wireless service offerings. Prices ranged from $49 in Quebec and Ontario to $105 in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Consistent with the trends observed with the lower-speed offerings, the lowest prices were in the areas with the most reported service offerings, namely Quebec and Ontario. These two provinces also had consistent pricing between rural communities and urban centres, while the largest differences in pricing between urban centres and rural communities were in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia (a $45 difference).

Figure 2.13 Prices for residential broadband (50/10 Mbps, unlimited GB/month) Internet access service and number of companies providing this service in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. rural (2/4) $60 $88
B.C. urban (7/7) $60 $105
Alta. rural (0/2) $60 $80
Alta. urban (7/7) $60 $105
Sask. rural (0/0) $0 $0
Sask. urban (2/3) $60 $105
Man. rural (0/0) $0 $0
Man. urban (3) $60 $105
Ont. rural (1/6) $49 $90
Ont. urban (9/11) $49 $90
Que. rural (0/5) $49 $80
Que. urban (9/10) $49 $80
N.B. rural (1/1) $85 $85
N.B. urban (2) $85 $92
P.E.I. rural (1/1) $92 $92
P.E.I. urban (2) $92 $92
N.S. rural (0/1) $92 $92
N.S. urban (2) $92 $92
N.L. rural (1/1) $92 $92
N.L. urban (2) $85 $92
Y.T. rural (0/0) $0 $0
Y.T. urban (0) $0 $0
N.W.T. rural (0/0) $0 $0
N.W.T. urban (0) $0 $0
Nvt. rural (0/0) $0 $0
Nvt. urban (0) $0 $0

Mobile services

In 2017, each studied market had 2 or more wireless service providers (WSPs), with urban centres in Ontario leading with 5 WSPs.

The price structure of mobile services is based on usage. To assess the prices for these services in urban centres and in rural communities, four service baskets were used, and both flanker and primary service brands were considered. These baskets were modified in 2016 to increase the amount of Internet data included per month in level 2, 3, and 4 baskets.

  • The level 1 service basket represents introductory or low-usage types of plans that offer 150 minutes of voice service per month, with no SMS or Internet data.
  • The level 2 mobile service basket encompasses low- to mid-tier types of plans that provide customers with at least 450 minutes of voice service, 300 SMS, and 1 GB of Internet data per month.
  • The level 3 service basket comprises plans representative of a typical smartphone user, offering at least 1200 minutes of voice service, 300 SMS, and 2 GB of Internet data per month.
  • The level 4 service basket is geared towards smartphone users who want access to unlimited minutes of voice service and SMS, along with 5 GB of Internet data per month.

Similar to previous years, the difference between the lowest and highest prices generally grew as the service baskets included more voice and data usage.

The bar charts in this section displays the range of prices for the various services in urban centres and rural communities in Canada. The number of service providers surveyed is indicated in parentheses. When multiple numbers are displayed for example (2/3), it means that there were 2 to 3 providers reporting for the area.

Urban centres

Urban centres with four or more WSPs generally had the largest difference between the lowest and highest prices reported, as well as the lowest reported prices in three of the four service baskets. The difference between the lowest and highest prices across all service baskets in any given urban centre ranged from a low of $5 to a high of $36. The price differences that were most pronounced were found in the level 4 service basket. The average price differences between lowest and highest reported prices for the level 1, 2, 3, and 4 service baskets were $10, $14, $21, and $30, respectively.

Level 1 services – 150 minutes of voice, no SMS, no Internet data

Level 1 services were available for approximately $20 across Canada. Prices were lowest in the North, at $19, while in the rest of Canada, $20 was the lowest price.

Prices for level 1 services had limited variations within urban centres. Prices within most cities ranged from $20 to $30, while the widest variation ($15) was in Winnipeg, where prices ranged from $20 to $35.

Figure 2.14 Prices for a level 1 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in major urban centres, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (4) $20 $30
Victoria (3) $20 $30
Calgary (4) $20 $30
Edmonton (4) $20 $30
Saskatoon (4) $20 $31
Regina (4) $20 $31
Winnipeg (4) $20 $35
Toronto (4) $20 $30
Ottawa-Gatineau (5) $20 $30
Hamilton (4) $20 $30
London (4) $20 $30
Kitchener-Waterloo (4) $20 $30
St Catharines - Niagara (4) $20 $30
Windsor (4) $20 $30
Oshawa (4) $20 $30
Montréal (4) $20 $30
Québec (4) $20 $30
Fredericton (3) $20 $30
Charlottetown (4) $20 $30
Halifax (4) $20 $30
St. John's (3) $20 $30
Whitehorse (3) $19 $30
Yellowknife (3) $19 $30
Iqaluit (3) $19 $30

Level 2 services – 450 minutes of voice, 300 SMS, 1 GB of Internet data

The lowest prices in urban centres for level 2 services ranged from $35 in Québec and Montréal to $45 in Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Whitehorse. In all the provinces, level 2 services were available at a price point of $40 or lower, while in the North, prices started at $45.

Overall, prices varied from $35 to $61, while in most areas the difference in prices was about $15.

Figure 2.15 Prices for a level 2 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in major urban centres, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (4) $40 $55
Victoria (3) $40 $55
Calgary (4) $40 $55
Edmonton (4) $40 $55
Saskatoon (4) $40 $61
Regina (4) $40 $61
Winnipeg (4) $40 $50
Toronto (4) $40 $55
Ottawa-Gatineau (5) $40 $55
Hamilton (4) $40 $55
London (4)  $40 $55
Kitchener - Waterloo (4) $40 $55
St Catharines - Niagara (4) $40 $55
Windsor (4) $40 $55
Oshawa (4) $40 $55
Montréal (4) $35 $44
Québec (4) $35 $44
Fredericton (3) $40 $56
Charlottetown (4) $40 $56
Halifax (4) $40 $55
St. John's (3) $40 $55
Whitehorse (2) $45 $55
Yellowknife (2) $45 $55
Iqaluit (2) $45 $55

Level 3 services – 1,200 minutes of voice, 300 SMS, 2 GB of Internet data

In urban centres, level 3 services were available for $45 or less. The lowest price was $40, in cities in Ontario as well as Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

Prices ranged from $40 to $65 and 3 or more service providers reported offerings in each urban centre, except in the North.

Figure 2.16 Prices for a Level 3 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in major urban centres, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (4) $40 $65
Victoria (3) $45 $65
Calgary (4) $40 $65
Edmonton (4) $40 $65
Saskatoon (4) $45 $66
Regina (4) $45 $66
Winnipeg (4) $45 $50
Toronto (4) $40 $65
Ottawa-Gatineau (5) $40 $65
Hamilton (4) $40 $65
London (4)  $40 $65
Kitchener - Waterloo (4) $40 $65
St Catharines - Niagara (4) $40 $65
Windsor (4) $40 $65
Oshawa (4) $40 $65
Montréal (4) $45 $55
Québec (4) $45 $55
Fredericton (3) $45 $66
Charlottetown (4) $45 $66
Halifax (4) $45 $65
St. John's (3) $45 $65
Whitehorse (2) $45 $65
Yellowknife (2) $45 $65
Iqaluit (2) $45 $65

Level 4 services – unlimited voice and SMS, 5 GB of Internet data

The lowest price in urban centres ranged from $48 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with Québec not far behind at $49, to $65 in the North and the Atlantic provinces (although there was a service offering at $60 in Fredericton).

Pricing was the most consistent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where service offerings ranged from $48 to $66. Overall, prices for level 4 services ranged from $48 to $99, with the largest difference observed in Québec and Montréal, where prices ranged from $49 to $85 (a difference of $36).

Figure 2.17 Prices for a level 4 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in major urban centres, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
Vancouver (4) $50 $85
Victoria (3) $60 $85
Calgary (4) $50 $85
Edmonton (4) $50 $85
Saskatoon (4) $48 $66
Regina (4) $48 $66
Winnipeg (4) $48 $60
Toronto (4) $50 $85
Ottawa-Gatineau (5) $50 $85
Hamilton (4) $50 $85
London (4)  $50 $85
Kitchener - Waterloo (4) $50 $85
St Catharines - Niagara (4) $50 $85
Windsor (4) $50 $85
Oshawa (4) $50 $85
Montréal (4) $49 $85
Québec (4) $49 $85
Fredericton (3) $60 $86
Charlottetown (4) $65 $86
Halifax (4) $65 $85
St. John's (3) $65 $86
Whitehorse (3) $65 $99
Yellowknife (3) $65 $99
Iqaluit (3) $65 $99

Rural communities versus urban centres

The prices for mobile wireless services in rural communities, across all service baskets, were generally equal to or higher than those in urban centres, with the exception of the level 4 service basket, for which the average lowest and highest prices were slightly lower in rural communities. Within the level 4 service basket, rural communities in several Atlantic Canada provinces and the three territories had access to reported lower prices compared to urban centres.

The average differences between the lowest and highest prices were slightly lower in rural communities than in urban centres for the level 3 and 4 service baskets, while the level 1 and 2 service baskets reported the same average price differences. The average price differences between the lowest and highest prices for level 1, 2, 3, and 4 service baskets were $10, $14, $19, and $25, respectively.

Level 1 services – 150 minutes of voice, no SMS, no Internet data

The lowest prices for level 1 services were consistent between urban centres and rural communities throughout Canada, except in the North, where prices were $6 higher in rural communities ($25).

The lowest price for level 1 service in rural communities was $20, offered in all provinces, while the lowest price for level 1 service in urban centres was $19, offered in the North.

Figure 2.18 Prices for a level 1 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. Rural (3) $20 $30
B.C. Urban (4) $20 $30
Alta. Rural (3) $20 $30
Alta. Urban (4) $20 $30
Sask. Rural (4) $20 $31
Sask. Urban (4) $20 $31
Man. Rural (4) $20 $35
Man. Urban (4) $20 $35
Ont. Rural (3) $20 $30
Ont. Urban (5) $20 $30
Que. Rural (4) $20 $30
Que. Urban (4) $20 $30
N.B. Rural (3) $20 $30
N.B. Urban (3) $20 $30
P.E.I. Rural (4) $20 $30
P.E.I. Urban (4) $20 $30
N.S. Rural (4) $20 $32
N.S. Urban (4) $20 $30
N.L. Rural (3) $20 $32
N.L. Urban (3) $20 $30
Y.T. Rural (2) $25 $30
Y.T. Urban (3) $19 $30
N.W.T. Rural (2) $25 $30
N.W.T. Urban (3) $19 $30
Nvt. Rural (2) $25 $30
Nvt. Urban (3) $19 $30

Level 2 services – 450 minutes of voice, 300 SMS, 1 GB of Internet data

Prices for level 2 services were consistent between rural communities and urban centres throughout Canada.

The lowest price for a level 2 service was in Quebec ($35), followed by all the other provinces ($40) and the North ($45).

Figure 2.19 Prices for a level 2 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. Rural (3) $40 $55
B.C. Urban (4) $40 $55
Alta. Rural (3) $40 $55
Alta. Urban (4) $40 $55
Sask. Rural (4) $40 $61
Sask. Urban (4) $40 $61
Man. Rural (4) $40 $50
Man. Urban (4) $40 $50
Ont. Rural (3) $40 $55
Ont. Urban (5) $40 $55
Que. Rural (4) $35 $44
Que. Urban (4) $35 $44
N.B. Rural (3) $40 $56
N.B. Urban (3) $40 $56
P.E.I. Rural (4) $40 $56
P.E.I. Urban (4) $40 $56
N.S. Rural (4) $40 $55
N.S. Urban (4) $40 $55
N.L. Rural (3) $40 $57
N.L. Urban (3) $40 $55
Y.T. Rural (2) $45 $55
Y.T. Urban (2) $45 $55
N.W.T. Rural (2) $45 $55
N.W.T. Urban (2) $45 $55
Nvt. Rural (2) $45 $55
Nvt. Urban (2) $45 $55

Level 3 services – 1,200 minutes of voice, 300 SMS, 2 GB of Internet data

Prices for level 3 services were mostly consistent between urban centres and rural communities, with the exception of Ontario, where the lowest price in urban centres was $27 lower than the lowest price in rural communities. In other provinces, the difference between the lowest prices in urban centres compared to rural communities ranged from $0 (the North, the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) to $5 (Alberta and British Columbia).

In rural communities, prices for level 3 services ranged from $40 in Quebec to $55 in Ontario, while in most provinces and in the territories, prices started at $45.

Figure 2.20 Prices for a level 3 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. Rural (3) $45 $65
B.C. Urban (4) $40 $65
Alta. Rural (3) $45 $65
Alta. Urban (4) $40 $65
Sask. Rural (4) $45 $66
Sask. Urban (4) $45 $66
Man. Rural (4) $45 $50
Man. Urban (4) $45 $50
Ont. Rural (3) $55 $64
Ont. Urban (5) $38 $64
Que. Rural (4) $40 $65
Que. Urban (4) $40 $65
N.B. Rural (3) $45 $66
N.B. Urban (3) $45 $66
P.E.I. Rural (4) $45 $66
P.E.I. Urban (4) $45 $66
N.S. Rural (4) $45 $65
N.S. Urban (4) $45 $65
N.L. Rural (3) $45 $71
N.L. Urban (3) $45 $65
Y.T. Rural (2) $45 $65
Y.T. Urban (2) $45 $65
N.W.T. Rural (2) $45 $65
N.W.T. Urban (2) $45 $65
Nvt. Rural (2) $45 $65
Nvt. Urban (2) $45 $65

Level 4 services – unlimited voice and SMS, 5 GB of Internet data

The differences in prices for level 4 services between urban centres and rural communities varied from $0 in New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to $10 in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, while in the other provinces and in the territories, the difference was $5.

While services are generally more expensive in rural communities, the opposite was the case in the North, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, where lower prices for level 4 services were available in rural communities compared to urban centres.

The lowest prices for level 4 services in rural communities ranged from $48 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to $60 in the North, the Atlantic provinces, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Figure 2.21 Prices for a level 4 service ($/month) and number of companies providing the service in urban centres and rural communities, 2017

Source: CRTC data collection

Long Description
Min Max
B.C. Rural (3) $60 $85
B.C. Urban (4) $50 $85
Alta. Rural (3) $60 $85
Alta. Urban (4) $50 $85
Sask. Rural (4) $48 $66
Sask. Urban (4) $48 $66
Man. Rural (4) $48 $60
Man. Urban (4) $48 $60
Ont. Rural (3) $60 $85
Ont. Urban (5) $50 $85
Que. Rural (4) $49 $85
Que. Urban (4) $49 $85
N.B. Rural (3) $60 $86
N.B. Urban (3) $60 $86
P.E.I. Rural (4) $60 $86
P.E.I. Urban (4) $65 $86
N.S. Rural (4) $60 $85
N.S. Urban (4) $65 $85
N.L. Rural (3) $60 $86
N.L. Urban (3) $65 $86
Y.T. Rural (2) $60 $85
Y.T. Urban (3) $65 $99
N.W.T. Rural (2) $60 $85
N.W.T. Urban (3) $65 $99
Nvt. Rural (2) $60 $85
Nvt. Urban (3) $65 $99

Appendix

Rural communities were selected based on the following criteria:

  • The community was not part of one of the census metropolitan areas of the 24 urban centres listed in Table 2.1 below;
  • The community had a population density of fewer than 400 people per square kilometre, or its population centres had fewer than 1,000 people per centre;
  • The number of communities selected in each province or territory reflected that province’s or territory’s proportion of the total population of Canada; and
  • The communities were not geographically clustered.
Table 2.1 List of urban centres
Province/territory Urban centre
British Columbia Vancouver
Victoria
Alberta Calgary
Edmonton
Saskatchewan Saskatoon
Regina
Manitoba Winnipeg
Ontario Toronto
Ottawa - Gatineau
Hamilton
London
Kitchener-Waterloo
St. Catherines-Niagara
Windsor
Oshawa
Quebec Montréal
Québec
New Brunswick Fredericton
Prince Edward Island Charlottetown
Nova Scotia Halifax
Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's
Yukon Whitehorse
Northwest Territories Yellowknife
Nunavut Iqaluit

Major centre boundaries are defined using Statistics Canada’s census metropolitan area and census agglomeration definitions.

Table 2.2 List of rural communities
Province/territory Community
British Columbia Barriere
Bowser
Cobble Hill
Hazelton
Kaslo
Keremeos
Thrums
Alberta Cremona
Evansburg
Glendon
Hythe
Wabasca
Saskatchewan Broadview
Gull Lake
Naicam
Redvers
Spiritwood
Manitoba Ashern
La Broquerie
Norway House
Pine Falls
Southport
Ontario Bayfield
Ripley
Bancroft
Echo Bay
Emsdale
Ingleside
Lion's Head
Quebec L'Islet
La Guadeloupe
Lac-Des-Écorces
New Carlisle
Laterrière
Rock Island
Saint-Honoré (Témiscouata)
New Brunswick Cap-Pelé
Florenceville
Lamèque
Prince Edward Island Crapaud
Hunter River
Morell-St. Peters
Nova Scotia Bear River
Mahone Bay
Wedgeport
Newfoundland and Labrador Burin
Harbour Main
New Harbour
Yukon Dawson City
Mayo
Northwest Territories Fort Simpson
Fort Smith
Nunavut Cape Dorset
Igloolik
Date modified:
Top