Canada Worse than 3rd World Countries when it comes to Mobile Data Access

Travesty of Canadian Mobile Carriers

The motto of the CRTC, Canada’s telcom regulator is “Communications in the Public Interest”. Right.

If you live in Canada, write to your MP. The CRTC, as an institution, needs to be taken out and shot.*

This chart charts the best rates available from all carriers. And all levels of government say that “ICT” competitiveness is key factor in Canada’s future economic
prosperity. Ya. Right. I would like to say that Canada is a 3rd world country when it comes to Mobile ICT, except you can clearly see from this chart that even *Rwanda* has orders of magnitude better Mobile Data service than Canada.

As I’ve noted in the chart, 500MB is about 100 minutes of usage at a Canadian Carrier’s maximum (advertised) download speed of 700kB/s (your mileage will vary, International carriers are typically twice or four times faster). 500MB is not a lot of data in the grand scheme of things, a few GB could make a better example but in that case the red bars would be completely off the charts.

If you don’t live in Canada but you or your small business depends on mobile connectivity or net neutrality in general, don’t come here.

If see these numbers makes you mad, then Digg this article and spread the word on your site.

(and leave a comment, what is mobile service like where you live? why do you think mobile data is important?)

Here is the complete data table including data speed and Caps for each of the services listed. You’ll notice Canadian carriers lag substantially in every category.

see also on this blog: Bell to charge you $3600 per hour for Wireless Internet access. (the situation has not changed in a while)

supporting links:……………

*not literally of course, we are Canadian after all. (the CRTC is the Canadian regulator for radio, television, and telecomumnications). Here’s the Canadian Telecommunications Act that governs the CRTC. I like parts 7 a, b and c.

UPDATE May 2010: While the situation (and competition) has improved significantly in Canada since this post was first published, according to OECD data Canadians still pay among the highest cell phone bills in the world.

UPDATE December2007: For ongoing and more up to date coverage of the Canadian wireless industry, data rates, carriers, spectrum auctions, and mobile startups, I recommend

  • Dragnits

    Waited two years for my contract with Bell to be over so I could cancel my service. Just received a bill today for 400.00 . Maybe I was a day early and they charged me with termination liability . I can’t believe they would stoop to such tactics aqnd rip people off like this it’s legal robbery.

  • Weatherald

    You should be thankfull that you live in TO. You’ve got it 1000 times better in the likelyhood department that you will get service sooner than later…. Here in Saskatchewan Sasktel promises to have 3G service within 3 years (that was a year ago). What they don’t tell you is that you have to be living in Regina, Saskatoon or one of the other largest centers to even be considered for it in the next decade… reality dictates that there just aren’t enough patrons to pay for the cost of an upgrade in real time. Ottawa has to step up here and even the playing field with Canadian TAXPAYER dollars or open the door to foriegn investment/access!!! CRTC stands for Communist Radio, TV and (lack of) Communications.

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  • Paul

    I actually emailed the “honourable” Tony Clement (the federal Industry minister who’s mandate is to promote industry “innovation” especially in his riding of perry sound) about this issue months ago and never received a response. I explained that I am a phd student at U of Toronto in Economics and that new research suggests that the old Schumpeterian assumption that competition hinders innovation is too simple an interpretation, considering how often Bell/Rogers blackmail the CRTC by pulling out the “we won’t invest in infrastructure” card. Needless to say I never received a response; I suppose I can interpret this as Tony either being in the pocket of vested interests or simply not giving a shit?

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  • Zain

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  • the blueprint project

    this is a great site full of great content

  • Eva

    Not just in mobile data access, but in most things, very third world. The only reason why Canada is first-world, is because of the past achievements and gains, and we are only living off of this but with no new innovation and real development. There is really nothing going on in Canada besides auto, gasoline and housing and IMMIGRATION industries, which only a few are in and gain from monetarily or in opportunity. On paper and law Canada is first-world, but the day-to-day elements and factors within Canada are totally third-world. As for the USA, I won’t even touch that.

  • Justin_hockey21

    TOAST! haha

  • Patricia_monk894

    I like cellphones. toast too

  • Frewty55

    Sorry to see no one comments much so we deserve the rates we get. It would be nice to see a Canadian site to compare ALL the carriers side by side…Rob

  • Thehypnotoad

    I have a really bad service with Telus, probably the worst customer service of all!

  • Thehypnotoad

    The big players in this market are Roger/fido and Bell mobility but NOT bell SOLO Mobil, and the rest are small players, maybe Videtron who just come in the market, but gonna work really hard to have a small piece of the action, and I mean really really hard!, so its gonna be between Bell and Roger/fido, and don’t underestimated Bell.

  • Thehypnotoad

    Your right! when I was living in New york, It take 10 minutes on the phone with at&t,
    And I receive my phone the next day by Fed Ex, and my agreement cost me 25% less then what I have In Canada!

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  • Robert

    Having lived outside of Canada for 10 years, it has been my pleasure – and displeasure – in coming back. Pleasure, because Canada is a wonderful country; displeasure because of the internet situation. Living for years in Egypt, far from any major centre, in a desert town of about 5000 people – many whom did not have internet, never mind a computer – I “struggled” with a 1MB per second internet connection for about $10 a month. Today, on the family farm in rural Manitoba, close to the US border, I have dial up (transferring at maybe 1-2 kB a second) for about $30 a month. Skype is completely unusable and just checking your email is a half hour ordeal. God forbid, and may he grant you hours of time, if someone has the audactity to mail you a file >500kB. “Solutions” available to us have download limits and do not have good reviews from our neighbors using the service. No one I know pays less than $60 a month plus set-fees, plus equipment rental, plus, plus, plus. If you want good service without having to worry about bandwidth, $100 plus options per month seem the norm. What a shame Canada. How could we have fallen so far behind the times?

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  • Exam Notes

    hmm nice information about canada thanks

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  • Tom

    the only thing i can think of why canada soo expensive is becuase we are soo big in area and soo sparesly populated. other than southern ontario and quebec that is. look alberta all the main cities are at least 300km away from eachoher and only have little farms in between. What they should do is have cheaper data rates in main cities (cities with population over 75,000)

  • Shatteproof

    first indicator that the author has no clue what they are talking about. CRTC has nothing to do with Wireless communications. The RT stands for Radio and Television.I hope you can guess what the C stands for…Try the CCTS…

  • Web Strategy

    I’d love an update on this post.
    I’m sure it’s gone down, but the ratio’s in comparison to US and EU plans (and speeds) are similarly skewed.

  • Rod

    Anyways, I’m looking into getting a smart phone for accessing data via
    the world-wide-web. I am aware that in Canada, the carriers are
    notorious for charging hefty rates for data plans. I would like to
    kindly know if anyone has any insights on this subject?

    I’m currently with Telus for my internet access and may consider asking
    them if they can provide me with an affordable plan/service.

    My usage shall be limited to accessing a brokerage account, as well as, receiving incoming trade signals.

    Thank you all for your feedback!

  • Guest

    I hate canada… fucking overrrated piece of shit

  • Guest

    just another tick on the long long list of things canadians over pay out the a** for when compared to the exact same product or service as people in the US or elsewhere.. 

  • Dalain Jrp

    Will be returning to Canada next year.  I’m very scared that I will have to learn to live without a Cell phone.  I’ve been looking at the prices, problem is that a $30 plan is actually more like $60 when you receive the bill, due to all the hidden fees, and by then it’s too late.  You are now tied to a plan, and cost you more money to get out of it.  Data plans are even worse.  Something has to be done this is very wrong!!

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  • Tom Machell

    We presently
    have Aliant cellular Internet and it’s very expensive. Furthermore, we are bound
    by contracts the same as a cell phone. I started out with their Turbo stick when
    I orginally went to them for internet. Then a few months later, I found out that
    there was a Turbo Hub which had a more affordable data package. To add insult to
    injury, the hub was available at the time I purchased the stick, but customer
    service rep. didn’t know and the hub wasn’t offered to me as an option at the
    time I signed for the stick. So I went back to Rogers and told them this, they
    wouldn’t allow me out of the stick contract and I wasn’t eligible for a hardware
    upgrade. I had to purchase a separate, new contract for the hub. They did allow
    me to change the plan on the stick to $10./mo. for no-usage fee and it sits in a
    drawer doing nothing. It was cheaper to pay the $250. for the life of the stick
    contract, than to pay the contract cancellation fees! Argg…don’t get me
    started…makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck just thinking about the
    entire ordeal.


    Our bill is nearly $160./mo. and we don’t really use it that much.
    The high web content makes the data exchange pretty high, even with browser
    caching. Furthermore, it’s not really that reliable and tends to drop or not
    connect depending on weather(?), sun spots(?), etc.


    We presently have satellite TV which cost us $45./mo. for basic
    package and it’s not really that good; many duplicate channels of the same
    shows. My phone cost me $55/mo. with long distance costing $15./mo. PLUS, the
    no-usage stick stilling the the desk drawer for $10./mo. Total: $285./mo. for
    three utilities!! If I were to place some of the better channels on TV (Nat.
    Geo. and Discovery) the bill goes up to nearly $70./mo. for a new total of
    $310./mo. How’s that for affordability?!


    The Eastlink package for CableTV, phone and unlimited internet is
    $130./mo. (Ref. Eastlink Cust. Service.)


    You can see that this is
    all pretty frustrating and I’m feel like I’m getting ripped off because my house
    lies 0.4km (5 poles) from the nearest Eastlink drop.

  • Stodgeyski

    Im glad I live in Russia….your rates really suck the big one and your cell carriers are obviously extortionists supported by government regulators.

  • Niggazrobbingcanad

    Shut the hell up. We Americans got it way better then you second hand Canadians who are ass raped by their own government. Your health system only works because you have 38 million people in Canada where we have 350 million Americans. Thus our jobs are more better then yours which come with health insurance. Our car insurance is better. Each state has their own tax rate and we dont have our government sticking their dicks in our ass like little school kids unlike you Canadians who enjoy it. Another thing is Canada has all American companies there, Walmart, Target, Cocacola, Pepsi, Best Buy, Apple, and many more. In other words America owns you pussy Canadians so shut your mouth.

  • Jerome

    We got a badass over here dont we.  And ya theres a lot of american comps here but no cities that ive been in have a Target.  And WTF is a “second hand canadian” that ur referring to.  I dont think u know shit all about Canada so u should shut up “Niggazrobbingcanad”

  • Weppob

    Please guys don’t be mad, just have a look on Lebanon:
    No unlimited plans
    11 Cents per SMS
    Around 30 Cents per minute
    Services like knowing who called you when your phone was off are charged
     We really have the most expensive mobile phone plans services in the world

  • Hkdjshfsd

     american salaries are higher for skilled jobs. canada only has better minimum wage

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  • Bobby

    Im glad I live in Canada and not Russia, at least its just our phone companies that are extortionists compared to the hole government bud. Russia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world lol

  • Bobby

    hate hate hate thats all you Americans are good at, and ya we can totaly tell youre educated in states as well  (MORE BETTER) lmfao

  • Bobby

    don’t worry we hate you as well, Bitch

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  • Brad Amero

    stay classy mr fucking america

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  • Guy

    I can see that your education system is also really good. Still don’t know the difference between then and than, and your jobs are “more better”. Lol at your sir.

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