Rogers and Bell set to increase wireless phone plan prices despite Ottawa’s promise
Rogers and Bell set to increase wireless phone plan prices despite Ottawa’s promise

Canadians with Rogers and Bell wireless phone plans are gifted this new year with a rate hike.

Rogers confirmed the impending price hikes to CBC News Wednesday, with a similar move anticipated from Bell in February.

“We are committed to delivering mobile and residential services with the highest standard of quality and reliability to bring our customers the best network experience,” a Rogers spokesperson said.

This commitment includes “increased capacity to ensure reliable and consistent service for our customers, expanding into more communities from coast to coast, and making improvements to our customer service tools.”

The price adjustments by Rogers will affect certain wireless phone and internet plans, including those under its subsidiary, Fido. Customers who don’t have fixed price contracts are the primary targets for these increases. While many will see a price hike under $7, it could go as high as $9 per month depending on individual plans or bundles. These changes are set to be reflected in bills issued after Jan. 17.

The CRTC, which regulates telecom companies, told True North it is aware of the announcement and is prioritizing work to help Canadians have more choices in affordable wireless plans. The organization said it recently established rules to encourage wireless providers to expand services across Canada, aiming to create more choice and price competition for Canadians.

“This work allows Canadians to go online today and find offers from various providers that weren’t there a year ago,” said the CRTC.

Bell, another major player in the Canadian telecom industry, is reportedly following suit with price increases in February, according to a report by MobileSyrup. Several Bell customers have reported notifications of upcoming bill increases, confirming the trend of rising costs. 

True North reached out to Bell to confirm but received no response by publication.

One notification received by a Bell customer, dated December 8 and posted to X, detailed a $6/month price increase that will be applied to billing by February 2024. The email justifies the price increase because Bell is “continuously investing to provide world-class services, reliable connections, and to support the rapidly increasing network demand.”

Cable.co.uk analyzed the average cost of 1GB of mobile data for 237 countries. Canada was among the lowest countries, ranked 216 at $5.37 USD per 1GB of data. Israel, at the top of the leaderboards, pays only $0.02 per 1GB of data. Data was most expensive in Zimbabwe, at $43.75/GB.

The price hikes come in the wake of Rogers’ merger with Shaw Communications, a deal completed in April 2023 after overcoming numerous regulatory hurdles. Initially announced in March 2021, the merger sparked widespread concern over reduced competition in the telecom sector.

At the time of the merger’s finalization, Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri assured customers of a brighter future. 

“What we want to make sure we get right is all the things for our customers, and in particular, affordability,” Staffieri said in an interview following the merger. “One of the key pluses of this is that competition is going up, especially in the west, and prices are going to come down.”

Ryan Williams, Conservative MP for Bay of Quinte, posted to X that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in 2019 to lower cell phone bills by 25%. 

“He also promised the Rogers Shaw merger would lower cell phone bills. None of that is true,” said Williams. 

The Rogers spokesperson said that the telecommunications company has taken steps to improve the affordability of its 5G offerings. This initiative features the introduction of a $25 5G plan tailored for low-income consumers, along with complimentary 5G network access to existing Rogers 4G wireless customers without additional charges.

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