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Innovation Minister says ‘more work to be done’ following release of latest data plan price tracker

The federal government has released its fourth quarterly report tracking the progress of its commitment to reduce the cost of mid-range wireless plans by 25 percent over the next two years.

The report acknowledges that although the data collected shows price reductions, more progress is still needed. The fourth tracker covers the period from January to March 2021.

After more than a year of tracking, the report outlines that the majority of mid-range data plans have seen price declines between nine and 25 percent when compared to the benchmark prices collected in early 2020, mainly due to promotional pricing.

For context, the benchmark price, or the price to which the 25 percent reduction will apply, is based on prices advertised on carrier websites in early 2020 for postpaid, bring your own device (BYOD), unlimited talk and text 4G/LTE plans in the 2GB to 6GB range.

The latest data shows that the 25 percent reduction goal has been achieved for 6GB plans relative to the benchmark price in all provinces except Quebec. However, prices for 2GB and 4GB plans in Quebec were already lower than the January 2020 benchmark prices.

In the majority of provinces, 2GB plan prices have dropped by 10 percent relative to the benchmark price, while prices for 4GB plans have generally decreased between 9 and 18 percent.

It’s important to note that the report doesn’t include data from Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Further, some areas across the country don’t offer plans that meet the categories and prices set out in the report.

“Improving affordability, competition and innovation in wireless plans is a priority for our government. I am encouraged to see declining prices on a majority of plans across Canada,” said Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne in a statement.

“There is still more work to be done, and we will continue working with service providers in the coming year to make sure all Canadians have access to more affordable options.”

gov plan reduction

The government released the benchmarks for mid-range plans in March 2020 when it announced that Bell, Rogers and Telus across their brands would be expected to lower their midrange plan prices over the next two years.

The benchmark for a 2GB plan is $50, and with the 25 percent reduction, it would bring the price down to $37.50 per month. The government says this would save a family of four $12.50 a month, $150 per year and up to $600 overall.

Secondly, the benchmark for a 4GB plan is $55 and would come down to $41.25 after the reduction. This would save a family of four $13.75 a month, $165 a year, and up to $660 overall.

Lastly, the government outlined that the benchmark for a 6GB plan is $60 and that after the reduction, it would come down to $45 per month. This translates to a family of four saving $15 in a month, $180 a year and up to $720 overall.

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