Average mobile plans have dropped in price since 2008, but Canada is still expensive: CRTC

The CRTC has conducted a survey of the state of the various wireline and wireless services in Canada, including the newly-competitive national mobile industry, and found that the more things change the more they stay the same.

The research team divided the survey into three buckets — Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

Level 1: 150 incoming & outgoing minutes per month, 10 % of outgoing minutes long distance, and no optional features
Level 2: 450 incoming & outgoing minutes per month, 10 % of outgoing minutes long distance, two optional features (voice mail and call display), 250 text messages per month
Level 3: 1,200 incoming & outgoing minutes per month, 15 % of outgoing minutes long distance, full set of optional features, 250 text messages and 1 GB data usage per month

Level 1 is now the most expensive among the five countries surveyed, including Australia, United Kingdom, United States, France and Japan. In terms of Level 2 and 3, “Canada tends to fall into the middle of the pack relative to the five foreign justifications included in this study.  However, in the case of the Level 1 (low use) service level basket, Canada now has the highest average rate of the group of surveyed countries – just above the U.S. and well above the other four surveyed countries.”

The new entrants, due to their small market penetration, don’t seem to have as much impact on the overall average price users actually pay. But if you break down the prices in three major cosmopolitan areas, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, the price differential between the incumbents and new entrants is as high as 44% for the most expensive plans. In every case, the new entrants were at least 20% cheaper, though at this point the incumbents offer faster LTE service and greater coverage across the country.

When compared to other industrialized countries, Canada does indeed sit somewhere in the middle of the pack. Along with the United States it is significantly more expensive than European and Asian countries for the equivalent services; the U.K. and Australia put us to shame in the high-end, offering 1GB of data and 1,200 minutes for less than $52CAD.

There’s a lot of great information in the summary, including mobile internet prices which we haven’t touched on.

Take a look at it over at the CRTC.