The Big Three’s cash grab, by the numbers.

GS4 & Big 3

Last month the CRTC took the unusual step of publishing a Wireless Code for Canadian carriers. Amazingly, those ridiculous three-year contracts forced upon us by Bell, Rogers and Telus will soon be a thing of the past.

One by one by one the Big Three have announced new plans and subsidies, but somehow the numbers don’t add up. In fact, it would seem as though the incumbents are actually using this mandate as an opportunity to squeeze even more money out of Canadians than before.

In other words, it’s a cash grab.

I tested this hypothesis with the darling smartphone of the moment, the Samsung Galaxy S4, subsidized on each of the Big Three with a 3GB data plan — about the minimum you’d need to not have to worry about overages.

Here’s what I found:

Bell 3-Year Contract Rates (circa late April, 2013)

Bell 2-Year Contract Rates (now in effect)

Even without a subsidy, Bell is now taking in an extra two bucks a month from each of their subscribers on this plan. With the subsidy it’s an increase of more than 7.5% per user per month of service.

But as you’ll now see, Bell looks like a saint next to the other two…

Rogers 3-Year Contract Rates (current)

Rogers 2-Year Contract Rates (in effect August 9th)

Rogers will soon rake in an extra $29.03 per month per subscriber on this plan, an increase of 33.6%!

Telus 3-Year Contract Rates (circa mid-May, 2013)

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 = $199 (3-year subsidy)
  • Calling plan with 3GB of shareable data = $80/month
  • Total per month = $199 + ($80 x 36 months) / 36 months = $85.53

Telus 2-Year Contract Rates (now in effect)

Telus stands to make an extra $29.01 per month from each of their customers with this phone and plan, an increase of 33.92%!!!

It’s also worth noting that data overages on each of the Big Three’s networks are now generally $15/GB, as opposed to $10/GB before. And this has what to do with contracts, exactly?

It’s pretty hard for me to see this as anything less than a giant “fuck you” to both the CRTC and consumers. Granted, I’m sure it’s a pain to re-jigger your revenue streams so that you’ve got customers by the balls for only twenty-four months instead of thirty-six. But in what universe can that justify rate hikes of over thirty percent?

Fortunately for Canadians, some real competition might finally be on the way…