Then and Now – The Cost of 4 and 6GB of Mobile Data in Canada

When WIND Mobile pulled out of Canada’s 700MHz LTE auction at the 11th hour last January my knee-jerk reaction was to fear the worst. Around that time plans from both the Big Three and their subsidiaries weren’t actually terrible; now that the spectrum auction is over and done with prices from everyone have gone up —with the exception of our struggling upstarts, of course.

As a quick demonstration of how things have changed in just two months, Here are the before and after prices of 4 and 6GB monthly data buckets from the usual suspects. 5 GB would be a more fair comparison to WIND and Mobilicity, but I’m going to be lazy and calculate costs without overages where I can.

Oh, and I’m also going to assume that (1) you’re in Ontario and (2) you’re bringing your own device to the equation. The black art of device subsidies is entirely beyond the scope of my high school math.

On to the numbers…

Mister Burns

The Discount Brands

In mid-January 4GB of data from Fido cost $81.90, including a 10% BYOD discount. Now, according to this recent forum post (and further data on Fido.ca) that same data bucket with BYOD discount will set you back $117.60/month—$57.60 for 1GB of data & BYOD + $5/250MB x4 x3 for the other 3GB. An increase of over 43.5%? This seems crazy to me, but I can’t find anything on the Fido site that says otherwise…

The plan I snagged from Koodo back in January gives me 4GB of data for $75/month—$67.50 after the 10% BYOD discount. Their current promotion offers 3.5GB for $72, $64.80 with BYOD. Add another 500MB of data and the grand total is $74.80/month—a more reasonable increase of 10.81%.

According to my older post Virgin Mobile price-matched Koodo and their BYOD discount for a grand total of $67.50. And wouldn’t you know it, one of their current Silver Plan options has 3.5GB for the same $72/month as Koodo—subtract the 10% BYOD discount, add an extra 500MB and you’ve got an identical 10.81% increase to $74.80.

The Big Three

Back in January 6GB was the standard mid-tier data bucket for Bell, Rogers and TELUS. Across the board the cost for that data was the same—$85/month including a $20 BYOD discount. Two months later the going rate seems to be $125/month, $95 with the $20 BYOD discount applied. That’s an increase of 11.76%.

Is This Justified?

Remember that the incumbents raised (or at least reset) their pricing last summer to fall in line with the CRTC’s Wireless Code. In other words, this is potentially the second rate hike in less than 12 months.

I’ll leave this question on the table: Do you think these new higher rates are justifiable as the Big Three paying off their spectrum auction gains, or could this have something to do with WIND facing a future without LTE, and being a less viable competitor because of it?

1 thought on “Then and Now – The Cost of 4 and 6GB of Mobile Data in Canada”

  1. Both! This is ridiculous! We are at a point right now where it would be cheaper to sign with T-Mobile (IN THE STATES) and use their free roaming in Canada (albeit only 3g speeds). It is really frustrating when a carrier from outside the country who has to buy in coverage from the Big 3 and then re-sell it can still make a profit charging MUCH less. The issue is T-mobile will only accept us citizens.

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