The Mobile Web is undoubtedly going to grow and grow until a mega industry takes shape; after all, there are simply too many people getting more and more addicted to instant information gratification. This fact is not lost on any country with a mobile network and Canada is no exception. Unfortunately for Canadians we are being suffocated by mobile data rates that are exceedingly more expensive than even a third world country like Rwanda. Unless our data rates come down you can bet that Canada will be left in the dust while the world of mobile commerce skyrockets.

Don’t believe me? The chart below dramatically illustrates the appalling impact of a lack of Canadian competition.

A chart titled "The Travesty of Canadian Mobile Data Rates"

This chart and story was originally posted in April by a blogger by the name of Tom Purves. I came across it and I was struck dumb by the price gouging that this beautiful country is allowing (here are more stats courtesy of Tom). As a result, I thought I would do a little digging into the past of the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission) to see how they have handled this marketplace in the past. Unfortunately few answers were obtained… just more shock and outrage on my part. What I “loved” the most was this horrendous quotation from a 1994 announcement from the CRTC that they were opting out of regulating wireless rates:

Citing a “sufficient” level of competition in all of these markets, the agency said it will continue to oversee the setting of rates only in the case of wireless services provided directly by the nation’s telephone companies. Otherwise, wireless services “are sufficiently competitive not to warrant regulation,” it said. However, the CRTC also said it is “prepared to forbear from exercising some of its regulatory powers” over mobile wireless services provided directly by the telephone companies if they can show evidence of “the establishment of sufficient costing and marketing safeguards.”

Although this quote is from 1994 it seems to be still in sync with the current CRTC Fact Sheet on Cellular (Wireless) Telephone Services. So what can I, as a Canadian, do now? I suppose I can only make a lot of noise by writing articles like this and furthering the message from Tom’s original article.

One thing seems for sure… if Canada does not dramatically decrease its mobile data rates then us Canucks are going to enjoy fewer benefits of the growing Mobile Web.

  • Here is another current article on this subject: “Mobile Web Canada”