Telecom execs insist wireless prices going down as MPs voice concern over

The chief executives of Canada’s three largest telecom companies stressed that phone and internet prices are coming down during an appearance before MPs on Monday, noting that increased data usage and high spectrum costs may be some reasons Canadians feel otherwise.

The three CEOs — Rogers Communications Inc.’s Tony Staffieri, BCE Inc.’s Mirko Bibic and Telus Corp.’s Darren Entwistle — appeared virtually at the House of Commons’ industry committee meeting.

Committee members voted unanimously last month to summon the trio to testify after a previous invitation to the chief executives resulted in other corporate representatives showing up instead.

The committee is studying the accessibility and affordability of wireless and broadband services — an issue that came to the forefront in January when Rogers confirmed it was raising prices by an average of $5 for some wireless customers not on contract.

Staffieri was pressed on the matter Monday, with Liberal MP Francesco Sorbara suggesting the move was “tone deaf.”

“Would you not admit that the timing was not great?” he asked.

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Staffieri replied that the price hike only affected customers on legacy plans.

“It was important to us to make sure that these customers had choice,” he said.

“With two clicks, they could get onto a plan that was in market and give them the best value for money for their circumstance.”

Conservative MP Ryan Williams questioned Bibic and Entwistle on whether Bell and Telus would raise their prices in response to the Rogers increase.

Bibic would not say whether Bell plans to follow suit, insisting the company’s focus is on lowering costs, while Entwistle said he remained confident Canadians would see price declines but was “not going to talk about price setting in a forum with my two competitors sitting right here.”

CEOs say wireless prices have dropped

Some members of the committee have said they are concerned about cellphone and internet prices in Canada, arguing Canadians pay too much for those services.

But the CEOs cited recent Statistics Canada data showing wireless prices have declined 16 per cent in the past year and 47 per cent over the past five years.

“If you just compare in Canada, 2019 to 2024 alone, we’re offering in some cases 10 times more data for $40 less a month,” said Bibic.

“You can see the massive drop.”

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Entwistle said…

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