But no details were given about how or when the government wanted to enforce interest rate cuts.
In the letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who gave him his orders as minister, Bains was told to use “all available instruments” to achieve the reduction within two years.
According to a report from the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission in 2019, prices on the mobile wireless market in Canada had already fallen by an average of 28 percent from 2016 to 2018.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Bains said that further tariff reductions will be measured from the moment he received his mandate letter in December.
“It is logical that we have entered into a commitment to the campaign from our perspective and we will honor that,” said Bains.
“There is some confusion about how the government wants to measure its price,” the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association said in an email in response to the minister’s comments.
“We will wait to see what details the government offers in terms of how they intend to proceed.”
The CWTA noted that there was already a “very positive momentum” in the Canadian telecom sector with prices falling in the midst of fierce competition.
During the election campaign, the liberals promised to reduce the cost of wireless services by nearly $ 1,000 a year for a family of four. They based the savings on that family with four devices: two with unlimited calling and texting and five gigabytes (GB) of data, each costing a “current average price” of around $ 87 per month, and two with 2 GB each of data usage per month, each costs around $ 75 per month.
Lowering those costs by a mandatory 25 percent would save the family $ 976.56 annually.
Analysts at Scotiabank and TD Bank concluded at the end of September that the reduction target could be easily achieved, mainly because the targets were already within reach, or had already been achieved or exceeded.
Telus, Rogers and Bell – the big three telecom providers – no longer offer plans with only 2 GB of data. Their unlimited plans, with speed limits of 10 GB, mention $ 75 per month, or less than that as part of promotional offers.
Smaller providers such as Virgin Mobile, Fido and Koodo sell 2 GB and 4 GB plans for between $ 45 and $ 55 a month.
Canadian rates for mobile and mobile have long been a source of complaints from consumers who see lower prices advertised in other countries, particularly the United States.
The major Canadian airlines have warned that forcing prices to be too low for their wireless plans can lead to less investment in the infrastructure needed for faster and more reliable mobile services.
The government has two key tools that it can use to encourage competition in the wireless market, and thereby lower prices, Bains said: selling wireless spectrum licenses and requires the larger telecom companies to rent space on their networks to smaller start-up companies those mobile virtual networks – companies called ‘MVNOs’.
The federal government auctioned over 100 spectrum licenses to the country’s wireless companies last spring, bringing in nearly $ 3.5 billion. The lion’s share was purchased by Rogers Communications.
Spectrum is the invisible signal transmitted on electromagnetic waves that allows wireless service providers to send data to cell phones and other connected devices – the same spectrum, at different frequencies, that is used to carry radio and TV signals.
The government plans to auction the most important 3500 MHz wireless spectrum for the fifth generation or 5G networks early this year.
Mobile 5G wireless technology is up to 100 times faster than the 4G system currently used throughout Canada.
A government panel has revised Canadian broadcasting and telecommunication laws and the rules governing mobile virtual network operators. Bains said he hopes the panel’s report – expected within a few weeks – will provide Ottawa with guidelines on how operators can promote greater competition.
It is not only small operators who piggyback on existing wireless networks via wholesale access.
In a panel entry last summer, Google called for policy changes that would make it easier to set up a telecommunications service in Canada, primarily for data.
The CRTC also assesses Canada’s wireless market with personal hearings starting next month in Gatineau, Que.
As part of that assessment, the CRTC is considering whether the Big Three telecom providers should be required to lease virtual virtual network operators space on their networks until the startups can purchase spectrum and build their own infrastructure.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 14, 2020.
Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press
Note for readers: this is a corrected story. An earlier version said that the Liberal party platform of 2019 estimated a mobile subscription with unlimited calling and texting and five gigabytes (GB) of data with a “current average price” of about $ 75 per month, and one with 2 GB of data usage costs around $ 55 per month. It also said that the unlimited monthly subscriptions offered by Telus, Rogers and Bell can be shared for $ 75 a month.