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Rogers says cell phone prices are going up for customers not on contracts

TORONTO — Some cell phone customers with Rogers Communications Inc. will pay more for their plans starting later this month.
Telecommunications company Rogers Communications signage is pictured in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

TORONTO — Some cell phone customers with Rogers Communications Inc. will pay more for their plans starting later this month.

The company said price hikes for customers who are not locked into a contract could be upwards of $9 per month, depending on their individual plan, but wireless customers would see an average increase of $5.

The move will take effect on bills received after Jan. 17.

Rogers spokesman Cam Gordon said the company is committed to delivering "the highest standard of quality and reliability."

"This includes increased capacity to ensure reliable and consistent service for our customers, expanding into more communities from coast to coast, and making improvements to our customer service tools," he said in a statement.

Gordon noted recent announcements by Rogers aimed at increasing affordability, such as introducing a discounted 5G plan for eligible low-income Canadians. 

Last year, Rogers also halved the price per gigabyte of data on its most popular 5G plan and lowered its 5G entry price by 35 per cent when bundled with residential services.

Following Rogers' $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. last April, the company's chief executive Tony Staffieri pledged to lower costs for customers.

"One of the key pluses of this is that competition is going up, especially in the west, and prices are going to come down," he said in an interview at the time.

In an attempt to ease competition concerns associated with the merger, Rogers and Shaw agreed to sell Shaw's Freedom Mobile business to Quebecor Inc.'s Videotron for $2.85 billion.

Ottawa handed both Rogers and Videotron a list of conditions to comply with when it granted approval of the transactions, including that the latter must offer plans at least 20 per cent lower than its competitors.

Quebecor said Thursday that a price freeze is in place for customers with its Freedom Mobile, Videotron and Fizz brands.

"We will continue to help Canadians having better prices for the wireless services and keep their money to fight inflation," said its CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Spokespersons for BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. did not respond to requests for comment on whether they plan to hike phone plan costs.

Eric Smith, a spokesman for the Canadian Telecommunications Association, said data compiled from Statistics Canada's consumer price index reports shows prices for cellular services have declined by more than 47 per cent over the past five years.

"At the same time as prices have been decreasing, Canada’s telecom sector has been investing billions each year in expanding and enhancing its networks so that subscribers enjoy faster speeds, wider coverage, and larger data allotments," he said in an email.

StatCan's latest inflation report last month found consumers who signed on to a cell phone plan in November paid 22.6 per cent less than those who did so a year earlier.

But studies comparing global phone and internet prices have continued to detail the expensive toll Canadians pay.

One such report, produced last February by Wall Communications Inc. for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, found Canada still had among the highest prices internationally for cellphone and broadband service in 2022.

"I'm still seeing customers spend too much other than when it's the holiday season," said Mohammed Halabi, director and founder of, a company that helps businesses and private customers find savings with their telecom expenditures.

"Maybe the plan prices have gone down a little bit, but am I — as somebody who's in the field everyday seeing what customers are spending — seeing that? No, not really."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:BCE, TSX:T, TSX:QBR.B)

Sammy Hudes, The Canadian Press