April 23rd, 2024

Telecom CEOs appear before federal committee, tell MPs prices are coming down

By The Canadian Press on March 18, 2024.

Executives from major communications companies appeared at the federal industry committee to testify about their prices. A person uses a cellphone in Ottawa on Monday, July 18, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – 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, citing increased data usage, high spectrum costs and regulatory conditions as some reasons Canadians may 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 after its members voted unanimously last month to summon them.

The committee’s study on the accessibility and affordability of wireless and broadband services was prompted when Rogers confirmed prices were going up by an average of $5 for wireless customers not on contract.

Bibic would not confirm whether Bell plans to follow suit with similar price hikes, stressing the company’s focus is on lowering costs, while Entwistle said he was confident Canadians would see price declines but could not discuss specifics about price setting.

When asked whether the timing of Rogers’ price increase was “tone deaf,” Staffieri told MPs the move affected customers on legacy plans and the company wanted to offer them choice, noting they could opt for an alternative option offering better value.

Some members of the committee say 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 are down 16 per cent in the past year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2024.

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

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