In the recent Mandate Letter, the Prime Minister directed the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to “reduce the average cost of cellular phone bills in Canada by 25 percent” and “expand mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) in the market.” MVNOs do not operate wireless facilities themselves but purchase access from operators of wireless facilities that is then resold to retail wireless customers. The ongoing price decline in wireless services is at the centre of the present debate around the federal government’s aim to further reduce consumers’ cellular phone bills.
This edition of Graphic Intelligence shows the monthly Consumer Price Index for cellular services. The data indicate that prices for cellular services declined by almost 17 percent as of December 2019 from a high point in June 2017. In contrast, Canada’s all-item Consumer Price index increased by 4.6 percent between June 2017 and December 2019.