Canadian cell phone rates are lower than international averages despite the least densely subscribed network in the developed world

Nordicity International Wireless Market Comparison Report comprehensively analyzes competition in Canada's wireless industry relative to other developed countries

OTTAWA, June 17, 2011 /CNW/ - To deliver wireless service to 99 per cent of Canadians, Canada's wireless providers deployed a network that serves 12 subscribers for every square kilometre of coverage, making it the least densely subscribed network of any developed wireless market. This density compares with 37 subscribers per square kilometre in the United States and 312 subscribers per square kilometre in the United Kingdom.  Despite below normal economies of scale Canadians pay less for wireless voice service than the international average.

Canada is now served by three national wireless providers and six regional providers, resulting in one of the most competitive market structures of any developed wireless market. In fact, Canada is one of only six OECD countries where the two leading providers serve fewer than 70 per cent of all subscribers and the top three providers serve less than 95 per cent of all subscribers. The competitive market structure has led to consumer wireless costs below international averages.

Highlights include:

  • Canada's average per-minute wireless costs are $0.02 below the international average, and 11th- lowest of all OECD countries. As a percentage of average income, Canadian's pay 10 per cent less for wireless voice service than the international average and 12 per cent less for wireless (voice and data) service overall.
  • Average wireless voice costs in Canada declined at a rate greater than the international average between 2005 and 2010.
  • The revenue earned by Canada's wireless networks is the 4th lowest of 27 developed countries - revenue per square kilometre is 90 per cent lower than the average.

By comparing wireless markets in terms of per-subscriber revenue, the Nordicity analysis is inclusive of all carriers and plans in each market. Other wireless cost comparisons are less representative. For instance, the OECD wireless price ranking incorrectly estimates average wireless prices for all of Canada across six different usage profiles on the basis of only four different wireless plans (two each from Bell and Rogers). The OECD also compares post-paid, pre-paid and 'friends and family' plans to develop rankings within a single calling profile.

Most significantly, other wireless price comparisons like the OECD rankings do not recognize that nearly half of the wireless subscribers in developed markets outside of North America pay for more than one mobile plan.


About Nordicity (

Nordicity is an international consulting firm that specializes in policy, strategy, and economic analysis in the cultural and communications industry sectors. Our clients are public and private organizations in the global creative and communications industries. Nordicity's combination of extensive experience, functional expertise and international presence enables us to understand our client needs, apply innovative analysis and provide clear effective recommendations.

Nordicity was founded in Ottawa, Canada in 1979. We now have offices in London, United Kingdom; Toronto, Canada; and Ottawa; and clients across North America, the United Kingdom, Africa, and Asia.

SOURCE Nordicity Group Ltd

For further information:

Kurt Eby, Manager, Nordicity

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