Telus has responded to my post on the 2013 OECD Communications Outlook, which ranked Canada among the most expensive countries in the OECD for wireless services in virtually every category, with its own post claiming that Canadians should be celebrating our relatively high prices. The post notes the investment that Telus and other companies have made in Canada (Peter Nowak explains the reason behind much of that investment) and argues that:
When you consider our enormous investment, challenging geography, sparse population and outstanding networks Canada really SHOULD be the most expensive country for wireless service in the OECD, but we’re not. That’s a great success story we should be celebrating.
It is a testament to how out-of-touch Canada’s incumbent wireless providers have become that they think Canadians should be celebrating the fact that we are not the single most expensive wireless country in the developed economy world. Telus says that scratching below the surface of the OECD report will lead people to conclude that Canadians pay about the same as other developed countries. Yet in its own chart, Canada ranks among the more expensive countries within the G7 in every category but one.
Interestingly, days after Telus promoted the OECD report with a press release and quotes from CEO Darren Entwistle claiming that Canadians “pay about the same prices as people in much more densely populated countries”, it now says the OECD methodology is “limited.” The OECD data relies on sample plans from Telus, Bell, and Rogers for its analysis. Telus also adds that pricing alone does not tell the whole story, noting that different prices may reflect different speeds.
To address their concerns about methodology and suggestions that rank do not tell the whole story, below are two of the key baskets from the OECD pricing comparisons that used Telus costs. Moreover, I have eliminated any country that does not match the Telus speed according to the OECD data. In other words, this is the OECD comparison of Telus pricing against providers in other countries offering comparable speeds. First, a 1 GB data plan with speeds of 40 Mbit/s or more:
Second, a 500 MB data plan for tablets with speeds of at least 7.0 Mbit/s or more:
This is the data provided by the OECD using Telus as representative of Canadian pricing: the 2nd most expensive of 7 countries for 1 GB of wireless data (at speeds Telus customers are likely to receive) and the second most expensive of 19 countries for 500 MB of wireless data for tablets (again at speeds Telus customers are likely to receive). Telus apparently believes the fact that we rank 18th out of 19th countries in this OECD sample is a great success story. Based on recent comments, it does not appear the government shares that view.