Rogers, Bell, Telus and SaskTel have debuted their low-cost and occasional-use wireless service plans, as required by the CRTC.
As part of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s recent review of mobile wireless services, the regulator issued a directive requiring the four carriers to introduce low-cost plans.
“The CRTC wants Canadians to have better access to affordable wireless services for their cell phones and other mobile devices,” the commission notes. “We are therefore expecting Bell, Rogers, Telus and SaskTel to offer and promote low-cost and occasional-use plans.”
The carriers had until July 14th to roll out three new low-cost wireless service plans.
The first plan must include 3GB of data, unlimited Canada-wide calling and unlimited text messages for $35 per month. The second plan must include at least 100 minutes for Canada-wide calling, unlimited text messages and 250MB of data for $15 per month.
The last plan is a $100 per year prepaid occasional-use plan. This plan must include at least 400 local minutes and at least 400 text messages.
Rogers has rolled out the plans under its Fido flanker brand. The plans are visible under the ‘basic’ tab when viewing the carrier’s available plans. Bell has rolled out the plans under its Lucky Mobile flanker brand, which are visible alongside the carrier’s regular plans.
Telus’ new plans are available through the carrier and under its Koodo Mobile flanker brand. The new plans can be found under its new ‘starter plans’ tab. Lastly, SaskTel has also launched the new plans on its website and are visible under the ‘talk + text + data’ plans tab.
It’s worth noting that both the 3GB for $35 and 250MB for $15 low-cost and occasional-use plans offer 3G speeds.
The new plans have faced criticism from activists and consumers alike online due to the fact that they’re limited to 3G download speeds.
Further, following the launch of the plans, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) issued a letter to the CRTC and stated that the carriers “specifically resisted the requirement to provide these plans on the ‘premium’ brands.”
The centre notes that the commission expected the incumbents to provide at least one low-cost plan on their premium brands.
PIAC argues that while the telecoms may be preparing the plan for their premium brands, the CRTC “should be concerned that these incumbents appear to be reticent to implement the commission’s clear expectations on day one.”
The advocacy group is asking the commission to take “action now.”