British Columbia

Bell, Telus, Rogers price wars drop cellphone data plans to $60 for 10GB

Major cellphone providers in Canada are battling a price war, offering consumers major deals on data plans just in time for the holidays.

Some existing customers complain they can't sign on to short-term offer from major providers

A Bell Mobility employee talks to customers at Pacific Centre Mall in downtown Vancouver. Staff at Bell say they have been overwhelmed since the company started offering a 10 GB data plan for $60 per month on Friday. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Major cellphone providers in Canada are waging a price war, offering consumers major deals on data plans just in time for the holidays.

For a short time, Rogers, Bell and Telus are offering plans that include 10 GB of data for $60 per month for customers who already have their own device.

Most providers are offering the deal, which includes unlimited Canada-wide calling, until Monday. 

"Canada has been extremely well known for its lousy telecommunication rates right across the board. This is a bit of a game-changer," said Lindsay Meredith, professor emeritus of marketing at Simon Fraser University.

Meredith said offering the deal was likely a move to quickly increase market share before the end of the year by poaching customers from other companies.

"Once Rogers made that move, it kind of threw down the gauntlet to the other guys," Meredith said.

He added that mobile phone customers tend to be very cost sensitive and will quickly switch phone providers if they can get a better deal. 

Staff at a Bell Mobility booth at Pacific Centre said they were overwhelmed with people signing up for the deal, which they started offering Friday.

Many customers from different companies took to social media to complain about either not getting through to customer service, or not being offered the deal because they were existing customers.

Meredith said it's possible prices may continue to drop as companies try to outbid each other in the fight to win over more customers. 

The main way these price wars resolve themselves, he said, is when all the major companies tacitly agree to stop undercutting each other. 

The prices then stay at the new low, Meredith said, before gradually beginning to creep back up.