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January 12, 2022

55% of all Canadians to get new cell phone in next six months

All along, while Canada’s wireless providers treated us like NBC does Conan, we were told it'd get better.

We heard that magical new companies would usher in an era of increased competition, fair prices and reduced monthly bills.

Has that happened? We don’t know yet, but it appears – lower prices or not – Canadians are still playing right into the providers’ hands.

According to a new study, more than half (55%) of all Canucks plan to buy a new cell phone in the next six months.

The numbers here are a wild bump from the percentage (19%) that was looking to get a new phone at the same time last year.

(Of those Canadians in the market for a new device, 28% said they’re after a touchscreen, while 19% coveted one with a full QWERTY keyboard.)

Now, what's this mean for our collective bills going forward? For starters, it’s not quite the “we’re going to hold out and make you lower your prices” stance we were hoping for when it was announced new players would enter Canada’s wireless market.

When WIND Mobile hopped onto the scene last month, it was supposed to be a slap in the face to the Rogers/Telus/Bell power trio. If you guys don’t smarten up, we’re gonna go with the new guy.

Only, as we broke down on MSN, WIND wasn’t exactly fattening its customers’ wallets – especially if you don’t live in Toronto or Calgary, the only two current Canadian cities that fully enjoy the provider’s discounts.

So now, with 55% of Canadians rushing into new phones (and in most cases, new long-term contracts with big providers) this doesn’t exactly send the right message to the major networks, does it?

You’d have to think that, if we’re ever going to fully utilize the spirit of fair market competition, we can’t continue to settle for the status quo wireless prices.

“Of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s 30 member states, Canada ranks a shameful 28th when it comes to wireless affordability,” I wrote last week.

Why, then, would the major providers want to change that if we keep showing them the same dependency we always have?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...