Rogers, Bell increase data overage fees in time for back-to-school season
Financial Post, July 8

Canada’s two largest wireless operators increased their data overage fees for new customers before the busy back-to-school shopping season, a move industry watchers suggest is designed to convince customers to upgrade to pricier plans to avoid extra charges.

This week, Rogers Communications Inc. increased its overage fees to $7 per 100 megabytes from $5 per 100 MB, matching BCE Inc.’s increase to $7 per 100 MB in April. Canada’s wireless regulator dictates that carriers must stop data overage charges at $50 per account per billing cycle unless a customer expressly consents to keep racking up their bill, so higher fees mean consumers will hit the $50 limit more quickly.

The fee hikes come as data consumption becomes increasingly important for carriers’ bottom lines. As consumers burn through data streaming and sharing videos on their mobile devices, the major operators’ average revenue per user has risen as people upgrade plans or get dinged with overage fees.
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Industry players and consumer advocates think the price changes reflect preparation for a deluge of new customers in the fall, a popular time to buy new phones, rather than a reaction to the wireless code updates.
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[PIAC] believes the overage fee, now $70 per gigabyte, has no connection with the actual cost of providing the service. PIAC remains disappointed with the Competition Bureau for not keeping a closer eye on retail telecom pricing, he said.

“It looks funny to people to see identical price increases on the same aspect of wireless service in roughly the same period from major market leaders.”
“They need to do a little looking at least and sabre rattling to keep the players honest until a really viable fourth player shows up,” Lawford said. “It looks funny to people to see identical price increases on the same aspect of wireless service in roughly the same period from major market leaders.”