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Canadians struggling to manage mobile data overages


Canadians are seemingly finding it difficult to manage their mobile data overages with as many as 46 per cent of Canadians ending up paying more than their mobile bills in 2015 as their data usage exceeded the limits, a new study has found.

According to a new survey commissioned by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), 64 per cent of Canadians had to pay extra fees for exceeding their data limits last year and this is a direct indication that Canadians are struggling with mobile data management. This, TNS Canada, says is of paramount important and CRTC needs to ensure the wireless code reflects the fact that data is “increasingly essential” for Canadians when the regulator considers updates to the code at a public hearing in February.

According to a report by TNS Canada, CRTC should undertake initiatives that would enable Canadians to manage or reduce overages and this is something that Canadians will be particularly interested about in the wireless code review.

One of the aims of the wireless code was to make it easier for consumers to understand their rights, change providers and prevent bill shock and thanks to this code, the three-year contracts were culled and limited data and roaming overcharges to $50 and $100 per month respectively. However, the code wasn’t a one stop solution and one of the major side effects was that wireless providers started charging more to recoup smartphone subsidies faster.

While the code did help by lowering the bill shock to a certain extent, 20 per cent of the Canadians say that it is still an issue.

The findings of the latest survey aren’t surprising because only 16 per cent of mobile plans include unlimited data and this effectively means that majority of Canadians are on data plans that are limited leaving the doors for overages open.

Smartphone proliferation is at an all time high in Canada and with almost all communications now rely on instant messaging services or voice over IP calls, limited data plans aren’t sufficient enough. Further, average cost of $80 per month for voice and text messages, and 2GB data, Canadians are paying a lot as compared to international standards and this ought to change.