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In a recent edition of Graphic Intelligence, we showed that prices for cellular services across Canada declined by almost 17 percent as of December 2019 from a high point in June 2017. This ongoing price decline in cellular services is at the centre of the present debate around the federal government’s aim to further reduce consumers’ cellular phone bills. 

This edition of Graphic Intelligence shows the price decline in cellular services since their peak levels by province, while revealing competition as a potential driver. 

The top graph shows that the timing of peaks in cellular prices and the degree of the decline since those peaks differ across provinces.  Newfoundland and Labrador, followed by Alberta, saw the largest reduction while cellular price declines were most muted in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

The bottom graph shows an apparent relationship between the extent of these declines and the change in regional competitors’ market share.  The greatest price declines occurred in provinces where regional competitors gained market share.  In contrast, the market share of regional competitors declined in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (owing to Bell’s acquisition of MTS) and cellular price declines appear most muted in these provinces.