Telus' plans with 'True North Affordability' badge meet Liberal government's 25 per cent target: analyst

Shruti Shekar
Telecom & Tech Reporter

Telus has already met the Liberal government’s promise to cut cell phone prices by 25 per cent, according to an analyst report.

A page on the Telus website details a “True North Affordability” label the carrier has given to its phone plans, which the company’s CFO said is to show customers it has met the federal government’s 25 per cent cell phone price reduction target.

“We’ve always been customer-focused. We just want to make sure customers understand what’s available to them and how it compares to some of the media noise on the affordability topic,” Doug French said in a phone interview. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would cut cell phone bills during the last election by 25 per cent over the course of four years. Trudeau said that the cuts would be made in order to put “$1,000 back in the pockets of the average Canadian family every year.”

French said Telus had an “independent review” of existing cell phone rate plans compared to the Liberal government’s plan. 

“[We wanted to] show the diversity of our plans that were already below in meeting the requirements that were outlaid on the Liberal platform,” he said. 

Scotiabank analyst Jeff Fan said in a February 12 report that the “True North Affordability” label “demonstrates the target of saving a family of four $1,000 per year has already been met.”

The Liberal’s proposal promises a reduction for a family of four spending $3,905 annually for four lines with unlimited Canada-wide calling and 14 GB of total data. The target was to reduce that to $2,929.6 per year.

“Telus’ True North Affordability badge is on plans that meet or exceed the target of $2930 for four lines with at least 14 GB of data,” Fan wrote. “This demonstrates that existing facilities-based competition is already driving down pricing, and we believe no further price regulation is required in the industry.”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will start a hearing on whether or not to mandate Mobile Virtual Network Operators, wholesale service providers that offer services at cheaper rates, will help foster competition in the country. 

“We think the pricing trend since mid-2019 gives room for the government to allow the CRTC’s independent process to play out and for the CRTC to deliver its decision based on evidence on record as opposed to political influence or unsupported rhetoric,” Fan wrote. 

French said that the carrier will continue to work with the government on their objectives, but also wanted to focus on telling customers which plans will offer prices that the government is seeking. The company has added a “True North Affordability” sticker on plans that have met the 25 per cent target. These badges are also added to plans on Telus’ flanker brands, Koodo and Public Mobile.

“What we’re trying to communicate and continue to do is provide that quality service connecting all Canadians at reasonable prices,” French said.