Vodafones and Telefonica to begin offering international roaming fees to subscribers in Canada on June 1, the two major cellphone providers said Tuesday.
The companies said the new roaming fees, which will begin on June 6, will cover a significant portion of the $9.5 billion Canadian market, which is expected to grow to $11.5 trillion by 2020.
They said the move will help boost the competitiveness of the two services in a market where incumbents are increasingly moving away from the United States.
The move follows a major investment by Rogers Communications Inc., the country’s fourth-largest phone carrier.
In May, the company unveiled plans to launch a new service called Tango that would offer international roaming in Canada.
That service, which launched earlier this year, will provide customers a choice of plans that include unlimited minutes, text and data, with speeds up to 150 megabits per second.
The new plan also includes unlimited talk, text, and data for $5 per month, or $10 per month and $15 per month respectively.
Vodafons plans, which are still in the early stages of testing, are a response to an industry push from Rogers and Telus Corp., which both said they would begin charging higher roaming fees for international customers by the end of the year.
Vudafone and Telesus said the changes were made in response to consumer feedback and in an effort to ensure that customers are being charged more for their roaming data.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has not yet approved the pricing plan.
The new charges will cover approximately 70 per cent of Vodacom’s international roaming subscribers and 30 per cent from Vodapacks.
Vodalax and Vodabox, both of which are based in Quebec, will also be charged higher roaming charges in Canada and other markets, the companies said.
The pricing will vary by country.
Vidacom and Vudafons customers who are currently on international roaming plans can continue to do so.
In Quebec, the new pricing will be effective immediately.
Vudas customers will be charged the new charges on July 1.
The companies said they will begin rolling out the new prices in Canada this summer.
Telus said it is also launching a new roaming program that will cover all of its Canadian customers.
The plan will be rolled out later this year in Quebec.