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Phone call cell phone sales plunge in Manitoba, Saskatchewan

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More than 20,000 Manitoba and Saskatchewan cellphone subscribers lost their calls last year after the provincial government cut taxes on cellphone services, the company said Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Mobile Telecommunications Association said it estimates the Saskatchewan government cut cell phone rates by 5 per cent to 6 per cent in 2017-18, bringing the cost of a cell phone down by almost $400.

The Saskatoon-based industry association said it has seen a 10 per cent decline in calls since 2018, but said that could be due to other factors including the economic downturn and a drop in cellphone sales.

The phone industry is also facing pressure from consumers, who are looking for ways to cut costs without paying for more expensive services.

The industry association says its members are losing more than $100 million a year due to phone costs, including the cost to maintain cell towers.