CRTC says unlocking phones should be free

Cellphone companies will soon no longer be allowed to charge customers to unlock their devices under sweeping changes to Canada's wireless code of conduct announced today.

"I am pleased that the CRTC has chose to eliminate unlocking fees for cellphones and require that new phones be sold unlocked, starting in December".

The telecom regulator is making several other changes to the code that it says will give Canadians more control over their wireless services.

As of December 1, all Canadians will be able to request an unlock code for a locked phone from their carrier at no charge - currently, the Big Three providers charge between $35 and $50 for the service - which will allow it to be used on any competing network, domestically or while traveling overseas. Sure, they've improved over time, but these regulations still aren't something we can be proud of. Other devices, like the Galaxy S8, are sold unlocked and become locked to the first SIM card inserted in the phone.

Meanwhile, Radha who is an existing customer with Rogers for more than a decade contact the Rogers sales to upgrade her wireless device while going through their existing online offers but Rogers brought some hidden clause to her like premium plus.

Carriers typically lock mobile devices to stop consumers from ditching them before they pay off the cost of their smartphones, which are often heavily subsidized. Plus, the data charge caps are based on the account, not the amount of devices on the account.

In an interview earlier this week, the chairman known for his consumer-friendly policies and his contentious relationship with industry named unlocking fees when asked if he would have made any decisions differently. This is a marked improvement over the data and voice usage centric contract termination clause. It stipulated the account holder must be the one to consent to any data overage fees or roaming fees unless they explicitly authorize another user to do so and stated data caps apply per account not per device. The agency also reminded the carriers that they can not change the terms of a plan or service without the account owner's consent during the contract period. This effectively means 30 days and 100% usage of their monthly plan.

"The changes. will go a long way to ensuring Canadians know what their rights are when it comes to cellphone plans".

  • Zachary Reyes