Canada telecom regulator to ban unlocking fees for phones

Canada telecom regulator to ban unlocking fees for phones

So starting December this year, unless there be objections and changes, carriers can no longer force subscribers to stay by keeping their phones locked to their networks.

Another seemingly backwards aspect in the business is that USA carriers will unlock devices for free if they meet certain requirements.

The CRTC also clarified certain rules that are already in place. The account holder must give the consent to data overage and the carrier must allow it.

The organization also announced that updates to its trial period standards will now allow customers unhappy with their service - providing they have used less than half their monthly usage limit without damaging their mobile device - to cancel their contract within 15 days and return their device at no cost.

The Wireless Code doesn't mandate pricing, and these new changes, while admirable, don't address the core issues of competition within the Canadian wireless market. "While they appreciate the Code, they told us loudly and clearly that it could be more effective. We will continue to explore all possible options to ensure that Canadians in every region of the country have access to high-quality telecommunications services at prices they can afford".

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According to a Globe and Mail report, MPs want to use the increased tax on broadband to help fund local media companies and broadcasters, who are losing revenues to streaming media services.

Last year, carriers pulled in more than $37.7 million in revenue from unlocking fees, up 32.5 per cent from $28.5 million in 2015 - Telus raised its fee to $50 from $35 that year - and up 75 per cent from $21.6 million in 2014.

- Data caps will also be tied to single accounts, no matter how many devices are listed on a shared plan. Waiving the unlocking fees will mean users will have the ease to switch carriers and the flexibility to change their smartphone plans.

These new rules will come into effect from the first of December of 2017 and have the power to transform the Canadian wireless service sector into a consumer-first area. In addition, the regulator clarified that a wireless plan's key terms in the marketplace include voice, text and data services, and that the terms can not be unilaterally changed by the service provider during the contract period without the account holder's express consent.

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