CRTC to Eliminate Cell Phone Unlocking Fees

Cell phones are a huge expense, but now, cell phone users can breathe a small sigh of relief.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that cell phone customers with individual or small business services will have the right to have their mobile devices unlocked free of charge upon request.

All newly purchased devices must be unlocked from the day they are purchased forward, to boot.

The new policy will come into play as of December 1, 2017.

This means that if you purchase a cell phone from a smaller service provider, customers won't have to pay a ridiculous fee to have be able to use their phone with another provider.

A good example of this is when someone travels to a different country and wants to purchase a SIM card from an independent provider to use their phone in that country.

With an unlocked phone, customers can use a new SIM easily. With a locked phone, they would have to pay their service provider to unlock it for them before they were able to use a new SIM.

Of course, there are many ways in which this news is beneficial and cost-efficient, that's just one.

Further, starting December 1, 2017, updates to trial period rules will allow customers who are unhappy with their service to cancel their contract within 15 days and return their device in near-new condition at no costs, as long as they have used less than half their monthly usage limits.

Accessibility concerns have also been addressed, wherein Canadians with disabilities have a reasonable opportunity to test their services. They will be able to use up to 100 percent of their plan's voice, text or data during a 30-day extended trial period.

"The changes and clarifications we are announcing today will give Canadians additional tools to make informed choices about their wireless services and take advantage of competitive offers in the marketplace," Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC

In addition, The CRTC has now clarified a few rules that are already in place under the Wireless Code, established in 2013, clarifications which apply immediately.

First, for family or shared plans, the account holder must, by default, be the one who consents to data overage and data roaming charges beyond the established caps ($50 and $100 per month, respectively).

However, providers may allow account holders to authorize other users on a family or shared plan to consent to additional charges.

The CRTC also made clear that in all instances, the caps apply on a per account basis, regardless of the number of devices associated with the account. These clarifications apply immediately.

Finally, according to the CRTC, there were various interpretations of a wireless plan's key terms in the marketplace and the CRTC has clarified that they include voice, text and data services. These terms cannot be unilaterally changed by the service provider during the contract period without the account holder's express consent.

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