Rules are changing for cellphones and it looks like things are going to get a bit more affordable!


The days of having to pay cellular providers to unlock your cellphone will end this year accordng to new guidelines from the CRTC who announced today that as of Dec. 1, cellphone customers can ask their provider to unlock their phones free of charge. At the same time, it said, all newly purchased mobile devices must be provided to customers unlocked.

This is considered a big step as telecoms often order locked phones from manufacturers that are programmed to work only with their service. Then they charge a fee, about $50 bucks to unlock the phone if a customer wants to switch providers. The new rules will give customers many more options to go to different carriers and plans.

The unlocking fees(also known as “ransom fees”) have always been unpopular with customers and the CRTC reached out to the public by asking them to comment online about the wireless code of which many participated in.

In March, the CRTC reported that Canadian telecoms made a total of $37.7 million last year by charging customers to unlock their cellphones — a 75 per cent jump in that source of revenue compared with 2014 however, during a February CRTC hearing, Bell, Rogers and Telus all stood by their unlocking fees.

The CRTC’s decision on unlocking fees came out of a review of its 2013 wireless code created in part to help limit costly cellphone fees for consumers.

As part of the review, the commission also announced that only the account holder can consent to data overage and additional roaming charges in a family-shared cellphone plan. Other plan members will only be able to give consent if the account holder grants them approval.  (the new approval rules for families are effective immediately).

Also, to help customers avoid running up their bills, the wireless code mandated that cellular service providers must cap international roaming charges at $100 a month and data overage fees at $50 — unless a customer agrees to pay more.

Bottom Line: Looks like cellphoness are going to get a bit more affordable.

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