Public hearing for the CRTC’s proposed “Wireless Code” starts today

Ian Hardy

February 11, 2013 11:05 am


The CRTC has started debating the proposed code for mobile wireless services today. While not the most exciting live stream to take part in, it’s certainly worthwhile. The CRTC recently submitted a draft of what would be the “wireless code” that all Canadian carrier would have to adhere to.

Many, not all, of the suggestions have already been implemented and some include giving customers a clearer understanding of their wireless services and fees, give the ability to unlock cellphones “on reasonable terms,” and giving the ability to set a cap on additional fees. Missing from the code is offering 2-year contract term rather than the long 3-year contract that exist today.

Watch it all unfold here at CPAC

  • lol

    If the big three had their way, we would have 50 year contracts.

    • Still Getting a Nexus

      When will they STOP the Hearing/s??

      BAN 3 YR CONTRACTS NOW!
      - They are illegal in the rest of the world
      -They do not exist in the US (Let’s follow them for once)
      -The mobile undustry ( phone development) is two yrs.

      What’s there to think about??
      Ban 3yr contracts NOW??
      -If I wasn’t cynical I would think that the CRTC is just delaying the ban as long as they can!

      …Once you ban 3yr contracts you can keep on going with your hearings..

    • Still Getting a Nexus

      2 HUGE points are bing our of “the hearings”

      -Make 3yr contracts illegal

      -Just let foreign TELCOS to come in, to CREATE REAL competition in Canada ( No more: You drop the plan by $1???…me too!etc etc )

    • AWSguy

      Foreign telecoms ARE ALLOWED TO COME IN. They just cant buy up bell/telus/rogers (so they cant buy them and jack up the prices)

  • RichieRickardo

    “Missing from the code is offering 2-year contract term rather than the long 3-year contract that exist today.”

    This is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the wireless code.

    Also the fact that if I own my phone I should not be paying the same as someone who is subsidizing their phone through a contract.

    • Alx886

      When I wrote about a cheaper price for someone who doesn’t have a subsidized phone a guy replied that I was looking for a discount and didn’t understand that the full monthly bill includes paying for the phone that you took out, so really what you’re paying for service is way less than your monthly bill. Glad to know i’m not the only one that sees it that way.

  • Shann

    I wonder how much Bell, Telus and Rogers have padded the pockets of these people to put it in their best interest. The lack of 2 year terms tells a piece of this story.

    • Still Getting a Nexus

      I would dare to think that if the telcos give 10% of the Service Access fee, and GGRRF ( Rogers) and the $8 they charge for NOT DEACTIVATE CID; and the $10 for 500MB they charge etc…would go a looong way!

      Its not a coincidence that the Cable, and landline divisions of the big 3 always end up in RED, and the profits of their mobile divisions, take it back to GREEN.

  • Lostspaceman

    I saw on the news this morning that the CRTC had opened up a forum for people to post their concerns and wishes for this discussion (unfortunately I don’t remember the URL). I REALLY wanna see contracts limited to 2 years like they do in the U.S

    • jim

      on the crtc web site they asked for Canadians input.. 97% of the response was no more 3 year contract. no more locked phones. no more roaming and no more double dipping..only in canada do we have 3 year contracts.. only in Canada is do they lock the phones only in Canada do they have home zones and only in Canada to they charge you to send and recieve

  • Superfly

    The crtc is socialistic. . The government controls what type of media we can have. Kkk

  • Dave

    I agree with RichieRickardo, if carrier charge $15/$20 per month for phone subsidy, why should customers pay subsidy when they buy phone outright or after contract is over and you are paying month to month

  • Derek

    A quick gander on Rogers.com I see that they offers discount on a 3 year contract only. No more 1 year or 2 year contract. Even they do, the pricing structure will push consumers to a 3 year contract.

    If 3 years contract stays, you bet all the service provider will take advantage of it to the max.

    • Porilaisten

      Same with Telus.

  • hmmmmm

    As a retailer, I can’t wait for this to be finished. All the requests for 3yr contracts to be abolished is good in a way. I believe that 3yr options will still be around but here is my thought on the pricing issue that no one seems to talk about. They don’t want 3yr terms, so how much are they willing to pay up front for the phone? If you want your phone for free then you will do a 3yr term. If you’re wiling to pay mney up front then you can do a lesser term.
    Here’s my solution:

    take the price of the phone and devide it by 3.
    example: Sam Galaxy s3 retails for $650 divide that by 3 equals: $217

    now, take your three options, 1yr, 2yr, and 3yr

    3yr price: $0
    2yr price: $217
    1yr price: $434
    m2m price: $650

    use this same premise on every phone. That way no matter what, everyone gets what they want. The option to pay for the phone based on term and the cost they’re willing to absorb up front.

    Its not perfect but I’m just thinking out loud….

    thoughts? question? flames? bring’em on

    • pacalis

      The problem with 3 years is that the average phone doesn’t last that long. Everyone thinks that theirs will, but studies have shown that they either break it, lose it or want/need more features by year 2.

      So consumers hope that their phones are useful for three years, but find at two years that it’s not the case, and either by need or want break their contracts with all the penalties and cost that ensues.

      Put another way, a Canadian customer has to be 50% more careful than a US/European one, and 33% less interested in new features than an American one, when signing a contract.

      So instead of adopting the latest and greatest, we’re relative Luddites, trying to make do with what we have.

      Contract terms should be matched to less than the useful lifecycle of a device (~2.4 years).

    • Still Getting a Nexus

      I agree with hmmm, except for the point where he/she adds the three yr option at $0.

      If you see the subsidized price of the 2yr option at $217, you can see that it gets very close to what you get in the states (most $600 phones are $99-149 now) so if they had $149-$199 in Canada ( because we always get gouged) people will still buy phones at that price range.

      That proposed model by mhhh is the one THE WORLD USES NOW!
      Why are things so backwars in Canada??
      $100 discount on a two yr contract??? Get outta here!

      -CRTC Please show that you are on the consumer’s side and ban the 3yrs….or just let the American-German Telcos come in and let the market correct by itself with ZERO intervention/regulation/enforcement!

    • JP

      Given most carriers pro-rate their cancellation fee based on the price of the discount divided by 36 anyways, what you are proposing is essentially the equivalent of opting out after a year or two of your contract anyways.

    • ReGenesis

      No, this is not really fair way to set the price of hardware. There are so many variables with types and costs of handsets, that it is impossible to have a 1 price fits all model.

      You can’t expect someone who wants a cheap android phone to pay the same amount as someone who wants an iPhone.

      The only way to fix this is not to try. Keep the price of the service Completely Separate from the price of the hardware. And ban locking of hardware that you own to a specific network.

      That way you can buy your hardware from whoever you want, Rogers, BestBuy, Amaxon, etc. and do apples to apples comparison of plans. This will allow you to easily switch carriers and foster REAL competition. Just like you can switch ISPs and keep your Computer – it is the same concept.

    • AWSguy

      Still getting a nexus, you are spreading FUD. Can you also compare the monthly average bill of canadian big 3 vs ATT/Verizon? The monthly cost for ATT/VZ is $150, on a canadian big 3, its about $55.

    • HO

      …been done by the big 3, if u need to recall the $1 promos from Rogers very often are basically what u suggest…wonder how come in places like “Europe” they can manage to offer phones at better prices and smaller “contracts” than here…nop, ur solution is plain bs, there, I called it

  • Ian

    Data plans are too expensive so I’ve opted for voice & unlimited texting for about $30 per month, but no data. To get a business address or phone number when Wi-Fi is not available, I send a text to Google. When my carrier offers a voice, text and data plan which is around what I currently pay including all taxes and other fees, then I’ll upgrade. This approach deters me from BlackBerry since BBM requires a data plan.

  • Jessie

    America has 2-year contracts that offer $0 phones. Therefore the only thing stopping Canada from doing the same is greed.

    I would have no problem signing a 2-year contract to get a $0 phone, paying the balance as I go, as long as my monthly bill is cheap (i.e. under $50/month).

    • rick

      Then I suggest you pack up and move to “America”

    • Brad F

      jessie is the type of people who we dont need in this discussion. all they want is: a $0 iphone, a 2 year contract and a $40 unlimited worldwide plan. i mean that’s ALL they want, nothing absurd about that!

    • AWSguy

      Or maybe you are an i***t. Compare the average bill of an ATT/VZ customer to robelus? ATT/VZ APRU: $150 / cx. month. Big 3 ARPU: $55+- 3 /cx.month.

  • pacalis

    Another anything thing is that phones would not cost MSRP if there was actual competition in unlocked devices. Retailers would compete on device price, not service lock-in’s.

    So you wouldn’t actually be paying $650 for a GS3 that breaks after a few months. You’d probably be able to pick one up for $400 if it was just the device.

    • GrapeApe

      Uhmmmm…. sure. That’s obviously what happens at the Apple store (they sell all 3 major players and unlocked phones) where the discount is…. Zero.
      And Expansys where their volume discount on selling unlocked phones is… Zero.
      Fact of the matter is the MSRP is essentially the MSRP so don’t expect to see a reduction in your cost for an unlocked phone, because the middle man is still going to take his cut, and if you wanted and unlcoked phone already, you’d already have one.. like I do and did use while in NYC last week on another carrier’s plan for 4 days.

      Getting rid of 3 yr contracts doesn’t magically turn that 3-yr price into a 2-yr price or an MSRP, you still have to pay for the difference, because Apple, HTC and Samsung aren’t just giving their phones away to be altruistic.

  • Ck2013

    2 years maximum.
    Caller I’d and voice mail included in all plan
    100mgb for data is ridiculous for that amount of money they charge
    Every single phone should be unlocked of not, they have to unlock it for free
    That would be fine

    • Peter Griffin

      Holy crap! 100 million gigabytes?! Of course your bill must be ridiculous each month.

    • Ck2013

      @Peter Griffin ,i meant 100mgb not 100 million G… you think you’re funny ?

    • gjeff12

      Oh, 100 British roadsters.

  • Porilaisten

    I can’t stand listening to the CWTA speak at this, they’re so smug.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    Just listening to the stuff that’s been said since 9am today…

    Time wasting questions that indicate the CRTC may not have read any of the proposal.

    Moreover, each answer and position brought up progressively restrict the benefits and flexibility to consumers.

    I thought it was BS when one of the presenting groups mentioned that the carrier can provide the record of the transaction– Complaints to the CRTC (at least to my knowledge) with retentions are due to carrier not upholding their end of the transaction, even to an escalation to the Office of the President.

  • Henaway

    Just buy a Nexus and you’re done. :)

  • ConcernedCitizen

    FFS the CRTC is more concerned about lunch…

  • Matt Z10

    I can’t see foreign Telco’s being let into Canada. Not saying its a legitimate reason but i’m not sure how comfortable the Gov’t would be having a foreign company facilitate there communication needs. looks at Hwuian (I don’t know how to spell it) and the dust the American’s kicked up over potential built in spy ware…

    I just don’t see it happening and think that our own solution is the answer and not someone else’s

    • gnote

      the gov’t doesn’t want competition when it comes to spying…

  • rick

    I don’t see what the big deal about 3 year contacts is about.

    The phone carriers have every right to offer 3 year contracts.

    And the consumer has every right not to sign for 3 year contracts.

    You are not forced to sign for 3 years.

    • ConcernedCitizen

      Then that’s not being competitive then.

      World leading telecommunications country my a*s.

    • Unr8ted

      No contract 599.99
      1 years contract 549.99
      2 years contract 499.99
      3 years contract 49.99

      If it’s not forced peolple to sign for 3 years contract.

  • Sgt.Romanov

    No more 3yr contracts !!!! get with the times Canada

  • Kain

    Phones need to be sold unlocked by default. Contract termination fees already re coup subsidy and if phones were sold unlocked, it would promote more competition because people could leave the provider and still use their old phone without hassle. Also why should someone who pays full price for phone pay additional for unlock code?

  • Anonymous Coward

    Hate 3 year contracts ?

    Stop signing them!
    Stop leaving your contracts early to get the new iGadget!

  • Apple4Life

    As much as I want to see 2 year contracts, I believe 3 years was chosen for a reason. Most people have 50 dollar smartphone plans compared to 70+ of what Americans pay for.

    If 3 year contracts are banned, I think the big 3 may jack up the monthly prices to compensate. Thus bringing us closer to what the Americans have.

    I’ve recently just upgrade to the iPhone 5 after 2 years with the 4. This was possible due to my plan being 63 dollars a month. Apparently Bell has a formula to calculate when your eligible for a hardware upgrade.

    I for one do not want to see 70 dollar plans as the norm. Be careful what you wish for….

    Pce,
    Apple4Life

    • bigshynepo

      Hey Apple4life,
      how do you like Verizon selling an iPhone 5 16gb for 199.99 on a 2 year contract and Bell sells theirs for 179.99 on a 3 year contract?

      How is this justifiable?

      On the bell website, I CAN’T EVEN SELECT THE OPTION OF A 2 YEAR PLAN if I wanted to sign up today.

      These companies are using every tactic in the book to divert customers to 3 year plans, just look at the difference between the cost of a phone on a 2-year vs. 3 year plan. Surf the websites of the big 3, does ANY of the marketing suggest customers should consider a 1-2 year contract? does any price reflect less than 3 y ear commitments? It’s unlawful how misleading these companies tactics have become. Sometimes I wish I had a US address… I bet a US plan with Canadian roaming is still cheaper than what we’re paying up here.

  • Arjuna Gnanam

    Allow Skype and other companies to provide Canadian-based Online numbers!

  • Jason

    I would like to see the providers warrenty the phones for the length of the contract they lock you in to, so if you buy a new phone on a 3 year contract and the maker only covers it for 2 the provider picks up the extra year.

    • AWSguy

      You are the only person in this entire thread to make a sensible comment. Have an upvote! :)

    • gjeff12

      I think most warranties are a year now.I can imagine how many phones break in those second and especially third years. If it was required that the provider has to have a full warranty for the entirety if the contract I can see an incentive for switching to 2 years.

  • Seriously

    This “Bernard Lord” guy needs to be fired, tarred and feathered and slapped repeatedly in the face. Seriously.

    • bigshynepo

      The Bernard Lord is reprehensible. “no protection for currently contracted customers”

      So this code will apply to me in 2016-17?!

      Mark my words, this guy will be embroiled in scandal and when we find out how much money he was paid by tel-cos to take the unbelievable stances that he does, remember this Hearing as his final nail in the coffin.

  • bigshynepo

    An unlocked phone voids a warranty in the same way “opening a blender and changing a part voids the blender’s warranty”

    That is the most apples to oranges BS answer i’ve ever heard. Are these guys listening to themselves? How is a software unlock the same as opening a phone and tinkering with the components!?!

    We as Canadians need to be very vocal if these talks do not move Canadian Phone Freedom into the 21st century.

    • Android1

      I thought the same thing when i heard him say that. He is either bought and paid for, or completely unaware how a cellular phone works. He’s getting rooting mixed up with unlocking.

      The panel should have some ‘experts’ to call out BS when the slick executives talk fast.

  • DDDDDDDDDDDDD

    Why does it matter if it’s a 2 or 3 year contract? Most providers now charge whatever’s remaining on your device if you want to cancel…

    People are seriously comparing our cell phone prices with US?

    The reasons they can afford to offer free phones at 2-year prices are due to a bigger market size and higher population density.

    It’s called Economics 101!

    • pacalis

      This population density thing is nonsense. It’s not like these companies cover all of Canada, they cover the metro areas. And Canada has dense enough metro areas.

      If Vancouver were a US city it would be #6 on pop density. After Manhattan, Paterson, NJ, San Francisco, Jersey City, and Camrbidge MA.

      Montreal , New West, Toronto, Victoria, and North Van in order are all more dense than most in the the US top 20 by density.

      Edmonton, Calgary, Winnepeg, Quebec City etc.. are all above the Median US metro area density.

      So after you finish your econ 101, and also consider that there are other places in the world that also have low rates and 2 year plans, maybe you can stop spewing this nonsense.

  • T1MB1T

    Wind has decided NOT to participate in this because we have the AWS goodness and are tired of people telling us what to do! We are the best! Just ask Nuke and his band of twinks. NO contracts with wind, no problems getting a signal, and no issues dealing with reps! Wind is the best!

  • lmy

    Contracts are a symptom of poor competitiveness. They do reduce competition, but they’ll fall away once people know what their phone costs and can use it anywhere.

    The problems the crtc need to solve are anti-competitive ones. Price obfuscation (hiding device prices inside term prices). Hardware locking (breaking hardware so users can’t switch away).

    There are other problems, like charging for things that don’t have a cost — usage based billing, sms, etc. These are the problems we should be tackling today, not the degenerative obviously anti-competitive practices of a decade ago.

    But we won’t tackle the real problems. We won’t tackle the obvious problems either. This is because industry is in control and you are so far from powerful that you might as well give up. I’ve seen hearings in the USA and they are the same way.

    A bunch of old men are going to talk so that all the people who don’t pay close attention think they’re doing their jobs serving the people. And then they’re going to do what industry wants because that is where they spend their lives. In and out of industry, making friends with industry people, doing what is natural them and their friends in industry: serving industry.

    Politicians are elected by the donors first, voters second. Politicians who spend all their time with donors serve donors first, voters second. And public servants who are appointed by politicians are the same way.

    Your fate is sealed. Public hearings happen. Decisions happen. They aren’t connected.

  • Wakeupcanada

    Bernard Lord….. Seriourly dude??? Common…

  • Wakeupcanada

    Bernard Lord is out of his mind… Serioursly this guy sounds so stupid…

  • 15ive

    Ass clowns,these people at the CRTC.

  • Amy

    “Missing from the code is offering 2-year contract term rather than the long 3-year contract”. It looks like the CRTC has already been bought and paid for by the BIG 3.

  • Al

    Just look at how the UK does it.

    - 2 year contracts (which come with phones that cost 0). 12 and 18 month contracts usually charge some amount for the phone (but not huge)
    - Voicemail and Caller ID is a standard feature and always has been.
    - Phones are sometimes “branded” with the operators logo painted on or used in start-up screens but they are UNLOCKED.

    Take for example the carrier “o2″ in the UK.
    £36.00 (about $56 taxes included) – 18 Month contract – 200 minutes – Unlimited texts – 1GB data. Comes with a selection of FREE phones. If you want something high end like a Galaxy S3 it’ll still cost you under $300 even on a short contract like that.

  • mobileshareholder

    Im hoping they raise prices, as a shareholder of Rogers and Bell, I make more $$ :). Pillage the people!!

    Plus 3yr contracts are good because they guarentee your pricing, you guys should be thanking Rogers and Bell.

  • Nathen

    Look in the MIRROR. If you see yourself in it and are on a 3YR contract just to get your phone then STOP complaining and don’t even bother to POST here.

    3 yr Contracts will not be banned by CTRC or anyone.
    SAVE you cash , BUY YOUR PHONE and be done with it.
    If people did that we would not HAVE 3yr Contracts.

    PEACE!

    • bigshynepo

      Nathen,

      Don’t you feel like a fool, with your bought out phone, paying the same contract usage fees per month as someone who is having their phone subsidized through contractual obligations?

      If we’re both new rogers customers, but I’m getting a $0 subsidized phone and you’re bringing your own phone to the deal, shouldn’t you pay less per month since your phone isn’t subsidized into the contract?

      You don’t tho and that is why this discussion and outrage is so important.

      “peace”

  • Alex

    I actually didn’t realize what American Telcos charge for a cell phone plan and I used to work for TELUS… If i wanted what I have on TELUS with VZN or ATT it would be at least $100 compared to the $70 I’m paying now (I have the 6GB promo voice and data for $75). I am all for 2 year plans though. Just wondering why are the US plans so expensive, even though their population is much larger and more condensed in distribution then Canada’s is?

  • Another Failure

    Stop whining! Don’t like 3 year contracts, then don’t sign them. No one is holding a gun to your head and threatening your life.

    Everybody wants something for nothing… sorry cheesie fingers, life doesn’t work that.

  • tpro

    You guys are all seriously pathetic. I’m gonna get a lot of negative votes but I don’t care. You want everything free and with no commitment. Are you people really that stupid? You can’t just get a 650 phone for free and expect to pay only 30 dollars a month. Where is the business in that? I believe the only option is to have the same priced plans, 2 years and with the high end smart phones starting around 200 dollars. At least then the people who can’t afford the monthly payment won’t be able to afford the phone. Phone company’s get paid you get what you’re paying for and everything works out. Just how a sales rep sees things.

    • lmy

      the phones are nor $650. the phones cost around $200 to make, and 50% margin would mean selling them for… what the nexus 4 costs. a fair price. a fair price which is prevented by anti-competitive contract, price obfuscation, and device locking policy allowed by the CRTC in canada.

  • Tyrone

    Some of these negative thumbs down I really don’t get apart from the trolls who probably do it. Why would you want a three year contract knowing your being robbed at the same time.

    I myself wouldn’t dare into a 3 year contract just because its cheaper. When you look at it YOU don’t technically own that phone in 3 years once you finish paying it off. It’s buying a house.

    If leave your contract early your basically paying more to get out. Unless you find somebody else to take over your contract which is kinda of a hassle to do.

  • Johnny

    They hint at a 2 year contract length. In their definitions in the draft, they say “Post-paid services: Post-paid services are wireless services that are paid for after use, usually upon receipt of a monthly bill. Post-paid services include services purchased for a fixed contract term (e.g. 2-years) or an indeterminate contract term (e.g. month-to-month).”