CRTC Wireless Code doesn’t eliminate three-year contracts but makes it free to cancel after two years

Daniel Bader

June 3, 2013 9:34am

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The CRTC issued its new Wireless Code today, during the early hours of the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto, and much of what it addresses will make Canadian consumers quite pleased.

While the Commission did not eliminate the existence of three-year contracts, it has advised WSPs (wireless service providers) to allow consumers to cancel their contracts penalty-free after two years.

Screen shot 2013-06-03 at 10.19.30 AM

The Commission considers it appropriate to limit the maximum number of months over which the early cancellation fee must be reduced to 24 months, so that Canadians will be able to cancel a contract at no cost to them after two years or less. The Commission considers that this will minimize the costs of switching WSPs for consumers, benefit consumers, and ultimately result in a more dynamic marketplace.

In all cases, after two years, customers will be able to decide whether or not to continue the relationship with their current WSP or to choose a competitor’s service without any early cancellation fees or other burden. (our emphasis)

This new policy applies to customers who have entered into terms of any length, including those longer than the aforementioned two-year period. While it’s not certain yet how carriers will deal with the disparity of allowing contract holders to leave without penalty before their terms have expired, the CRTC has set about enforcing a maximum early cancellation fee that cannot exceed the amount of the phone subsidy itself, and must be payable over a two-year period. That means that after two years, if the phone balance hasn’t been paid off, customers will need to merely pay off the remaining amount of the device and be able to leave the provider without penalty.

The Commission further considers that the early cancellation fee should be limited to the remaining balance of the device, which must decrease by an equal amount each month over a maximum of 24 months.

This means that even though three-year contracts are not forbidden, because the phone balance must be paid off after 24 months, it ensures users will have no remaining costs after two years. Most Canadian carriers have already done away with “early cancellation fees” in favour of a tab system that provides both an upfront outright cost for a phone and a subsidized price that is meant to be paid off after three years. This will likely not change — only the nominal “cancellation” fee, which for Rogers is $12.50 and for TELUS is $50 (Bell eliminated its ECF in February).

There are some other notable points of the new code. Customers can:

– Have a cap of $50/month for extra domestic data charges; international roaming is capped at $100/month.

– Have their phones unlocked after 90 days or immediately if they paid for a device in full.

– Return their cellphones within 15 days and a specific usage limit if unhappy with their service.

– Acknowledge and accept/decline any changes to terms of a fixed contract.

– Be able to obtain their contract in full.

Update: One overlooked aspect of the Wireless Code is the mandate for wireless operators to allow users to cancel their service on the day of the request. Today, most carriers require 30 days notice for service cancellation.

We’ll be looking over the code in full over the next few days and add any relevant points to future posts. The Wireless Code goes into effect December 2nd for all new contracts — existing contracts are not affected by this announcement.

Source: CRTC (2)

  • Petephone

    when will this take effect?

    • Daniel Bader

      December 2nd.

    • Plazmic Flame

      For once, or finally, the future looks friendly.

      Although, this makes me think now that the prices with the Big-3 are actually going to go up by $10/month…

    • Me Ted

      I think you’ll simply see higher priced handsets that’s all. For example, my Galaxy Nexus was $99 on a 3 yr. That would probably go up to $199 on a 2yr like the US.

    • EsperOni

      It already works like that. 3-year plan will get you the cheapest cost of the phone, and if you opt for a 2-year plan, then the cost of the device goes up.

    • Me Ted

      But it goes up significantly.

    • EsperOni

      Always has. It goes up a lot more if you buy a device outright. Sure, our prices per handset Sub’d or not, is higher than say, the US, but it’s in line. The only people it effects are those who are constantly changing /updating their devices.

    • expat

      The price of the handset will not go down. Customers will pay the full amount, like in the past. The problem with buying a handset on contract, is that you will always pay the highest price.
      If on the other hand, you bought an international phone outright, you would usually pay less, when you wait. They typically go down 100 dollars after a month.
      And they are much easier to resell.

    • JPenguin

      I’d happily pay an extra $100 today to avoid having a very obsolete phone in 2 years time and being stuck paying much more to upgrade.

      Mind you, I’d be happy to buy a phone contract free today if it meant I wasn’t paying the same monthly bill as if I had taken a phone. If I’m paying for a subsidized phone then I expect to get that phone.

      And no, a 2-year contract from Rogers, Bell or Telus today is much more than $100 extra than a 3-year contract, today the price goes up by much more than the subsidy and that’s to push us to 3-year contracts.

    • Peter

      December 2nd – but only for new contracts.

    • kroms

      BUY her a Nexus 4 for $299 , she will be FREE of the BS contract and have a Super Fast Quad Core , Unlocked , Pentaband beast of a smartphone that Works on All Networks.

    • Rohan

      Read it takes effect Dec. 2, 2013 for only new contracts

  • H T

    is this retro-active to those who are approaching the 2-year mark in their current contracts??

    • Daniel Bader

      No, it applies only to new contracts signed on or after December 2nd.

    • Peter

      Nope – only new contracts it seems, unfortunately.

    • JPenguin

      It’s a shame that all of the terms only go into effect for new contracts or changed contracts after December 2nd.

      I can understand the term limits and the like shouldn’t apply retroactively but things like device unlocking and automatically capping roaming and overuse fees (unless the customer provides expressed permission) should be applied today.

  • David

    So essentially unlimited data is $50 plus the cheapest data plan you can get. That’s a huge change. I suspect that means the big 3 will start cutting you off once you hit that $50 cap. If they can’t price gouge they will take it away.

    • Manbo

      I’m betting on data being blocked @ $50.
      If not, lots of people will be running their home internet from cellular data.

    • Plazmic Flame

      Exactly, there will definitely be a hard cap put in place.

    • dandoozled

      copied and pasted…

      “A service provider must suspend data overage charges once they reach $50 within a single monthly billing cycle, unless the customer expressly consents to pay additional charges.”

      Completely fair, I’d have to consume 11 gigs to hit that cap, and right now that would cost me $184 with my existing 6GB plan with Bell. $0.03 / Mb.

    • Manbo

      Absolutely fair.
      This should have been in place a long time ago.

    • disqus_YSy1LHoPhL

      Who debunked it as a serious cost to them? Not anyone who understands the limitations of spectrum & cell sectors.

      Unlike wireline, it’s not a low-cost fixed-cost operation once installed, cell users move from cell tower to cell tower saturating resources unevenly and less predictably than wireline. One only needs look at the massive slowdown @ noon in the downtown cores as all the worker ants check their facebook and boobtube to see that the system has very real limits and is not a fixed sunken cost.

    • rocmon

      hmmm, makes me think BlackBerry compression demand may return… nes pas?

    • ElNad

      The correct orthograph for “nes pas” is “N’est-ce pas”. Yeah I know, the same sound but 8 times more complicated to write.

    • THΣ ΣΠTΣRTΔIΠΣR

      if you can’t insult them correct their grammar.. ahaha..

    • ElNad

      I’m sad for you that you think every time someone corrects grammar, it’s because they can’t find a good insult. I’m only giving him the information since french is hard to master.

    • THΣ ΣΠTΣRTΔIΠΣR

      ben je savais pas. ok on se calme..

    • Zed Eph

      “fixed sunken cost” … is that the faint allure of an economics background, or just hot air? From what I’ve learned, a sunk cost is something that cannot be recovered, and the basic idea is that if a company were at the verge of bankruptcy, it’s a value to forego so more assets aren’t squandered; now, a “fixed” sunk cost… I’m entirely unsure what you mean. However, let’s revisit the entire argument, that the networks are unable to handle the load at peak times. In those situations, the WSPs do not create temporary cell sites for a few hours a day to deal with the load (I can almost guarantee that, from working with Real Estate reps from various wireless providers.) So, there is no variable cost associated with cell sites in relation to the mass data consumption in peak areas/times. In that case, you may wonder what changes with the greater load… well, it’s the power consumption from the affected sites, they would result in greater power consumption, but hardly anything even fractionally close to the charges they levy onto subscribers for the associated consumption. WSPs could afford to create platforms with Unlimited Data services, and they do offer such plans to large corporate accounts; they reason they do not offer the same services to regular users is 1) they may risk losing wireline subscriptions, and 2) they can still gouge on dara overage since there is no governing body with the gall to impose restrictions on how much they can charge for overage.
      Basically, the sites are a sunk cost after they are built, and the only variable costs for each MB/GB are so low they are negligible in comparison to the “fines” opon users. Why would they want to kill their cash cow?? Unlimited data doesn’t mean people will go crazy with it, and peak-time slowdowns–despite unlimited data for most–prove the service providers [those you refer to–so far I’ve had no problem during peak times in downtown] still have a long way to go in terms of improving their networks.

    • Rob

      “There are some other notable points of the new code. Customers can:

      – Have a cap of $50/month for extra domestic data charges; international roaming is capped at $100/month.”

      It sounds like the $50 data cap is optional. meaning the customer can decide weather or not they want their data shut off after they hit $50 same goes for roaming at $100.

  • Quantos

    So basically, since they all mostly moved to tab systems, not much will change. I think it’s safe to say that most phones are subsidized and paid off over 3 years. If you leave after two, you’ll still have a third of this amount to pay, which is conveniently the maximum amount the CRTC allows them to charge. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this basically changes nothing.

    • iPhone’s Bro

      Wrong, device prices will go up to compensate for the 2 year contracts.

      As you said, most phones are subsidized over three years. If you can cancel with no penalty after two years, then the telcom companies will change it so they subsidize the device over 2 years.

      Either way, the price of the device you pay in store or your monthly plan will go up to compensate.

    • jroc

      I am envisioning this…you sign a three year contract to get a better upfront price, you will simply see a new line on your bill called a device subsidy fee. This amount would be equal to the difference between the two and three year contract prices, spread out over 12 months. In the end, you’re still going to be paying the same amount.

    • Quantos

      What about this bit: “That means that after two years, if the phone balance hasn’t been paid
      off, customers will need to merely pay off the remaining amount of the
      device and be able to leave the provider without penalty.”

      My understanding is that the subsidy remains at 3 years and that if you quit after 2 years, the maximum they can charge you is the amount of subsidy left to pay. The different now would be that they can’t charge any other administrative fees.

    • Mr. Miyagi

      Someone finally got it right!!!

    • phillechill

      “The Commission further considers that the early cancellation fee should be limited to the remaining balance of the device, which must decrease by an equal amount each month over a maximum of 24 months.”

      It will HAVE to have been paid off after 2 years. No way around it.

    • Quantos

      Ok, well if that’s correct, for all intents and purposes, forced 2 years contracts are in effect. The 3rd year is still technically legal, but you can quit whenever you want and there’s no fee. That’s not necessarily bad, but it only modifies the speed at which a subsidy will be paid. For instance, a 600$ subsidy will be paid in 24 installments of 25$ instead of 36 of ~16$.

    • jroc

      Which means your monthly bill is going to go up to reflect that. It’s hard to call this a “win” really.

    • Quantos

      Yes, but the total cost of the contract might not change. It depends how they do it. If the subsidy has to be paid in full in two years, there should be two ways they can do it:

      – They will charge an higher price for the first two years than for the third, thus paying the subsidy in 24 months, then having the last year much cheaper per month.
      – They will simply remove the third year and just charge more over two year contracts.

      The latter is more likely, in my opinion.

    • Riley Freeman

      Device prices will not go up as your subside is still balance is broken down over 24 months. your rate plan will be the one going up

    • Manbo

      “how else are we going to recoup our costs?”
      -Canadian Telecom

    • Super_Deluxe

      So what about the device reconnection fee that Rogers charges and not sure if other carriers charge this too. I go away for vacation for about a month and disconnect my phone and Rogers charges me a $25 penalty to get it reconnected again. This is not fair and it’s nothing but more gouging to customers. I already pay a high enough price per month and to get penalized for disconnecting my phone is just complete BS. Its not that I can’t pay it, it’s that I shouldn’t have to. I just hate throwing more money for unnecessary BS fees to the Big 3 and their pay checks just continue to increase. I hope the CRTC does something about this too. Its unfair.

    • JB Burrows

      It’s not fair for Rogers loses a customer every time you wanna take a vacation. The fact that they are only charging your $25 and letting your reconnect is a service they don’t have to offer you.

    • Super_Deluxe

      I’m already in a contract with them and still have a couple hundred bucks in Tab balance left so how would they lose me as a customer? I’m just not happy with the fact that I have to pay a fee to reconnect to a network I was already on. Even if I wasn’t on a contract this wouldn’t make me reactivate my account.

    • dandoozled

      Bell (and possibly Telus, I’m not sure) don’t even have a vacation suspend anymore, so you would wind up paying your entire months service, instead of just $25, and extending your contract by a month.

      I wouldn’t bother suspending it to save $50, and add a month to my agreement, unless I was going away for 6+ months.

    • iPlunks

      Pay your bills on time or have money aside for when it comes due like you Mortgage/Rent, Insurance, Loans and/or Hydro. They has the same fees with harsher penalties

    • jroc

      If you can afford to go on vacation for a month, you should be able to afford a $25 reconnection fee. Either that or pay your normal phone bill amount. You signed the contract, deal with it and quit whining.

    • Super_Deluxe

      If you read my previous post properly you’d know that that was not my point. Its that fee I’m not happy about not whether or can afford it or not like I said in my previous post. Remember that GRRF fee and activation fee when u resign a new contract everyone used to complain about? It’s the exact same thing here. This is another cash grab fee that needs to stop especially if the customer is on contract. If you keep supporting these unnecessary fee’s, they’ll just keep adding new ones means more money in their pockets.

    • jroc

      It is not the same thing at all, you’re a fool if you think it is. You signed a contract for a certain amount of continuous months of service. What you don’t seem to be able to grasp is that you can’t just pick and choose when you want those months to be. Suck it up dude. You made your bed, now lie in it.

  • David

    So will this be valid also for existing contracts, or only for new ones that are signed after the effective date?

    • KID ANDROID

      Only new contracts after December 2nd

    • David

      Thanks!

    • Guest

      Already asked and answered. Read earlier comments…

    • David

      Guess what, I was writing my question while the other person’s question was posted…

    • Patrick Beliveau

      Guess what… you didnt have to ask the question in the first place because it says it right in the article.

    • David

      Because the article was updated in the meantime. Duh. Funny how everybody thinks they’re oh so smart.

    • Patrick Beliveau

      Nothing was updated. the article was posted at 934am… your comment was 31 minutes ago, and its now 1012am.. 38 minutes the article has been up… dont blame others for your reading deficiencies.

    • David

      Oh yes, it was updated. But there’s no point arguing with somebody who’s unable to admit he was wrong, so I give up now. Have a great day!

    • David

      (The original article ended with “The Wireless Code goes into effect December 2nd.” whereas now it says “The Wireless Code goes into effect December 2nd for all new contracts —
      existing contracts are not affected by this announcement.”)

    • Patrick Beliveau

      check the time stamps in the background… no updates after it was posted at 934.

    • David

      Yes, that time stamp is for when the article was posted. Not for when it was updated.

    • lusky3

      Regardless if it was edited or not, it takes 2 seconds to click the Source link and clarify yourself.

    • Daniel Bader

      David was right, the article was updated. Give the guy a break!

  • disqus_t1FnM6DyQ6

    Say I had an old contract that was signed when rogers still had ECF instead of the tab system, if I were to cancel I wouldn’t be charged for the rest of the year

    • Erik T.

      No, they’d still come after you for whatever they calculate your ECF + DECF (If any) to be – the new code won’t apply to anything but contracts signed after December 2nd this year.

    • KID ANDROID

      This doesn’t affect contracts signed prior to December 2nd

    • silver_arrow

      Doesn’t take effect until December 2nd and only for new customers

  • Riley Freeman

    all the wording is emphasis, it doesnt really say these are rules that carriers have to abide by. i believe that was the whole point of thise but i wouldhave liked to see some stronger wording if this is in fact rules carriers have to follow through with

    • Peter

      I’m interested in seeing what the penalties are for carriers who don’t abide – other than a mass exodus of clients.

    • Salinger

      The preamble on the CRTC website states: “The Code applies to all wireless services, whether purchased on a stand-alone basis or as part of a bundle, and whether purchased in person, online, or over the phone. All service providers must comply with the Code.

    • Riley Freeman

      thank you very much sir

  • Patrick

    CRTC just apply what is already the law in Québec for contract! How much CRTC cost to us for saving à big 50$ on contract after 2 year?

    • Salinger

      Does Québec max phone subsidies out at 24 months? (effectively killing 3 year contracts). I wasn’t aware that they’d done that.

    • Sloppy Seconds again

      No they haven’t, Patrick is mistaken. Currently the full phone subsidy is spread over the 3 year contract.

    • hhero

      This whole 2 years you can cancel with no fees is confusing that would make no sense for the big 3 to keep you in a 3 years contract if you can cancel after 2

  • leafs123

    This is still not enough imo. Banning all 3 year deals would have been a start. We’re paying on a 3 year deal what they are paying on a 2 year deal down south.

    • Riley Freeman

      In their defense, Sprint, Verizon and at&t all have more customers than we have people EACH. It would be nice to have 2 year contracts but its unlikely. At the very least, the discount on a 3 year plan should be more than the same price as the u.s. counterparts.

    • Salinger

      If I’m reading the actual code correctly, it effectively does do away with 3 year contract as it says the subsidy has to be amortized over a maximum of 24 months. I stand to be corrected, but we’ll know for sure soon enough if we hear howls coming out of the Big 3’s head offices. :)

    • JB Burrows

      The CRTC cannot regulate what they charge for services. But can regulate how they operate. The reality of the fact is, everyone is in a 2 year contract regardless of what the carrier says you are in.

    • Crazy

      Exactly, sign a 3 year contract who cares. (after Dec 2, 2013) the device subsidy should be paid after 24 months according to the new CRTC rules. The only fees owing after 2 years to cancel is device subsidy. Which you should have paid off already. If they try to hit you with cancel subsidy fees or cancel fees point to the law and advise it should have been paid within the two years you were a client.

    • ToniCipriani

      Actually I think in this case “device subsidy” is the early cancellation fee, from the actual text:

      (ii) When calculating the early cancellation fee,

      a. the value of the device subsidy is the retail price of the device minus the amount that the customer paid for the device when the contract was agreed to; and

      b. the retail price of the device is the lesser of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or the price set for the device when it is purchased from the service provider without a contract.

      Only problem with this logic is that the device manufacturers actually set the MSRP along with the carriers, this is seen in many cases.

  • rupan2004

    The code will apply to new contracts for cellphones and other personal mobile devices starting on December 2, 2013. SOurce: CRTC

    Sucks for people who signed up earlier they wont be able to cancel their contracts for free.

  • Guest

    I can see huge gaps that those 3 sons of bitches can sneak through. For example, they will no longer offer fixed-term contract. Now they will offer tabs and let’s say you put $500 on tab, but they pay out of the tab might take the same length of 3 years to pay off or even longer if they change the rules and say 1% of your monthly bill goes towards paying off the phone. Assuming you pay $50 a month, 50 cents/month goes toward paying off your phone and will take 83 years to pay off your phone.

    • ToniCipriani

      Well you did buy the phone… you have to pay for that. It’s your own fault if you decide to go into that 1% contract. They’re not grabbing your hands to do so. Though I do see your point if all 3 of them decide to switch to 1%.

    • Salinger

      No, the code states that also for an “indeterminate contract” ie a tab situation, the ECF must be reduced by an equal amount over a MAXIMUM of 24 months.

      It’s just a bit confusing if they are including the device balance as an ECF. It definitely seems they are.

    • jroc

      I see huge gaps in your reading comprehension skills.

    • JB Burrows

      Burn

  • Robert Day

    Good job CRTC. Way to “mandate” what we already have. I don’t know of any cell phone provider in the country that still has an early termination penalty other than the device balance – the measly 12 and 50 dollar charge notwithstanding. I can see the coming future of cell phone purchases.
    $199 on a 2 year term, $0 on a 3 year term. If you cancel after two years on the 3 year term…. you owe… $199. Convenient.

    I’m afraid that as usual, Canadian regulations simply don’t change anything – but they will brag and boast about how they are making the mobile market a better place for Canadians. Sorry CRTC. It’s a nice gesture, but really, all this does is ensure that new players in the market are forced to conform to the business model created by the big players over the past few years.

    • David

      The only reason cell phone providers made the changes to get to where they are now is because of CRTC pressure. If there was no CRTC pressure and a process undertaken to create this wireless code there would still be huge ECFs and other hidden fees.

    • JB Burrows

      The cancellation fee will be 0$ regardless of the term you sign after 2 years. If you expect to get a iPhone or S4 for completely free you are just stupid.

      In your example take the 3 year option. Then just cancel after 2 years. It still has to be 0$ after the 2 years.

      Do you know how to read?

    • hardy83

      In the CRTCs defense, they can only do so much. They have a mandate they have to follow.

      If you are not satisfied, you should be directing your anger at the federal government for making the industry the mess it is for the past 30 years.
      So yes, that would mean yelling at both Liberals and Cons for making this mess.

    • Plazmic Flame

      Pretty much this sums up everything. We’ve already had this for sometime, especially if you’re with one of the BIG-3.

  • ToniCipriani

    “b. for unsubsidized devices: unlock the device, or give the customer the means to unlock the device, at the rate specified by the service provider, upon request.”

    This does nothing to help with the situation. All 3 do unlocking now, but charges a ridiculous amount for it (the so-called “rate specified by the service provider”). It should be free in the first place.

    • Chris Collins

      They all “do unlocking” but they require the subsidy be complete currently (ie… 3 years is up or you bought it outright). With this new plan even subsidized phones can be unlocked after 90 days.

    • Wil_A

      You can already buy the unlock code after a certain time.
      Two years ago, when I bought an Atrix on contract with Bell, I was told I could wait 90 days and pay 50$ to get the unlock code. To my knowledge, it’s already about the same on other carriers.

    • Chris Collins

      Hopefully there are no “that’s why you shouldn’t have an iPhone” type posts after this, but it IS different for iPhone. Locked vs Unlocked is registered at Apple, and although some 3rd party sites do offer unlocks ($150 for a Rogers one through them) it’s not as simple as getting a code.

      I travel to the US fairly often and like getting a prepaid sim when I travel, so having a subsidized AND unlocked iPhone is a great option for me. Previously I have just bought them outright from Apple as those are the only unlocked ones. Even outright purchased from Bell they are locked.

    • ToniCipriani

      If you see that I was referring to unsubsidized.

    • Chris Collins

      True enough! My question would be if you’re buying a phone at full pop – why even buy it from the provider? But you’re right, this doesn’t change much for unsubsidized phones purchased from the provider.

  • Salinger

    Just reading the actual code on the CRTC website, and am I reading it correctly that they are forcing carriers to amortize phones over 24 months now, not 36? That seems to be how it reads. So, you can sign a 3 year contract, but your phone is amortized over 2 effectively killing 3 year contracts.

    …or am I reading the wrong?

    “”a. for fixed-term contracts: The early cancellation fee must not exceed the value of the device subsidy. The early cancellation fee must be reduced by an equal amount each month, for the lesser of 24 months or the total number of months in the contract term, such that the early cancellation fee is reduced to $0 by the end of the period.””

    • silver_arrow

      Yup that’s exactly what it is saying

      The only problem is that you are only allowed to cancel after the two years

  • mr_magoo

    Can’t the CRTC see that’s it’s confusing for the consumer that they could still enter a 3 year contract but be allowed to break the “contract” after 2 years? What’s the point? Just ban the 2+ year contract explicitly and make it SIMPLER FOR EVERYBODY.

    • ToniCipriani

      Effectively they twisted the terms so that it is unfavourable for them to offer 3 year contracts, since they cannot amortize the phone over 3 year because anything after that will be written down to $0. However there IS a risk for upfront cost to go up for subsidized phones.

    • hardy83

      I don’t think they can outright ban 3 year contracts. I don’t think they have the power to do that.

    • iPlunks

      Correct. Or else people will be at the Apple store buying $799 iPhone 5S

  • Roberto Laurelli

    This is stupid. It basically means that IF we want a renewal after 2 years, we’re forced to jump from carrier to carrier. As a result, we will lose any good plans we have. Meanwhile, the carriers will increase hardware prices under the assumption that you may leave them after 2 years. Those who choose to stay will be forced to absorb larger device fees, while still needing to wait 3 years for a upgrade. So yeah, this is a poorly thought out disaster waiting to happen.

    • ToniCipriani

      I see it both ways. In a sense it will become a habit for people to actually go out and shop for plans, and on a grander scheme of things they will have to resort to better retail plans instead of the retention vs retail bullcrap we see.

      That’s one issue I see with the North American mobile industry: too many consumers are brainwashed into thinking phones are “free”.

  • Johnny

    I hoped they would do something for people who bring their own phones to a new WSP. All the people who really just want to pay for the service get nothing today. 10%off sucks

  • Riley Freeman

    You are misdreading some of the rules I believe. The accept/declien part is if they make changes to a contract i.e. like telus did with starting to charge customers for texts to the u.s. now, you can cancel your contract just like u.s. customers are allowed. Thats how I interpret it but I could be wrong.
    I believe the 15 day rule could apply to contracts as well but again I could be wrong.

    • Riley Freeman

      oh I am not disagreeing with you. I have worked at telus myself and been with them since they were clearnet. I am simply saying that I believe this new rule may allow you to break your contract. Basically what you agreed to INCLUDING features can allow you to exit but again I could be wrong. simply my interpretation of what I read. I am sure more will become clear as the days go by

  • Sweet

    3-year contracts are not that big a problem. The complaints about 3-year contracts almost all point to phone pricing being the problem. And the problem with phone pricing is lack of competition effectively giving the carriers full control of market pricing.

    If we fix the phone pricing problem , then more people will be able and willing to buy their phones outright and providers will most likely resort to service-based incentives (e.g the first X months free or get a reduced service rate the longer you commit) and/or offer phone financing options (which is basically what some of the TAB programs are).

    I’ll read the code later today.

    • jroc

      Fix the phone pricing? I am sorry, but that is ridiculous. That’s like saying that mortgages are not a problem, we need to fix the price of those pesky houses. It’s not going to happen. What people don’t realize is that wsp’s don’t really make any money on phones, it’s all in the rate plan. If you want to “fix the phone pricing problem”, you’re going to have to start emailling Apple, Samsung, and so on.

    • Sweet

      No, it’s not ridiculous. Phone subsidies make it impossible for independent retailers to make a living selling phones at market prices. If the WSPs scrap phone subsidies, then independent retailers can start selling phones at market prices like they do with laptops, desktops and TVs. That competition will cause the prices to drop as they did with laptops, desktops and TVs and you’ll see the WSPs drop their phone prices as well. In short, if you ban phone subsidies, then more businesses will start selling phones at market-driven prices and the outright prices will drop to razor-thin margins like they did with laptops, desktop PCs and TVs. That is not ridiculous at all, that’s a fact.

      And BTW, the Globe And Mail recently reported that BB’s average wholesale price of their devices is $289. Compare that to what the WSPs sell BlackBerry phones at (without subsidies) or even their claimed retail value, and you’ll see that the current high prices of phones is not caused by the phone makers, but by the WSPs.

  • WP74Life

    Can’t wait to see the new monthly package the BIG 3 will offer.
    They’ll X2 the prices, mark my words.

    • Deli

      No.

  • Roland

    ” This will likely not change — only the nominal “cancellation” fee,
    which for Rogers is $12.50 and for TELUS is $50 (Bell eliminated its ECF
    in February)”

    Rogers charges $12.50 for some provinces. Here in Manitoba, it’s $50….

    • iPlunks

      Manitoba and Quebec are in the same boat as part of bill 60. Thank your local goverment

  • BigBossInCanada

    Fact : Unlike 2 years ago, where you had to sign a 3 year contract to get a decent subsidy on pretty much any smartphone, most phone companies now offer full phone subsidies on 2 year and even 1 year contracts. You can get very capable smartphones on 2 year contracts from Bell, Rogers, Telus and all their sub brands. Only the very high end phones require 3 year contracts to get a full subsidy.

    What is this going to result in? Prices for phones going up.

    How many people will be williing to pay $250 for their S4 on a 2 year contract, rather than $0 on a 3 year? Not too many I’m willing to bet.

    Myself, I’m loving my free Iphone4 on a 2 year. I don’t need the latest and greatest all the time.

    • David

      There is no reason why the cell phone companies can’t up your bill by $10/month to reduce that $250 up front fee.

      The reality is, if you have to finance a $600 phone over 3 years instead of 2 you probably shouldn’t be buying a $600 phone.

    • BigBossInCanada

      So you are agreeing with me then? I don’t have the latest phones because I don’t feel the need to spend $600 to get them and I don’t want to sign up for a 3 year contract. This new CRTC ruling will result in either lower subsidies over 2 years or like you said, an increase in monthly bills to counteract the decrease in contract length. Which do you think consumers will be willing to stomach? As for me, I have my prepaid Samsung Galaxy S2 and Iphone4 and only a 2 year Bell retention contract to show for it.

    • Salinger

      I really think there’ll be an initial knee jerk reaction, but in the long-term, standard 2 year contracts vs 3 are a good thing overall.

      Of course, our wireless companies have a richer profit margin than almost any carriers in the world. They could easily charge just minimally more for a device up front on a 2 year term and still maintain a more than healthy profit, but no, I’m not delusional, I know that won’t happen. :)

    • David

      Yes. The reality is, all the CRTC needed to do is decouple the phone from the plan so you purchase them separately and you can choose a month to month plan, or a 1 year or 2 year contract and you can also choose whether to purchase your phone outright or finance your phone over 1, 2 or even 3 years.

      That is actually the way the CRTC should have gone. There is no reason the phone and the plan need to be linked except that it provides a way for the cell phone providers to obfuscate what you are actually paying for.

    • Verdic

      This “fact” is based on what? I took a quick glance at the Rogers website and it doesn’t line up.

      There are 18 phones listed on their smartphone page; 6 of those phones are offered on a contract under 3 years and only 3 of phones have the 2-year and 3-year price the same ($0). I found zero phones offered on a 1 year contract. Even one-generation old phones like the Galaxy S3 and BB7 OS phones do not have a 2-year option.

      If anything this change will make more people follow in your footsteps, buy older phones that have a lower total cost of ownership. Why should we always trick people towards the most expensive phone?

    • BigBossInCanada

      How bout you go on the FIDO, KOODO, VIRGIN sites. A wide selection of phones can be had for $0 on a 2 year contract. HTC One S, LG Optimus L7, Blackberry Bold 9730, Motorola Razr V just to name a few. Even Bell now has the Sony Xperia T (aka the Bond phone) for $0 on a two year. But maybe you are one of the ones who MUST always have the latest and greatest…

  • me

    Here is one piece of the code that hasn’t been discussed yet…

    Customers may cancel their contract at any time by notifying their service provider.
    Cancellation takes effect on the day that the service provider receives notice of the cancellation.

    Does that mean no more “30 days notice” BS?

  • TomsDisqusted

    I’m puzzled by your assertion that “Most Canadian carriers have already done away with “early cancellation fees”?? Here in Ontario I called Rogers a few months ago to ask about early cancellation and the price they quoted me was ~ double the outstanding subsidy.

  • Guest

    Is device unlocking free if you pay in full?

    • ToniCipriani

      “Rate specified by the service provider”.

  • jroc

    Regarding the subsidy, you’re wrong. If you actually took the time to read the article you would have noticed that the phone subsidy is now going to be fully recouped after 24 months. All this means is that the upfront cost of the device will go up in order to offset the third year of the contract having no subsidy attached to it.

  • TomsDisqusted

    It would have made a much bigger difference if they had forced the incumbent carriers to accept BYOD (they accept it in theory, but have various tricks to make it a bad deal). Few would actually use BYOD, the this would force them to get competitive with BYOD options and would thereby change everything.

    • Verdic

      I wrote to the CRTC to bring up this point. Break out a bill by the cost of the plan and the cost of the phone. If you bring your own phone then you don’t pay the phone portion at all. Not in the draft unfortunately.

    • TomsDisqusted

      Yeah, but the carriers’ control of the handset business is critical for them – not just in locking consumers into contracts, making huge margins on the handset, and getting their bloatware onto them. In the end, there is no way the carriers would have allowed the CRTC to make such an important change.

    • Verdic

      That’s the point. The CRTC’s role is not to make changes that the big carriers “allow them to make.” They are supposed to protect consumers, not the companies! Why should they be allowed to make huge margins?

      I also disagree that that it would undermine their control that much. If competitively priced, I see no reason why most people would not still go for subsidized phones (main reason is that people love monthly payments for things they can’t really afford – look at cars, most people finance/lease). They can still put their bloatware on those phones. It just helps consumers break out how much they are actually paying for their phones.

    • disqus_YSy1LHoPhL

      Nope, the role of the CRTC is to manage the sectrum and TV & Radio content. Consumer protection is a totally different entity, which is why the CRTC needed to engage the competition bureau et al, to even recommend what they did. Very off-road for them to meddle in this area. It would be like allowing the Food Inspection agency to set prices or menus for restaurants.

      it’s purely a PR move by the CRTC and the PC, outside of their purview but popular so it’s OK.

  • Super_Deluxe

    For the last point the CRTC said contract penalty and not Tab balance which I believe they’re referring to ECF, Rogers does not charge ECF anymore as they have moved to the Tab system and only require you to pay off your remaining balance any time before you leave or cancel. It’s Bell and Telus and some local carriers like MTS and Sasktel who still do and I won’t be surprised if they switch over to the Tab system also to sneak around that rule and be able to recover the remaining balance of the phones in the 3rd year as well.

    • Riley Freeman

      Telus has a device balance which is your subsidy over time. Bell is the only carrier I find their cancellation policy to be completely unclear and I am with them. I kinda dont care since I have unlimited data with them on my iphone 5 so I am not going anywhere lol

    • Super_Deluxe

      Won’t be surprised if they jack up the plan prices even more and increase the upfront price of the phone to make up for lost rev. It only sounds right for these money hungry carriers.

  • canuck07

    They say you can unlock your device after 90 days or immediately if paid in full. But they didn’t say it’s free.

  • El Grande

    So for the data cap, does that mean no overage charges, or that the provider will simply suspend your service, and you have to give the go ahead to use more, leading to more overage charges?

    • NFLPLAYBOOK

      The cap is for the overages. How much data they give you for the $50 or $100 overage is up to each carrier.

  • NFLPLAYBOOK

    The biggest change is data excess. This will be a big help in stopping bill shock. $50 and $100 limits for overages is huge. This will end the ridiculous data charges they now have.

    • jroc

      It will also most likely end your data service once you reach that level of charges. There’s no way in hell they’re going to give you a free ride on data once you surpass the $100 threshold.

    • NFLPLAYBOOK

      That’s the point. There have been too many cases of people travelling and being charged ridiculous amounts of money when they didn’t even know they had their data turned on. This will cap it.

    • lewis

      And that has nothing to do with the CRTC. All they can do is stop your service. Its up to the various carriers to negotiate their roaming fees. The CRTC would have to impose restrictions on those other carriers to reduce fees. No one carrier is going to be the first to blink as this is their gravy man. The urban myth is that the HSPA expansion Telus did in 2010 was completely funded by roaming charges of people coming in to attend the olympics. Big bucks on roaming fees. Try using your data in Mexico. You’ll get 1MB before they cut you off based on the CRTC’s ruling.

    • NFLPLAYBOOK

      So what would you rather have, your service cut off or a $20,000 phone bill. This will force them to offer package deal on data while travelling and higher package deal here.

    • lewis

      Force who to offer a package deal????? How much stroke do you think RoBelUs have with any Mexican wireless carrier? How many Mexicans bring they’re smart phones and consume data in Canada??? That 50$/MB doesn’t go soley to your carrier. Most of it goes to the provider you’re roaming on. You do realize that right? The only time to change that is when the carrier’s are negotiating their roaming rates and as noted if there is a one way consumption (meaning WAY more people roam onto Mexico carriers than consumers from Mexico roaming into Canada), then why would the Mexican carriers NOT charge an arm and a leg to roam on their network. They take that money and put it back into their network and grow they’re infrastructure for they’re subscribers on our backs. It sucks but that’s the way it is and there’s no “package deal” to be made on the data.

      If you don’t like roaming rates AGAIN buy your device outright unlocked and get a local carriers SIM and rates.

    • jroc

      Fully agree. I just hope people don’t think this is going to mean there’s a cap on the price, but not the usage.

    • Techie01

      If you don’t know your phone is roaming you shouldn’t have one. “oh why does it say AT&T on my phone” “what does i will may be charged for Roaming mean” Ignorance shouldn’t get you out of paying what you owe.

    • Salinger

      Agreed, however I think the benefits will far outweigh the negatives in this situation. There are infinitely more people who are hit with over the top roaming data charges than there are those who will be upset at having their data shut off because they’ve exceeded an additional $100 in a single bill.

      I would assume there will be some mechanism in place that you can call in and explicitly agree to turn your data back on fully acknowledging the charges, but anyone who is using that much data while roaming is more likely unaware of the cost, or it won’t affect them because they’re wise enough to get a local sim.

  • Fernando Rangel Rodriguez

    A little too late -_-

  • huskywhale

    Phones and plans are going to be more expensive but still it is something better than the present system.

    • lewis

      But only if you buy under contract. You’re just paying your phone off at an accelerated rate. Pay now or pay later, that device your carrying has to be paid for by someone………in addition to paying for the use and maintenance of the network its being used on.

    • huskywhale

      think about it, even if i have a phone with no contract i pay same as the guy who doesn’t. Except i can switch and they can’t

  • lewis

    So why bother with a contract as a consumer then. Really, just buy the phone outright, use it with whichever carrier you want. Canadians don’t have the same issues and challenges as the US cell customer. The networks from the big three are all pretty fabulous by comparison to the US. In the states you pretty much have to select your provider by who has coverage in your neighborhood AND who has the phone you want. Unless you count “colors” we don’t seem to have handset exclusivity here. And again the networks are all pretty good. Its really only a choice of Belus (telus/bell) or Rogers or Sasktel or MTS. So for those about wining about “paying later” just pay it now up front. Or suck it up and sign for a contract.

    • JB Burrows

      Some people can’t afford a outright price for an iPhone or S4. So Contracts is all they got. And now, its better and makes me feel comfortable signing a contract.

    • iPlunks

      So because some cannot afford buying it outright, the big 3 must “help you” buy it within your means? When i go to your self owned Business i hope i can get the same treatment as you look towards other companies

    • lewis

      Pay now or pay later – at some point you gotta pay.

      Other than teenagers, who can’t afford a smart phone outright. Average cost of a computer is in line with a premium smart phone. Who doesn’t have a computer at home these days? Be smart – buy “last year’s” premium smart phone like the SIII or the 4S. Buy one used from the guy that always has to have the latest and greatest and looks after his tech (there are lots out there). Don’t buy into the marketing hype, buy one for what you need it to do vs the gimmicky commercials and you’ll find you can indeed afford what you need. The best thing that could happen for us the consumer is if we all owned our phones outright. Then you’d really see the carriers scrapping for our business where it counts – on the monthly cost for actual usage.

      And – If paying later then guess you can’t gripe as you signed onto the contract.

    • iPlunks

      I wish i seen your post before posting mine lol

    • Josh Brown

      Why would you pay outright when your bill doesn’t change? I am on a retentions plan which is pretty good it cost me $65 mth with a brand new phone. If I went out and bought a new phone for $699, you know what my bill would be? $65 mth. so why buy outright? Unless you live in the GTA and can use wind just take the HW upgrades.

    • lewis

      Go to the big 3’s little sisters. koodo and fido are starting to offer discounts for bring your own devices. It will come to the others as well. The more of us that own our devices outright, the more of this type of competition for our business you’ll see.

      And there’s the obvious that you can move carriers as you see fit. You can get some screaming monthly plans from the carriers “retention” agents when you phone to cancel your service. If you’re under contract “they’ve got you”. You have to rely on the CRTC to do your negotiating for you when you’re in a contract.

    • Josh Brown

      You get 10% off for your own device? Off $65 that is $78 Dollars a year. That would take 9 years to equal the savings of a Galaxy S4. What we need is the phone prices themselves to come down.

    • lewis

      10% off your monthly fee on Koodo and Fido. Also, if you’re device is contract free and unlocked – call and cancel it and speak to customer retentions. You’ll probably be very pleased at the deal/rate they’re willing to throw at you.

    • Josh Brown

      I already get an awesome Deal I get $65 a month for 300 min. 5pm – 7 am unlimited, 1000 long distance min, VM, CD, Unlimited MMS and SMS, 6 GB of Data. Plus I get a brand new phone every 2 years. I got that play 1 year and 1 month in to my 3 year contract. So why not just sign it. For me to cancel anytime is just the cost of the phone plus 12.50. I got the Note 2 in Oct. for me to cancel my contract is already down to $375

    • lewis

      So you are happy being in a contract. So no problem. My comments were directed at those who are unhappy with their contract and are trying to have the CRTC change it after the fact.

    • Josh Brown

      I just don’t know why anyone would take the 10% over a contract. Financially it makes no sense unless they start offering 20 to 25% discounts for your bill it is not worth it. Even if you do not want a new phone every 2 years. Sell it on Kijiji and make $500 for it.

    • lewis

      I agree 10% isn’t much, but with most people under a contract what do they care. As I posted, the best thing that could happen for us as consumers would be if we all started buying our devices outright unlocked. Then the carriers would have to work to attract AND retain their subscribers.

    • Josh Brown

      Why? Where are you going to go that you are going to get a much better deal. Mobilicity is already gone, and Wind will sell soon again. What needs to happen is the CRTC needs to let a large foreign player like t-mobile in to give us $70 unlimited everything North american wide. Now that is some competition.

    • Josh Brown

      What competition? 3 Companies that have the exact same prices is not competition. It is like the Gas stations they all keep there prices the same because you have no where else to go. We need a major player from the US or Europe to come here and shake things up.

  • hardy83

    Call me when the government fixes the broken telecommunications act and stops the monopolies from existing along with the companies being allowed to won both the media infrastructure and the media content.

    A code is great, but the industry is still broken because the laws governing them are still broken, and that is something the CRTC can’t fix.
    The “no-spine for the corporations” federal government needs to fix it.

    • JB Burrows

      *sigh* some people will just never be happy. Lets look at this a step in the right direction and praise the CRTC for doing this code. Instead of criticizing them for not doing enough. They didn’t have to do this.

    • hardy83

      I’ll admit it’s something, and it’s pretty much the most the CRTC can do with the power they have, but there is still a fundamental flaw within the entire industry that needs to be fixed that only the federal government can fix.
      I’m not criticizing the CRTC at all.

      However I’m not going to be satisfied with band-aids when the cut is an open wound down to the bone.
      I’m criticizing the federal government for being utterly useless to us consumers in the telecom industry.

    • lewis

      I honestly don’t know what you’re getting at. I have my gripes with the “big 3″, but honestly we have a freaking awesome wireless infrastructure in Canada. The US completely sucks by comparison. They’re 4g is like our 3g. Well at least out west. I don’t know about anything east of MB. Maybe its as bad there. How are they monopolies when they opened up the spectrum for auction? Building those wireless networks does cost big bucks of which the big 3 only seem to have big enough pockets to do.

      In short, i’d rather be stuck with the big 3 and have an extremely useable and reliable network(s) vs what I think you’re proposing where the consumer has choice on everything but a shitty network to use it on.

    • hardy83

      I’m not commenting on speed. I’m commenting on the industry infrastructure in regards to laws etc.

      If you want me to comment on the “speed” and “reliability” of out wireless infrastructure then no, I completely disagree. There are large areas of this country that doesn’t even have dial up let alone wireless or DSL/Cable Internet.

      We have some of the highest prices and slowed speeds ratio in the developed world.

      And as a consumer, you should never EVER be “satisfied” with the status quo. Even if there “could” be worse, you should always demand better. You always deserve better.
      And in this scenario, we deserve A LOT better.

    • lewis

      There are indeed large areas with no coverage. Where there is money to be made to build the infrastructure it will be built. We threw away the crown corporation telcos – except sasktel. They had their place when there were NO consumer options. Why should a wireless carrier pay to give a half dozen people a high speed cellular network if they’re not going to make money off it?? If you need internet in one of those areas – use satellite. If you’re priority is to be “connected”, then I guess its your choice to move somewhere you have connectivity or to pay the full price to get that connectivity to your location. I sure as hell aren’t going to pay or subsidize someone else by giving any more money to the government.

      As a true consumer I also need to realize satisfaction may come at a great financial cost to myself. You can demand better all you want, but as a consumer realize someone has to pay. No one is going to pay for you.

    • Josh Brown

      80% of the population lives in 10% of the land mass here in Canada. The USA is spread out. A Third of the population lives in the Golden Horseshoe. List the major cities in Canada, A list of 15 or 20, maybe.
      In the USA there is 290 cities with over 100,000 people, spread all over the USA. Now try and cover all those people.

    • lewis

      Your point? whether highly populated or sparsely, the canadian networks are superior to those in the US that i’ve experienced. Particularly here in AB. Mainly driven by the Energy sectory, but pretty much the entire province has HSPA or better coverage. Not just on highways or in urban centers.

  • al-rogers

    The big 3 will impose special promo plans that will only be available with a 3 year contract, that provide a monthly credit, and should a client cancel after 2 years, they will not have a device balance fee but they would need to repay the remaining credit they were entitled to.

  • iPlunks

    I do not know why people are so opposed to the Mobile Service in Canada. Why do you feel the need to compare everything to the US and Europe/Asia? When i watch TV shows of US people saying they have no coverage in populated areas. I dont see RoBellUs customers complaining as such. 2 Samsung Galaxy 4’s were made. 1 North american and 1 Europe (just follow me) the Euro version had alot more cores then the quad core or a different processer (not sure) in the NA, because their networks arent as good as the ones in NA so they have to compensate by giving the phone more power for the weak network. Canada’s system is not the best, but we take them for granted a whole lot more. In US treads they complain about the Manifactures in reference to there phone problems because they are stuck on a 2 yr contract and either the phone doesnt get a update or something if wrong with the phone.

    • Verdic

      I partially agree with you, in that we have generally good service.

      Where I disagree is on profit margins. Look at the profit margins of the Canadian oligopoly versus Europe and the US – it is generally wider. Now, as a company in a capitalist country I see no problems about fleecing customers if they are able to. However, it also means it is the government’s job to help consumers as clearly the balance of power is not in their favour.

    • iPlunks

      Ans while i agree with you on profit margins for corporations. Your comparison from canada to euro, again if the service was as good on europe as it is in a Canada, their profits would be the same. Because they do not cover a good amount of area, landlkne services are still strong. Not much room for wireless. The big 3 should not be hording money away without improving their services. Your mom and dad started a small business and did well and expanded, got there kids and family around then living better, who is to say for another person not going through what they did in order to provide for their family. If they want to increase a pair of scissors from $2 to $5 are we going to burn them at the stake because we do not want to pay more. Sorry i went a lil deeper then needed lol

    • Jeff

      I think it’s fair to say the Canadian network is quite good compared
      with several other developed countries and being a democratic capitalist
      society we have to accept ( maybe even embrace ) the profit margins the
      company can produce. After all the Big 3 didn’t do anything illegal to
      earn that profit.

      Plus, if a certain company has
      terrible coverage at a certain locale then consumers should be smart
      enough stay away from the provider therefore not contributing to their
      profits. i.e. Sasktel vs Rogers in Saskatchewan, especially rural
      parts. So I don’t think it’s fair to expect great coverage everywhere.
      After all cell phone service doesn’t form part of the national
      infrastructure.

      What us as consumers are entitled to expect though is a certain “Code of Conduct” where
      the companies can’t gouge consumers when loopholes exist or charging
      excessive cancellation fees, so I think the move to device balance is
      quite fair. The data roaming charge caps is quite fair too, it prevents stupidity from hurting the less-than-aware.

    • jroc

      Do you type with your eyes closed?
      Also, you realize that these telcos are a business right? The whole point of a business is to make money for shareholders. Buying up more spectrum = improving service. If you spend every single dime they bring in you’re not running a business very well.

    • iPlunks

      Sorry for my grammer. I am trying to to sneak my comments in at work. The 8 cores are in reference to the European model. Unless you are claiming i am incorrect. I think its you that doesn’t get where I’m coming from

    • Josh Brown

      The Processor Cores have nothing to do with the networks. Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chip has 8 cores but only uses 4 at a time 4 are fast 4 are slow but good on power. Exynos chips do not have LTE on SOC so they are not good on Power consumption. Also 80% of the population of Canada lives in urban areas it is much less spread out than the USA.

    • iPlunks

      You are right, the 8 cores are in reference to the LTE, that’s what i was confused about. But there network are still no optimized which is why the 8 cores is needed so it isn’t taxing on the phone. Yes the US is more spread out but the fact still remain that they don’t get the same coverage that canada gets in the populatated area

    • Josh Brown

      The processor is actually faster on the Snapdragon. The Extra cores are so the phone can run on slower more efficient cores when the phone does not need that speed. And none of this has to do with LTE speeds. There is 290 Cities with 100,000 or more people that is away more infrastructure to roll out with every new network type.

    • jroc

      You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about in regards to why that model has 8 cores. Do some research bro.

    • lewis

      Completely agree that the average consumer takes our wirless network and infrastructure for granted. I have no hate or love for the big three but our network is FAR superior anything in the US for useability and reliability. We can go to pretty much any of the big 3 and have good service. In the US in densely populated areas you may still be limited to your carrier selection simply by which one has decent coverage where you live or work – really. Then you may have to go with a specific carrier just to get the handset you want. I much prefer what we have.

  • jon dow

    Screw Telus, Rogers, Fido, Bell. All rip off companies. Join WIND!

    • lewis

      While I agree WIND rocks where they have coverage – they have limited coverage and fund available to build new coverage. But a great alternative for sure.

  • lusky3

    They make back the price of the subsidy phone in a few months. They aren’t going to lose anything, or maybe 1 million of their 1 billion profit.

    • lusky3

      The carriers don’t purchase the devices at $600, for starters. Phones like the Motorola Razr V was purchased at about $160 a unti. The Galaxy S3 was purchased at about $275 unit. The Blackberry 9300 was around $100. These prices would fluctuate depending on demand. But those were the prices Bell and Telus were paying at the device launches. Don’t know about Rogers, but they should be similar.

    • Shane

      Not sure where you are getting your info, but none of your numbers are correct.
      The cost to carriers is much higher than what you’ve posted here.

    • Shane

      Was really hoping you’d come back and provide a source for your device costs. It’s not doing anyone any good to spread false info.

    • B-rad

      That’s closer to production cost.

  • Wil_A

    > Cue people with their dramatic stories of traveling to the US or abroad
    and unable to use their phone in an emergency because it was cut off due
    to roaming charges.

    You can always call emergency numbers from a cell phone, even if it doesn’t have a SIM card in it.
    If someone has hit the cap and needs to call a non-emergency number, well, I’m going to guess the carriers will build a workaround for that.

  • disqus_YSy1LHoPhL

    So when is the Ministry of Transportation going to get involved in gasoline pricing?

    I don’t see how they plan on limiting roaming to $100 without essentially cutting people off when overseas. It’s not like the carriers don’t pay the other carriers money for Canadians roaming abroad. The richest Mexican is rich for that reason, being a monopoly and charging gringo’s mobile companies for roaming. It’s not like the CRTC suddenly makes it $100 to use 10GB of data while abroad. If the wireless companies are smart they will make all roaming prepaid.

    Anywhooo, it’s awesome the government wants to be more involved in business, so they can start lower gas prices, which went up 23c in a week while oil prices went down.

    • Salinger

      Have you seen the percentage of gasoline pricing that is taxes? The government is already heavily involved! :)

    • Tom

      It’s not just Canadian carriers. Almost everyone gouges for roaming.

      Too many people are too dumb to realize how much they save by unlocking their phones and getting a prepaid SIM while abroad.

      Even if you’re dumb enough to pay $50 to the carrier for unlocking rather than use cellunlocker.net, that’s pocket change compared to roaming fees.

  • Guest

    The thing we need to keep in mind is that every time there is a release about this, there are 5 different stories that come of it. Regarding the contract term, device subsidy, and cancellation fees, there are already 2 different stories presented in this article.

    We need to wait and read the ACTUAL code. Not what a blog said. Not what you heard on Facebook. Not what you’d hair dresser told you. We need to read the code and see what happens.

    I would also like to point out that doomsaying isn’t going to make this go into effect any faster. We also have to wait and see how each carrier reacts, how they address current contracts, and if they begin to integrate changes prior to Dec 2.

    Lastly, CBC said something really important when they reported on this. There is still accountability on the part of customers. This code of conduct is meant to make this level and clear. It does not mean that we can ignore the terms of our contracts, nor does it mean we can expect any changes to take effect immediately and retroactively. You and only you are responsibly for your phone’s charges, and for entering into a long term agreement. This code of conduct has not changed that, but this will become more of an issue in the future, since we can no longer hide behind scapegoats.

  • ScooterinAB

    The thing we need to keep in mind is that every time there is a release about this, there are 5 different stories that come of it. Regarding the contract term, device subsidy, and cancellation fees, there are already 2 different stories presented in this article.

    We need to wait and read the ACTUAL code. Not what a blog said. Not what you heard on Facebook. Not what your hair dresser told you. We need to read the code and see what happens.

    I would also like to point out that doomsaying isn’t going to make this go into effect any faster. We also have to wait and see how each carrier reacts, how they address current contracts, and if they begin to integrate changes prior to Dec 2.

    Lastly, CBC said something really important when they reported on this. There is still accountability on the part of customers. This code of conduct is meant to make this level and clear. It does not mean that we can ignore the terms of our contracts, nor does it mean we can expect any changes to take effect immediately and retroactively. You and only you are responsibly for your phone’s charges, and for entering into a long term agreement. This code of conduct has not changed that, but this will become more of an issue in the future, since we can no longer hide behind scapegoats.

    • Salinger

      You don’t need to wait to read the code, it’s been up on the CRTC website for some time now. I read it first thing this morning.

  • Mike

    So i wanted to do some math and research on bills… I took the biggest plan with the big 3. I used Rogers since its Canadas biggest vs. Verizon as the USs.

    Plan: Untld Nationwide mins, Txt pic vid messaging, Call ID and VM, 5GB

    Verizon(including phone) 199.99 GS 4 + 36 activation + 120 per month
    Rogers(including Phone) 149.99 GS 4 + 0 to 35 ACtivation + 100 per month

    Rogers – 3yr*100 = 3600 per customer
    Verizon – 2yr*120 = 2400 per customer

    s**t looks like we are paying an xtra 1200… lets take a quick thought about why assuming everyone had the same plan ( yes I know some pay less… some pay more.. avg bill in US is 87 and in canada it is 76ish)

    Rogers – 3600 * 9.7mill users = 35bill over the 3 yrs…. or about 1.2 bill per year
    Verizon – 2400 * 115mill users = 276 bill over 2 yrs…. or 138 bill per year

    now I know this makes some assumptions on plans and that we pretend everyone resigned a contract TODAY and you keep your phone for the exact length of the contract… but when you make an extra 137 billion a year, there is more then a little wiggle room when it comes to paying for phones.

    as far as unlocking your phone, with the exception of the iPhone you can do it in about as little as 5 minutes for less the $35 on most sites. in the US they charge between 35-75 and you have to be either 90 days into your contract or pay off the phone.

    This bill is basically designed to make sure the companies play by the rules.. and since rogers, bell, and telus were all involved in making it in some way the reasons they have recently changed their policies to line up with the code makes sense

  • Julian Neufeld

    Finally!!!!! At last some regulations on those greedy service providers!

  • Amumu

    This unlocking is it supposed to be free or paid after 90 days?

  • Ulysses

    If CRTC wants to eliminate the 3 years contract, they should just mandate a maximum of 2 years contract. It is such a hassle to cancel and sign up for a new plan because you won’t be able to keep your mobile number unless you port to another provider.

    • Josh Brown

      They basically did there is no consequences if you cancel after 2 years so, in essence it is a 2 year contract.

    • Salinger

      I think 2 year contracts are just going to happen organically. The whole reason 3 year contracts existed, is because it took that long to pay off your device balance. If it is mandated that it is paid after 2 years, I don’t see carriers continuing to sign up customers to 3 year contracts with zero penalty for cancelling after 2.

    • Ulysses

      @Salinger:disqus – I totally agree. I think these providers will take their chances of retaining the three year contact because not many customers pay attention to their phone bills let along their phone contacts.

  • NPH

    The bottom line is that without competition from other players (Mobilicity is effectively out Wind Is going too etc) The big 3 will simply restructure/re-price their contracts to protect their profits.
    What the CRTC needs to do is enable other players to step into

    • Ulysses

      I think CRTC will do nothing to protect the new entrant. Basically, it sucks to compete in Canadian market because you will just end up getting eat up by the big three.

  • Zed

    Those are some great changes, but they fail to address the new TAB system. It basically is the worst form of contract at the moment for 90% of people using it, and since it’s not actually a 24-36 months contract, it will (mostly likely) not abide by the rules set in the draft. hope I’m proven wrong

    • Salinger

      They do address the tab system. It’s in the code. The same 24 month maximum amortization period applies for indeterminate contracts (which are essentially tabs).

    • Zed

      I still don’t see it as cut and dry, but, provided no loopholes can be found/used, let’s get it going!

    • crimsonablue

      b) for indeterminate contracts:
      The early cancellation fee must not exceed the value of the device
      subsidy. The early cancellation fee must be reduced by an equal amount
      each month, over a maximum of 24 months, such that the early
      cancellation fee is reduced to $0 by the end of the period.

  • Ulysses

    The big three must be really pissed and planning how to rip us off further.

  • NPH

    What the CRTC needs to do is enable other players to step into the market with such a presence that increased competition is assured.

    • Josh Brown

      Yes like T-mobile. $70 unlimited everything. I would do that to have unlimited Data. CRTC should let T-mobile buy WInd. Even uses the same freq.

    • Carl Hall

      unlimited North American calling, SMS, and data (on Wind or T-Mo) for $70 a month

    • Josh Brown

      That makes me drool just thinking about it. Most beautiful words I have heard all day.

    • lewis

      I think that would be the shortest path to a cheap monthly plan……..and an unusable network. NOTHING should be unlimited to prevent saturation. You wanna use – you gotta pay.

      What would be more beneficial to me would be if the CRTC opened up access to have services like Google voice supported in Canada. Why do I need to have a phone number tied to a SIM. Its kind of like tieing an email address to only one MAC address. At some point it should all be data making the sim, the carrier, and the device irrelevant. Charge me for the data that I use – nothing unlimited. Just simply reasonable amount. Bring the services to my device either through wifi (hooray for Shaw for thinking outside the box with their wifi build!) or cellular – shouldn’t matter. Less reliance on spectrum auctions and frequencies and saturated cellular wireless networks in densely populated areas.

      Why can I get a flex data plan on a tablet auto tiering starting at 5$/month but not on a phone? Why do Carriers have different data rates depending on idevice vs others?? Its all freaking data.

      Thats the crap I’d like to see the CRTC concentrate on. I already know how to avoid contract BS – just don’t have one.

  • Dylan K

    Most of this has already been implemented at the telecoms… However there are a few welcome changes too. Tis a shame there’s nothing here about 2yr pricing for high end smartphones.

  • Manic Devlin

    The big 3 will still screw us by moving to Tab agreements, that way they can avoid most of changes and screw people with low priced plans, since low priced plans on Tab take like 4-6 years to pay off.

    • Dylan K

      They moved to tab agreements last year, and they’re a shitton more fair than any of their old ECF systems.

    • Manic Devlin

      Not really since with Tab agreements, you need to pay off your entire tab before upgrading to a new phone.

      So someone with a low priced plan would take them 5-6 years to upgrade instead of a person who could probably upgrade on year 2 of a 3 year contract with minimal impact. How is that better?

      Right now the best deal is Fido with 39$ 600MB data with 2 year contract agreement. I always calculate how much a plan and agreement terms take to pay off, and usually Tab comes out worst unless you are on a 60$+ plan.

    • Dylan K

      You have no idea how their tab system works. Rogers/Telus takes your tab and shaves off 1/36th of it every month in your 3 year term, it’s not a percentage of your plan amount like Wind. In fact, subsidies drop much faster with them than with Wind (is it still 10% of your bill per month?)

      Take a $450 subsidy, divide by 36 months, that’s $12.50 a month it drops by, regardless of your plan.

    • Manic Devlin

      Virgin & Koodo is 10%.

    • Salinger

      Please read the code, it already addresses this.

      Indeterminate contracts (which are Tab agreements) are also capped at a maximum amortization of 24 months.

  • nubber

    A true story of today with these ridiculous contracts with Fido may be with other carriers.

    My iphone which is of 2.5 years old contract with fido stopped turning on today morning.. I mean literally no physical damage or water damage.. As per fido customer service they cant do anything with it because they do not have any warranty with Apple..All they can do though is forcing me to take another 3 year contract or to provide a BS phone with out data by rebating some amount and adding my fido dollars for it..

    • Tom

      Funny how Fido separates their 2 year and 3 year monthly plans with rather outrageous differences.

      You pay a heck of a lot more (per month) for a heck of a lot less when doing 3 years as opposed to 2 years/month-to-month. E.g. I’m paying $39 and get 600 MB of data in my plan while a 3 year plan would be $55 minimum for 200 MB of data.

      It’s actually more worthwhile to buy a slightly used iPhone outright for around $500 and do a month-to-month plan (using the 2 year monthly pricing).

  • Carl Hall

    all in all, its a decent first step

  • nadimo

    I wonder if this means your allowed to cancel and keep your number and port it elsewhere or just allowed to cancel and lose your number.

  • me

    So let me play this out…

    Before: Phone retails for $600. $600 subsidy, charging you $0 on a 3 year contract.

    After: Phone retails for $600. $400 subsidy on a 2 year contract, leaving you with a $200 upfront fee. But carrier gives you an additional incentive of $200 in bill credits ($200/12) over 12 months if you stay on during year 3.

    Net effect: No change. Except that now you already paid out $200 upfront, instead of $0.

  • Tom

    “Have their phones unlocked after 90 days or immediately if they paid for a device in full.”

    This is the best part. Saves me a few bucks on unlock codes. I always swap SIMs when traveling out of the country (therefore I really don’t care how much they charge for roaming). If I’ve paid $500+ for the outright cost of my phone, I damn well want it unlocked for free.

    Still, in a few European and Asian countries it’s actually illegal to sell locked handsets… over there they realize that a SIM lock really doesn’t benefit the carrier! If you’re on a subsidized contract, unlocking your phone doesn’t magically end the contract – you still pay for the service, and you still pay a hefty fee if you wish to get out early. And while there can be some $$$ made from roaming fees, people these days are savvy enough to get unlock codes or just hunt for wifi hotspots, so you might as well forget about gouging on that.

    Even better than this would be to eliminate extra charges for call display and domestic long distance. The Big 3’s smaller subsidiaries (Fido/Virgin/Koodo) already did this, but for some reason the main brands are still charging $8 for call display and 40 cents a minute to call someone 150 km away…

    • ToniCipriani

      It doesn’t say it’s free though. It is allowed to charge a “rate specified by the provider”.

    • Tom

      Argh, knew there had to be a catch somewhere… I guess I’m still stuck with paying $$$ to cellunlocker.net (though the rates aren’t bad).

  • 34545345

    lol that 2 year cancel for free basically eliminates 3 year contracts. no one is going to stay the full 3 years. now we’ll see the phone prices on contract go up as a result, lets see how much people like that after december 2.

  • p_lindsay

    Whats with all the Robellus shills in here trying to make this seem like a bad thing? No doubt the subsidized price of phones will go up, but I sincerely doubt they would have the balls to raise the price of peoples plans. They really would start losing customers to Wind if they tried that crap.

    • ToniCipriani

      I see that as a good sign. Them hurting is good for us. *cues evil laugh*

    • p_lindsay

      Who cares? My rate plan hasn’t gone up, nor do I expect it to under the new system. This is a big step forward, and I’m not really sure why people like you seem to be suggesting it isn’t. We all know the Canadian big 3 are among the worst companies on the planet, and how they react to this has yet to be seen, but I think the CRTC has for once done something good and deserves to be applauded for it.

    • p_lindsay

      Dude, it’s a step in the right direction. And your hypothetical doomsday scenario is no better than my “who cares”.

      They won’t jack peoples rate plans, everyone would lose their mind if they even tried. The big 3 are going to take a bit of a hit on this, and thats a good thing.

  • mjolnirxz

    This is great news

  • Andrew Brown

    This is a complete and utter farce!! FU CRTC !! I didn’t expect the 3 yr contract to be done away with completely /S!!!! Yet I expected to be a forced option on the carriers of a mandatory 1 or 2 yr option if requested by the consumer!! And what happened to the suggested cancel at anytime in your contract and only having to pay a 50 dollar amount ?? And it all taking effect after May ??/ Why does this seem to not only favor the carrier / Big 3 once again ( no doubt up the price on plans and phones etc ) but it seems the focus is on the course pay period of the subsidized phone and pretend it’s to the consumer benefit as so we won’t have any debt to pay if we decide to leave after 2 yrs !! All the above is f*****g bullshit slap in the face !!! If I buy the god dam phone out right the phone should be unlock immediately ..if I have been with said company for a dogs age and tab /subsided a new phone or upgrade my package the phone should be unlocked asap due to me being a faith customer. New consumer should be 30 days not f*****g 90 days!! And again where is the 1 to 2 yr option >>> It’s bad enough Canada has the highest and worse cell phone plans on the planet !! Both cost wise and contract wise!! All this does is muddle it!! 2 yrs is more than half the term period!! Why is it not 1.5 yrs!! That would be half of the 3 yr term !!! Statically consumers have more issues in their 1st yr when with a provider when issue occur !!! So 1.5 should be ample enough time to be allowed to leave if not satisfied !! And f**k paying the phone out …do it like back in the late 90’s /early 2000’s you have to give the phone back !!! Why pay for a POS phone that even when unlocked apps won’t work with anther provider anyway !!! …Again FUCK THAT NOISE !!!

  • Steven Tremblay

    From what I saw during my recent visit in the U.S., the typical length of a contract was 24 months (which makes more sense to me than the typical 36 months you see here in Canada). The downside was the down payment for a phone was higher than what you would need here. For example, a Samsung Galaxy S 3 was $199 US (with a 24 month contract), whereas here in Canada, you can get the Galaxy S 3 for $49 CAD (with a 36 month contract). I imagine the same kind of thing will happen after Dec.2…

    • accord1999

      Minimum plans are also higher, $60 for AT&T, $80 for Sprint and Verizon.

  • Jason

    I’m reading most of these comments, i say most because everytime i refresh their are more and I’m trying to understand this new two-year contract thing.

    So if we are on a plan that’s 3yrs and want out after 2 we just pay the balance for the phone’s 30day/ prepaid pricing? Lets say a phone costs $450 dollars and on a 3yr term they give it to you for $25. would the divide the remaining 425 by 36months to get the price per month for the phone ($11.81). and your cancellation fee at two years would be $ ($11.81 x 24months =$283, $425 – $283= $142) ?

    Just trying to understand how to calculate the amount remaining on the cost of the phone..

    • p_lindsay

      Under the new system your device will be paid off after 2 years even if you sign a 3 year contract, which will most likely effectively eliminate 3 year contracts.

    • Jason

      Im not understanding the purpose of a 3yr contract, which is seems like there still might be, if your would be paid off just by being with the carrier for 2 years. Thats why i used the formula in my first post. either that or im guessing they will go the route of taking a % off for each month your with them based on your ARPU?

    • p_lindsay

      I think the formula from your first post is basically what they do now. My guess is we’re going to end up with basically the same system as the states, although I wouldn’t be surprised if our subsidized prices were higher; more like $249-$299 for 2 yr. for high end devices.

    • kroms

      Unless you PURCHASE Google’s Nexus 4, then you are CONTRACT Free and can decide for your self what plan you willing to pay for and have more of a SAY for your monthly plan with no STRINGS attached . The Carriers hate this as they have NO HOLDS on you , but it is EXACTLY what we need.

    • p_lindsay

      I agree. I got a GS3 on contract maybe a month before the Nexus 4 came out. I would have bought it in a heartbeat if it had been available when I needed a new phone. Unfortunately though, most people don’t even know that it exists, and even if everyone did know most people would still probably want something else.

  • Math Brisk

    So, in the end this means absolutely nothing new, at least for us in Quebec where all that had to be paid for early cancellation was the remainder of the subsidy. In fact by shrinking contracts down to 2 years that will mean the price of devices up front will be bumped up like crazy to reflect that. People are talking about increased monthly fees, I highly doubt that. We’ll most likely see the Galaxy S5 on a 2 years contract for 400$… while it will retail at 150$ in the USA on the same 2 years contract. Victory ?… not really At least it will clearly highlight how bad we get screwed

  • Ulysses

    Hey Folks, did you guys ever notice a small print regarding the 90 days phone unlocking policy?

    For the unlocking, it can be done after 90 days if you are under contract however the provider may charge for this unlocking…

    for subsidized devices: unlock the device, or give the customer the means to unlock the device, upon request, at the rate specified by the service provider, no later than 90 calendar days after the contract start date.

    for unsubsidized devices: unlock the device, or give the customer the means to unlock the device, at the rate specified by the service provider, upon request.

    +++

    I think these fine prints will definitely ripped us off because at the end of the day, people are still confused due to the big prints.

  • Aydreean

    bought the iphone 4 unlocked and every phone afterwards and have never signed a contact again. freedom may be costly but it’s worth it

    • Sweet

      Agreed. I haven’t had a contract since 2004 and I love it.

  • PT

    The CRTC = National Insults!

  • j river

    With the exception of data overage, roaming caps, two year terms and free loaner phones (without having to have extended warranty) . Nothing is really new there. All customers in Canada will see is more expensive devices and higher average bills to counter the loss of 3 year terms. But you do get a new phone sooner. Just probably the same equivalent price of renewing early with any carrier now anyway.
    The real benefit there is overage caps and no 30 days notice to cancel. Those are the wins for Canadians.

  • J. W.

    inb4 carriers make the excuse that the rule doesn’t apply to their tab-based plans, which happen to last for 3 years

  • kroms

    AND Again , those of YOU who purchased the BRAND NEW Phone because you just have the Latest and Greatest have gotten Screwed as you all will NOT be able to Leave after 2 yrs. FOLKS , when will you wake UP and realize it’s better to BUY your phone on Visa or MC or credit and go Month to Month then Sign your Soul over to the BIG 3.

  • kroms

    GOOGLE NEXUS 4 8 GB $299 Unlocked, No Contract. Works on ALL Carriers.
    GOOGLE NEXUS 4 16GB $349
    Now you don’t have ANY reason NOT to say you have NO Option !

    I have ALWAYS purchased Googles Phone and have been CONTRACT FREE and happy because of it !!!

  • Mik Pelletier-lacahpelle

    Most of these are already in affect here in quebec

  • Tony M

    I really don’t understand the big opposition to contracts. If I have a great plan and am planning on staying with the same provider, why not take advantage of a subsidized phone? The subsidized phone alone is worth $10-15 a month for 3 years depending on model.

  • Dragonballzpokemon

    This new CRTC code didn’t really bring anything new really. Most of the carriers right now(telus,bell,rogers) only bill you cancellation based on the balance left on your phone. Psychologicly 24 months is more friendly but at the end of the day its the same thing. Instead of paying at the beginning of the 24 months you will pay it at the end which I personally find worse cause I can keep my phones working for 4 years easily. On the other hand cancellation on same day is great, roaming caps even better and domestic caps as well. They say this only starts in December but I`m 1000% sure that carriers will start offering a lot more the 24 months option starting as of now, a change like that cannot be done overnight.

  • ystocks

    So will I know what the “true” subsidy of the device is or will it be whatever the MSRP is? For example, if a phone costs the subscriber $600, but the MSRP is $650, when the carrier sells the phone to me for $200 will that be considered a $400 subsidy or a $450 subsidy?

    Also, whatever the subsidy amount is, will it be shown on the monthly bill and how it is decreasing every month? For example, if it is a $400 subsidy, after the first month you get a bill showing that the remaining balance on the phone is $400 – $400/24 = $383.33?

    Finally, since the cancellation fee can never be greater than the remaining balance on the phone subsidy, does that mean I can even cancel a regular full 3yr contract with Rogers after just 6mos, as long as I just pay off the remaining balance and the $12.50 cancellation service fee? So if the phone subsidy is $400 and by the end of the six month it is reduced by $400/24 x 6 = $100 down to just $300, can I pay that $300 + $12.50 and be out of Rogers and just go elsewhere. They have to unlock my phone have 90 days too as it says in the Wireless Code so I should be able to do that, right?

  • ystocks

    You’re right now that I look at it the first question is way over-complicated. But I know the answer to that now which is for the subsidy calculation you need two numbers: how much you paid for the phone and how much the phone’s retail price really was. The Wireless Code says that the phone’s retail price is determined by the lower of the MSRP or the Price the Carrier is selling it at without a contract. So I suppose that’s fair. So if the MSRP is $750 and the carrier is selling with without a contract/plan outright for $700, then the price used to calculate is $700. And then if you actually paid just $200 for it, then your subsidy is $500.

    Anyway, on the second part though I think you would be able to cancel at any time as long as you pay off your remaining balance. Why shouldn’t I be able to cancel a 3yr contract without a cancellation fee (except the nominal $12.50) 6mos later if I pay off whatever the remaining subsidy balance is on my phone at that time?

    • Bryguy78

      I agree with what you are proposing on #2 but it took this much Governement intervention just to get what is going to be in place I can’t see them allowing people out that short into a contract without a fight. I’m pretty sick of the big 3 strangling us all into the limited choices we have to start with.

      I am following with interest this Verizon rurmor that has been making waves. My hope is that of it happens true big 3 will overhaul even more to try and keep subscribers.

  • Troclon

    Wow, these changes will be effetive december 2nd and existing contracts won’t be affected? On which side is CRTC ? WSP in Canada always make profits. This change would have been done 5 years ago.