What the CRTC’s ban on carrier unlocking fees means for Canadians

unlocking fees

Canada’s telecom watchdog delivered a major win to Canadian consumer advocates today when it announced that as of Dec. 1st, 2017, telecoms will no longer be able to carrier-lock phones or charge carrier unlocking fees.

It’s also a sign that Canada’s Liberal government is fulfilling some of the promises it’s been making about improved telecom legislation since October 2015.

That being said, it’s important to put the CRTC’s recent announcement into perspective, in order to figure out precisely where this ruling came from and what it could mean for Canada’s wireless future.

First, some context

It’s necessary to address two important numbers: $37.7 million CAD and approximately $7 billion.

The first figure is how much carriers earned in unlocking fees in 2016 and the second figure is roughly the total combined revenue for Rogers’ and Telus’s Q1 2017 and Bell’s Q4 2016.

That is to say, the total amount of money that all Canadian carriers generated from unlocking phones across the country is dwarfed by just one of the Big Three’s quarterly earnings.

“The cost to carriers for unlocking phones was tiny,” said Michael Geist, a privacy scholar and law professor at the University of Ottawa, in an email.

“Rather, the lock was used as a barrier to lock not just the phone but the consumer to carrier. It made it more difficult to leave and to roam with other carriers.”

What’s also interesting to note is that carrier unlocking fees have been on the rise for some time.

“The lock was used as a barrier to lock not just the phone but the consumer to carrier.”

Carriers charged an average of $30-per-unlock in 2015, and they raised that price to an industry average of $40-per-unlock in 2016.

In fact, these numbers are lower than the price that the Big Three Canadian telecoms currently charge: Rogers, Bell and Telus all charge a base price of $50. That number also increases depending on the specific circumstances of individual users.

Had the government not intervened, the average carrier unlocking fee would no doubt have continued to rise.

On the subject of the government, this recent announcement is clearly something that’s been in the pipeline for a while.

While speaking at the Canadian Telecom Summit, Bains made a point of stating that the CRTC was “looking at this issue” of carrier unlocking fees, and that the federal government would “closely monitor results of the CRTC review.”

Additionally, Jean-Pierre Blais himself, the outgoing CRTC chairman, even expressed regret that he wasn’t able to take direct action sooner.

“Frankly, that’s one case where I think my gut was telling me we probably should’ve forced unlocking,” said Blais, in an interview with the Financial Post. “It would’ve helped three years sooner, a more dynamic marketplace.”

What’s next for the marketplace of ideas — and wireless plans

OpenMedia’s Meghan Sali is optimistic about the prospect of that more dynamic marketplace, explaining that the new decision means Canadians can be more flexible with their wireless options.

The new decision effectively means that Canadians can now hop from carrier-to-carrier, chasing whatever deal meets their fancy. All while taking their phones with them, and not having to worry about unlocking their phones to meet the needs of petty carriers.

However, Sali did express the belief that there will no doubt be resistance on the part of wireless service providers.

“I think that every time they update the wireless code, we see some pushback from wireless providers,” said Sali, in a phone call. “There’s likely to be some whining about eliminating unlocking fees.”

That being said, Sali isn’t overly concerned with how members of Canada’s Big Three telecoms might respond.

Asked whether she believes that carriers might raise the cost of their rate plans, Sali said that wireless prices are on the rise anyway.

“Every time they update the wireless code, we see some pushback from wireless providers. There’s likely to be some whining about eliminating unlocking fees.”

Sali also emphasized that greater market diversity is essential to reducing the cost of wireless plans and wireless subscriptions.

“Having smaller providers in the market and now having the opportunity for people to pick up and leave if they don’t like the service they’re getting is hopefully going to increase that as well,” said Sali.

For his part, Geist believes that certain wireless prices might actually drop.

“Consumers will be better able to shop around,” said Geist. “We may also see roaming rates drop as consumers have the option of popping in a SIM from a foreign carrier when they travel outside the country. More options and choice for consumers is a good thing.”

Patricia Valladao, the CRTC’s manager of media relations, also clarified via email interview that while the new decision means that wireless subscribers can easily switch from carrier-to-carrier, “they will still have to pay any early cancellation fee set out in their contract if they choose to terminate their contract early.”

That being said, Valladao also expressed the belief that elimination of carrier unlocking fees should bring an end to certain costs associated with current locking practices, like “the maintenance of a database of unlock codes, staff resources, etc.”

“By empowering consumers to take advantage of competitive offers in their marketplace more easily and more frequently, wireless services are expected to respond with attractive offers to keep their customers or attract new ones,” said Valladao.

Home-grown mobile industries

In the wake of costly carrier unlocking fees, expensive handset costs, as well as warranty concerns, there’s an entire cottage industry that’s been built around providing the kinds of services that carriers don’t or that carries actively try to prevent.

Take, for instance, the work done by mobile repair shops across the country. Everyday, users drop, drunk, and damage their phones, causing harm that’s often possible to repair.

As Alexandre De Luca from Unlockr points out, however, carrier-locked devices often get in the way of businesses trying to provide an essential service to consumers.

“As for the repair shops, their daily life is hindered by the fact that they have to go through a long process with third parties to get their devices unlocked before being able to sell them,” said De Luca, in an email.

“Taking away this process will make their day easier and allow them to focus on selling what their customers wants.”

It’s not all good news for the mobile world’s cottage industries, however.

De Luca specified that third-party resellers will be negatively affected by the CRTC’s ban, because part of their profits came from customers “not willing to deal with the hassle of calling their carriers to get their phones unlocked.”

“With this process gone, it makes it a lot easier to steal phones and export them in other countries for outrageous prices.”

Additionally, De Luca points out that the new ban is great news for phone thieves.

“Before this change, customers who wanted their phones unlocked had to provide some security information to their carriers to get their phone unlocked,” said De Luca. “With this process gone, it makes it a lot easier to steal phones and export them in other countries for outrageous prices.”

Ultimately, however, De Luca is hesitant to suggest that CRTC ban is going to result in a kind of all-encompassing industry-wide improvement.

“The Big Three, as we all know, will still keep control of most of the market share in the mobility sector,” said De Luca.

Sophie Paluck, director of communications for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), briefly addressed the subject of phone theft in an email interview.

“We certainly hope this new development will not cause an increase in device theft and fraud,” said Paluck. “We will monitor the situation closely.”

Additionally, it’s important to mention that there are resources available that deter the precise kind of theft and fraud that De Luca referenced.

Websites like Device Check Canada — administered by the CWTA — allow individuals who purchase pre-owned phones to check a database of devices to determine if their news phones were stolen.

Once again, while the CRTC’s announcement is undoubtedly an incredible development in the Canadian wireless sphere, it’s essential to temper expectations while Canada’s telecoms prepare their countermoves.

Still, it’s difficult not get a little excited about the possibilities.

“While [Canadians] appreciate the Code, they told us loudly and clearly that it could be more effective. We have listened to them,” said CRTC chairman Blais in a media release.

“The changes and clarifications we are announcing today will give Canadians additional tools to make informed choices about their wireless services and take advantage of competitive offers in the marketplace.”

A moment to address the telecoms

So far, Canada’s wireless industry has been quiet on the issue. 

A Rogers spokesperson said that the company is currently reviewing the decision. Additionally, Freedom Mobile declined to comment, while a SaskTel spokesperson said that they would need time to put together a response.

Telus senior vice president of federal government and regulatory affairs Johanne Senécal said that the company is also “currently reviewing the CRTC’s Wireless Code decision.”

Senécal also noted that the company is analysing the impact that the new decision will have on the company’s systems and operations.

The new decision no doubt affects each company’s inventory, meaning that carriers will need to calculate how the decision affects their respective bottom lines.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, an industry body that has members including Rogers and Bell, said that it’s yet to fully review the decision, but added that it’s supported Canada’s wireless code since its inception.

MobileSyrup has also reached out for additional comment to the rest of the major Canadian carriers. This article will be updated once more information is available.

Update 16/06/17: Article updated to reflect Sophie Paluck’s comments on behalf of the CWTA, as well information about Device Check Canada.


  • Techguru86

    Screw the big 3, they have dominated the whole home market for decades.

    • It’s Me

      Yup. There’s a good reason out big 3 have never really ventured outside of Canada, unlike successful carriers from other countries that enter foreign markets around the world. They know they have it good here. They know they aren’t competent enough to do well outside of their protected nursery here.

    • Yami

      How many foreign companies operate in canada?
      You want some Chinese company that only sells crap phones? made of lead?

    • It’s Me

      Wind was foreign owned. Verizon wanted to come in. Rogers wireless started as an AT&T company and Rogers was only brought in because our foreign ownership rules required it.

      What was your point again?

    • Yami

      So after rogers adopts a new name and canadian branding its not good enough need more ?

    • It’s Me


      Honestly I have no idea what point you are trying to make.

    • Yami

      How many more strawmen arguments can you make guy with rogers avatar says rogers was foreign now its canadian so im a hipster and i dont like it.

    • It’s Me

      WTF are you talking about? Seriously, are you brain injured? Are you a chatbot? You honestly present like a chatbot with barely literate and nonsensical comments.

    • John Lofwire

      Man block the troll and stop wasting time.

    • It’s Me

      Feeling insecure again John?

  • ld

    How does this change wrt unlock fees affect the subsidizing of phones? Will carriers still be able to offer low cost or free handsets if the consumer can pack up next month and take the phone with them?

    • It’s Me

      Of course they can because the lock and the unlock fees were never, ever, related to the contract or subsidy. The contract covers the subsidy that binds you to your carrier for 2 years, if you so choose.

    • Yami

      Pick a different carrier then from the start.

    • It’s Me

      Why? What if I want to use two carriers? Or roam? Some retail clerk is really going to tell customers what they are allowed to do with their phones?

    • Yami

      All carriers offer roam and you can even switch network providers on android devices some regulations apply.

      Roam to the states is baked into some telus and bell plans and lets you take your data with you.

      You think im worth less than you for being retail?

    • It’s Me

      So what? Maybe I don’t want to roam.

    • Yami

      You just demanded the ability to roam are you just dense?

    • It’s Me

      Sorry, you’re right. I originally mean, what if I don’t want to roam? What if I want to use a foreign carrier with my phone?

    • Yami

      Are you moving the phone number over are you canceling you should not be allowed to do that on day 1 there should be a 90 day policy or you can use the carrier of your choice if it had an offer to be used in the country you want to visit.

    • It’s Me

      Sorry. I am trying to decipher that but the lack of any punctuation makes it impossible.

      I think I understand the problem now. Have a good night.

    • Yami

      If you ran a store that sold galaxy s8 for 1035 and that was it 1035 taxes and a case you would make profit a tiny bit though, if you ran a store that sold plans, and gave the phone away for 0 down with the promise the customer will stay for 2 years but could leave the next moment would you risk a grand per customer? banks even payday loans dont risk that.

    • It’s Me

      Actually banks risk that every single day. What keeps you from defaulting on the bank loan? Your contractual obligations. Exactly the same with phone subsidies under contract. Unless you use a special bank that restricts who you are allowed to do business with because you took a car loan. Because that’s all a lock is meant to do.

      Can you imagine Honda restricting their cars to only use Honda gas because they financed your car?

      Locks aren’t even remotely related to locks. That’s why carriers lock phones they sell at full price.

    • Yami

      If you take your new phone to another carrier i don’t get paid in fact they subtract twice the cost of the handset from my store budget and my commission is taken.

    • It’s Me

      Why would you not get paid? I’m still paying my bill to you. Me using my phone with another carriers has no relationship with whether you get paid. None.

    • Yami

      Customer activates a phone with me, say galaxy s8 0 down phone number 5553334545 ports the number to wind/freedom within 3 months, and never pays his bills with me, i dont get paid how much clearer do i need to be?

    • It’s Me

      Whether he pays his bills isn’t related to the lock. Never has been. Your employer may have managed to make you think that but it’s time to grow up and think for yourself.

    • Yami

      I can think that’s why i decide who i want to be signed to for a 2 year period and get the best deals i can rather than hippidy hop all over because im bad with money and commitment

      As for all retail cellular sales if you don’t pay your first 3 bills the rep does not get paid, you stole the phone and you stole the reps pay.

    • It’s Me

      What does that have to do with a lock? If they thief if going to steal the phone, you think a lock is going to stop him? Are you new to cell phone and/or new to retail? Seems like you must be.

    • Yami

      5 years retail cellular sales and counting well until dec 1st when ill have to find another job, you only think of yourself and not of the ppl who work in the industry its the same with all things you want more for less and dont care who you hurt.

    • It’s Me

      You’re the one asking for more. Asking for people to use their property in such a way that maximizes your commission. That’s just your greed talking.

      Think people will stop shopping on amazon in order to put some extra money in your hat? Won’t happen, put the hand down.

      If it means you move into a new career, that’s probably for the best. If you think locks are protecting your job then you clearly aren’t up to the job and you’re fooling yourself. That’s not healthy long term.

    • Yami

      More straw men “Maximize my commission” i don’t get one at all if you just leave within 3 months without paying its not maximizing its getting paid period.

      I don’t care if you buy the phone somewhere else and activate with me on mtm if i sell you a phone for 0 you have 90 days before you can unlock and 15 to return.

      Im up to the job government should not be forcing itself into free market its stifling competition and creativity.

    • It’s Me

      You honestly don’t understand what a strawman is do you?

      Why do you care if I buy a phone from you, you get paid but I use my property as I see fit on another carrier, while still paying your carrier? Why should that other you? Because that’s all a lock is mean to do, prevent me from using it elsewhere. That lock doesn’t mean you get paid. You’ve worked in cell retail long enough to understand that. If you’re still confused on the matter, probably beat that you find another job. Maybe go to school.

    • Yami

      If you stop paying your bill and take your phone to wind free of charge or lock i do not get paid. ive told you this how many times now and its the same across the industry.

    • It’s Me

      But then I have to pay back a huge subsidy all at once, why would I do that instead of just buying the phone outright?

    • Yami

      Then don’t come to a carrier store to get a phone go online and buy it from amazon or google or apple and leave me out of it.

    • It’s Me

      Ok. That’s what I’ll go. That’s what every Canadian should do.

      Would that increase or decrease your commission, do you think?

    • Yami

      I wont lose any you still have to get service mtm has no 90 day policy.

    • It’s Me

      But who’s to say they’d come to you? If they bought their phones on amazon or google, they can probably don’t need to visit a shady carrier store to signup for a phone plan.

      Think that gets you paid?

    • Yami

      So who is going to provide the sin credit evaluation and service ? phones work without any sims? i guess you can wifi call and use vibe?

    • It’s Me

      Maybe I’ll do this super new thing and call up the carrier or even use their website to do all of that.

      Like I said, someone buying on amazon or google could probably figure that out and avoid the shady cell store staff.

    • Yami

      But you said avoid shady carrier stores so who is going to sell you a sim card who is doing the credit check? you need photo id for that you need to be present.

      More and more you seem shady, i bet you walk into walmart or 7-11 and ask to buy sim cards and then steal accounts that other canadians own, i bet you call people and pretend to be the CRA and demand itunes cards.

    • It’s Me

      You shouldn’t need photo id for a sim. Can buy them online. Might need ID to activate a line but with no contract that can be done online too. You really don’t seem cut out for your job.

      As for the rest, maybe if your super retail job goes down the flusher, those are income sources you could look into.

      Or, you know, go to school and get a real f’n job where you aren’t online begging for commission.

      And yes I said shady. I’ve never been in a cell store where the clerks don’t seem super shady. Sleazy. But then again, they work for sleazy companies so I guess it makes sense.

      Have a great night.

    • Yami

      Guy with rogers logo, how about you think that maybe i help people , i find the right plan carrier and phone, i go over the usage of the phone i transfer files and i service the phone when something goes wrong.

      Am i not to be paid for the work i put in? the 90 day rule protects my income, im not begging im stating a concern with the so called regulatory agency.

      I can only see one outcome koodo and wind continue as are and the rest only offer service for byod or outright sales. subsidy wont be risked on things like an s8.

      3rd party dealers will close shop.

    • whatever

      So then the carrier should change it’s commission policy.
      And the fact that a small percentage of fraud happen mean this unlocking policy is bad??? The policy is sound and will let me take advantage of loyalty discounts that I have accrued over the years of being with a carrier. Get my wife a new phone, unlock so she can use it on her carrier. Enough whining about it’s going to effect you. Guess what all fraud effects all of us You do your best to stop it. It happened to me once every so often when I ran a store.
      And being paid for your time?? Again. Work at a carrier store then. Base pay is always higher than a dealer or 3rd party

    • John Lofwire

      I told you block the apple troll dont waste your time with him.

  • Nundo

    The CRTC should not be praised here like they have done something for us customers because they haven’t. If going from 3 years to 2 years taught us something is that prices WILL increase. So instead of buying an unlock phone for let’s say $999.99 you’ll probably be paying $1049.99 before taxes. Where carriers lose, there will be other areas where carriers win. The CRTC’s rulings always have loopholes.

    • It’s Me

      It’s definitely a good thing for consumers, as were the WCOC and 2 year terms. That doesn’t mean the carriers won’t abuse any loopholes, because they will. But with or without these changes they’d still be gouging you. Silly to think otherwise.

      Would you rather have the same high rates and more increases with the old rules or under the new rules?

    • Salinger

      Of course the CRTC should be praised for this. Essentially what you’re saying is, there should be no pro-consumer regulations on wireless carriers out of fear of retaliation of the Big 3. The CRTC under Blais has been incredibly pro-consumer, and yes, the Telecoms have found ways to twist that to their advantage. But I believe we’re coming to the breaking point.

      The CRTC is now publicly musing on ways to reign in our sky-high pricing. Everything from opening up infrastructure to MVNO’s to actually regulating pricing. If the telecoms continue to contort consumer friendly regulations to their own advantage, I think they’re soon going to see a regulatory backlash that will have them regretting they pushed it too far.

    • Nundo

      Don’t twist words around. The CRTC’s job is to regulate telecommunications companies but they mask it as “Our intentions are to help the consumers” but it’s really not. The CRTC regulate because as carriers continue to increase costs for profits, they want a piece of the pie. The WCOC is a mess, filled with loopholes and as time goes by they are patching the holes where carriers are getting through.

    • Salinger

      I’m not twisting words. I’m stating facts.

    • John Lofwire

      So basically you say CRTC should force current network owner to give at a ridiculous price access to thats network to outside business?

      Thats a pretty moronic way of thinking.

      IF CRTC Want to help they need to put billion themselve into making a new coast to coast network and give access to outside carrier that new network.

      Current network owner spent billions over billions building thats network and thats count for something.

      What you say is like hey you have a big house to i make law thats you must let ppl use your house for cheap wtf man.

    • ToniCipriani ✓pǝᴉɟᴉɹǝʌ

      Were you one of those dipsh1ts that was in that stupid “Fair For Canada” commercial? You just sound exactly like them.

    • John Lofwire

      First i would use a better language this do not support your comment and make you look like what you just called me.

      I am all for new wireless carrier if they build up there own network i am even for having the governement help them financially to build it.(With no interest loan)

      I just dont beleive someone should get a free ride whitout making the effort to build a network.

      So grow up.

    • Nundo

      This is why I love these forums, you have people who understand and people who don’t. I basically stated that the CRTC is getting praised on a decision that eventually will make us the customers pay MORE in the near future. They are NOT heroes and should NOT be praised. People do not understand that where there are areas where the customer will save, there will be areas where the customer will pay more to make up for the loss. The WCOC has so much flaws on purpose. The CRTC wants equality with carriers so the CRTC earns equally and regulates equally. If that means the costumers pay more that’s fine, as long as they all charge equally. Who ever started talking about networks, network access AND CRTC management beats me. Two people here made two non related comments that have NOTHING to do with my original comment. It’s funny lol

    • Salinger

      Glad you got a laugh, but I understood exactly what you said. Perhaps you had some trouble understanding what I said?

      The CRTC made a pro-consumer legislation; the elimination of phone locking. However you want to twist it, that is what it is… a PRO consumer decision. You seem to be saying that the carriers will find a way to make the consumers pay for this, as they did with another PRO consumer decision, the elimination of 3 year contracts. What I replied to you is completely valid. You seem to be saying that the CRTC should not make any decisions that go against the carriers, because in the end, they’ll find a way to twist it to their advantage and make consumers pay more. If that’s not what you’re saying, then you haven’t explained your position very well because that is clearly how it comes across.

      As for my add-on of talking about MVNO’s, that was merely a talking point about the carriers taking their greed a step too far. Sorry if the link between the two points wasn’t clear enough for you.

      Also, you keep mentioning the CRTC getting paid, and receiving “a piece of the pie”. Care to expand on that?

    • Salinger

      “First i would use a better language this do not support your comment and make you look like what you just called me.”

      In the same way you called me “moronic”?

      The current oligopoly was gifted tons of spectrum and given massive incentives and tax breaks to build their networks. As well, they’ve been the recipients of some of the most protectionist legislation in the world. This is why we have the, or close to the, highest wireless rates in the world, some of the most restrictive data caps in the world, and our “Big 3” have some of the highest profit margins in the world of wireless carriers.

      Much of the success and ability to build these networks has come thanks in large part to government legislation and protection. So, it’s entirely reasonable to use legislation for the benefit of consumers. There’s a reason why there’s not Rogers USA, or Bell UK; they simply can’t compete in a competitive marketplace, only here where they’re coddled and protected.

      Why is there such a vast and healthy MVNO network in the rest of the world? They don’t sell at “ridiculous” rates, but they also don’t make the ridiculous profits that the Big 3 do by flatly refusing to offer excess bandwidth at reasonable wholesale prices. You can go to the US and get on Verizon’s, AT&T’s or Sprint’s network for a fraction of what they charge thanks to their sale of bandwidth to MVNO’s.

      I’m curious, do you have any affiliation with one of the major carriers? Your talking points are almost ver batim from their playbook.

  • Ricky Bobby

    “With this process gone, it makes it a lot
    easier to steal phones and export them in other countries for outrageous

    Hold up, time out. Since when did our blacklist stretch to Asia and Europe?

    • It’s Me

      That was always the intent. The blacklist, more properly knows as the C/EIR or IMEI Database, is an international list maintained by the international GSM org. An participating carrier can upload to the list and/or download the list. But it is up to each participating carrier to decide whether the do either.

      As an example, for years before the national blacklist was rolled out, Rogers was a subscriber to the C/EIR but only for phones that were stolen from their stores and warehouses. So those units were unusable in many countries around the world. For phones stolen from customers, they said too damn bad.

    • whatever

      This didn’t stop people from doing when they had the lock on. Even dealers got into doing this

  • Zee

    No more tiered/tab plans from Virgin, Fido, Koodo., Freedom. I think there will be two categories- 1. month-to-month will stay where they are. 2. And if you sign a two year contract, you get a lower price guarantee. (Something similar to Shaw 150 internet promo these days). If you leave before 2 years, you pay a penalty.

    • Yami

      Koodo does not have a tierd plan they do a tab you decide how much you pay up front day 1 and how much you subsidize into the plan.

  • The more I look into this the more I think consumers need to shop smarter. It is great we have protection but there is only so much they can do before it just becomes impossible. If more people bought phones outright and didn’t keep switching and upgrading to new plans, plans would be cheaper. They would have to entice us to upgrade or switch carriers somehow. The only reason prices continue to go up and they find more fees to add on is because we allow it.

    I buy phones outright and I cannot complain about my bill but consumers need to think more long term when shopping. The CTRC just got rid of this fee but next year phones will be higher in price or plans more in price or something else to keep revenue on the incline.

    We need to actually start using our money as leverage and stop waiting for something or someone to come and save us.

    • It’s Me

      That’s the beauty of a cartel that coordinates to keep prices high…it doesn’t matter what you do. Every Canadian could stop upgrading for the next 5 years and it wouldn’t bring rates down. In fact rates would likely go up in order to make up for the lower handset revenue.

      One thing that might reduce rates, without intervention, would be if we all canceled our services for a couple years. Seems unlikely to happen. Short of that, if everyone switched in the same week to one carrier, say Telus, then Bell and Rogers would be forced to react. Seems unlikely too.

      It really doesn’t make sense to blame consumers for the behaviour of an entrenched cartel that work together to keep rates high.

    • They only got that power because of consumers. If people can coordinate a flash mob with strangers, we should be able to make better buying decisions for long term gain. I am not saying we have to go back to living in mud huts but the country’s population isn’t grow yet the churn and new customers at these companies keeps growing. So not only are people not sticking with what they have, they are getting 2nd and third lines. They as a business know this and are taking advantage, we don’t have to let them.

    • It’s Me

      What? No they got that because we took existing telco/cableco monopolies and gifted them new monopolies/duopolies. Consumers absolutely did not give it to them. Our government did.

    • we continue to push their revenues with our purchasing habits. They aren’t making us upgrade or stealing from our bank accounts. We choose that. They have the market cornered but we could flip the script if we made smarter buying choices. It’s like in the credit card world, they call a dead beat someone who pays their card ON TIME and doesn’t make them interest, so they do what they can to make you spend more to a point that you can’t pay back, increased lending. Similar trap with teleco but it isn’t 100% their fault, we keep choosing to pay more and wait for someone else to make it right.

    • It’s Me

      What smarter choices? Going without cell services doesn’t seem likely. And that’s they only thing that will hit their wallets, if evenyone cancelled their lines. Nothing else has any potential to change their behaviour.

      How else are you going to choose to pay less other than reducing your services? And if everyone did reduce then they’d just jack up rates to compensate.

      Only thing that could work would be everyone cancelling. Not ever going to happen.

    • Keeping the current plan. If you keep a plan and profits aren’t increased they have to find new ways to make profit, they would have to focus not only on retention but also acquiring new customers through aggressive promotions (like they used to before the smartphone craze). I mentioned to someone below, $100 a month over your 2 year term is $2400. You can get any phone you want with that outright and keep your existing price plan. If everyone or just more people did that, they wouldn’t be able to consistently push the envelop on pricing.

      The only argument we really have is that we either don’t know what we are doing with our money so we spend it badly or we have so much of it that the prices aren’t really too much to afford, we just like to complain. My money is on the former but no one will ever admit it.

    • It’s Me

      Keeping your current plan won’t work either. If every canadIan consumer did exactly that, two things would happen. First, the carriers would simply say those plans don’t qualify for subsidy any more. And that’s fine. People have to take responsibility for not buying on contract. And once everyone that kept their plan is no longer on contract and no longer has a tab, part two quickly happens. The carriers simply raise your rates unilaterally. There is nothing stopping them from doing that except the contract and the associated tab owing. Once you’re all out of contract, no reason that keeps them from just doubling your rates and doing it all across all of them at the same time.

      Sorry no, that idea won’t work either. Not even close. Everyone moving to one of the remaining independent carriers might help but not everyone can get by with such restricted service. That’s the one change consumers can make that might actually help but unless millions and millions did it all at once, the incumbents would just raise rates on existing customers to compensate and Winds network would crumble and the users would be forced back into even higher rates.

      Again, given the absolute market power the cartel has, consumers have no leverage. You seem to think it’s a normal market, balanced by supply and demand. It absolutely is not. That’s the effect of a monopoly or cartel that closely coordinates.

    • Yami

      Ok no subsidy pay 3 months advance fee and full retail for your device.
      How many of you would be able to get a galaxy s8 that way?

    • It’s Me

      Those with decent jobs would be able to pay out right. I buy all my phones outright. That doesn’t mean I agree with a nonsensical lock for anyone else.

      Why would anyone prepay for 3 months of services? So you can make commission?

    • Yami

      Pay outright no warranty on lost or stolen and broken.
      Get on contract pay 30 dollars in your rate towards the phone cost pay 11 to warranty so your covered if you have a drop or theft.

      Pay 3 months to cover the profit margin.

    • It’s Me

      Actually when I pay outright my card gives me double the warranty and covers theft and damage for period of time.

      Why would anyone pay 3 month to cover the profit margin? Do you prepay your rent for a year so your landlord get paid a full year, just in case you move? He deserves to get paid whether you stay or not, right? And while you live with him, your not allowed to stay at your girlfriends place, even if you keep paying him, because he doesn’t want to risk you moving out. That makes as much sense as your silly arguments.

    • Yami

      If you move out early the landlord charges you for each month in your lease at least in wireless its the tab.

    • It’s Me

      Exactly. It’s the tab. Duh. You finally get it.

      So you wouldn’t also accept that your landlord should chain you to the door, because it’s the contract that keeps you paying. Or would you accept the landlord deciding when you can come and go?

    • Yami

      If someone bought a phone from me on a 2 year and transfered the number to wind without paying the tab and 3 months service 90 days id not be paid.

    • It’s Me

      So he’s a thief. Do you think a lock stops thieves? Since a lock doesn’t stop thieves, what’s the point of punishing the rest of the customers that aren’t thieves with a lock that doesn’t stop thieves?

      Some people skip out on their apartment leases too. Should your landlord chain you to the bed to prevent you from skipping out? Would that make sense?

      Someone that’s going to go through all of of that, including not paying their debt probably knows how to use an unlock services. You don’t really work with cell phones do you? You’d know all of this if you did.

    • Yami

      For starters unlock and 3rd party repairs should be shut down.
      And un-blacklisting should be illegal.

      Secondly right now we might have 12% fraud as non payment but if the gov gets away with this dec 1st policy i expect to see that number go up as people are emboldened and think its ok to commit fraud if the gov is ok with it.

      The gov should just make more sask tels for each province if it really wants to help canadians.

    • It’s Me

      The lock doesn’t stop fraud. Why would the absence of a lock make anyone now think fraud is ok?

      You’re allowed to walk down the street. Should we put you in jail because you might someone think walking down the street means your allowed to steal cars? That’s not sound reasoning.

    • Yami

      The warranty you have with rogers/asurion wont be offered on outright sales and rogers no longer sets up new warranty outside of a new activation or hup.

    • It’s Me

      Why would I want Rogers/asurion crappy warranty? I get better with my card.

    • Yami

      Explain card rogers logo

    • It’s Me

      Card. Credit card. Buy phone on credit card, get free extended warranty and loss/damage/theft protection. Pay off credit card the same day.

      You work in retail?

    • Yami

      Never had a credit card, always thought they caused alot more problems.

    • It’s Me

      For some people they sure can. So can cell contracts.

    • Yami

      If your a 6 or so year subscriber to telus and ive seen ppl nearly at 20 years and you dont think you would ever switch then whats so bad about paying the device tab before you switch?

    • John Lofwire

      Stop wasting your time with the Rogers apple troll..

      Telus if you buy a phone full price and take a monthly plan they offer inssurance at 7$ a months ( 9$ a month for iphone )

      IF rogers ask you to get an agreement to get insurance they are bigger crook than the other 2 of the big 3 mafia..

    • Yami

      So what about bell and the crtc change to bell TV app can I end my bell contract free?

    • That is speculation. The way things are now is more in line with what you think would happen with content customers. Back when people were more content and didn’t hop around for discounts, they did have cheaper plans and tried to lure more fees with features. Texting was considered premium and was $15 to $20 a month extra for something that cost them nothing to give to us. They didn’t change prices, hell Bell even honors Solo accounts and won’t let you upgrade but keeps the lines active at their current rates.

      People being smarter with their money would do only make them fear price increases because another carrier can create a promo and steal all their business away, and since everyone would be out of contract, it would be seamless.

      I understand what you think might happen but from a business point that would be too risky. To trust your competitor to not kick you when your down is like trusting a dingo with a baby.

    • John Lofwire

      Or CRTC have to remove right from carrier to put a contract/service agreement and even stop them from offering tab based agreement as well.

      Thats way no choice but to buy full price and phone OEM wont have choice to offer instalment payment if they want to sell the device to more ppl.

      Thats the only way i think its possible to make it work in Canada,.

    • There are many more ways but that is again taking responsibility from the consumer and giving it to other parties. This is why we pay so much. Money is power and convenience cost money. If you cannot save money to buy something you get a loan, a loan carries interest. Same rules apply here. If you cannot buy a phone outright you are basically going on a super high rent to own plan with the carriers.

      The best option would be for people to either stay within their means or buy phones outright and then services would be cheaper because the only sell factor a carrier would have over another is service. Similar to how it is in Europe, people buy service from carriers and mostly get phones outright.

    • Yeria

      You’re basically saying consumers collectively have to lower demand because Robellus is keeping supply low – because they’re keeping prices high – artificially. That will NEVER going to happen in a – supposedly – free economy like our own.

      In a functioning economy, such high demands will spurn more competitions to pop up. Except in this one, barriers of entry is so high, additional suppliers cannot appear. Only way to help consumers in this situation, without doing outright price control, is to try and lower barriers of entry. Banning locked phones is one way – albeit a small and almost negligible way – to try to lower that barrier.

    • Waiting for “someone” to fix it is a lazy solution. The demand is real and the fact that smartphones and data usage continues to grow year over year shows that. Entry into the field isn’t high because of the big 3, it is just high. The networks we are now used to cost a lot of money to build, than add in phones, marketing, real estate and employees and you have why no one wants to really enter the market.

      I understand why people hate the big 3 but if you scream prices are too high and then they keep making record profit from people paying more than they claim they can afford, what should they think? They are doing what businesses do, we should be doing what consumers used to do and shop smart. Think long term and not “I have to get the latest iPhone because I always get the S models”

    • Yeria

      I’m not suggesting you should “lazily” wait for a solution. I’m just saying what you’re suggesting is never going to happen. It’s hard to get 2 people agree on one thing – you and me, for example. How on earth are you going to get 32 million people to do the same?

      There are other ways to help solve the issue. Instead of “lazily” telling everyone else to do what you think is right, send letters to your MP to open up foreign investment to add more competition.

    • More competition came and left because despite people “agreeing” we pay too much, they all went with the ones charging “too much”. Outside investors must assume we have Stockholm syndrome because we cry about one thing and do another.

      If ” everyone” claims we pay too much than why can’t everyone take action instead of waiting for a solution? Writing letters can only get you so far before you need to do the work yourself.

      An example of our insanity. You hire someone to cut your lawn. You tell them how you like it cut and they mess it up. You complain and they offer a discount to cut it again and again mess it up. You may file a complaint and they send another worker who again messes it up. What’s the next logically solution? Write a letter to the BBB to complain that they won’t cut your lawn to your demands or do it yourself?

    • Yeria

      Competition came and left because regulations were making it difficult for them to easily expand and invest. Everyone IS complaining we are paying too much. The reason most people stuck with the big 3 isn’t because they have Stockholm syndrome, but because the big 3 can offer stable data speed and signal compared to new competitions. Wind took 5 years to roll out stable enough networks, and even that was just for city cores. To most people, it was either pay $100 to get service that works, or $50 to pay for service that doesn’t work.

      When it comes to cellphone market, it’s not as clear cut – no pun intended – as your lawn mowing service market. There are social aspects involved, barrier of entry is super high, and existing player is very formidable. You’re really comparing apples and oranges here.

      Also your suggestion of everyone giving up on buying phones wouldn’t be like mowing the lawn. It would be more like giving up and choosing not to mow the lawn at all.

    • Yeria

      I don’t know what happened to my earlier reply, but here it is again. Perhaps I’ll take this opportunity to simplify things for you since you seem to be missing my point.

      – My point: Your suggestion of asking 32 Million people to collectively lower demand is impossible.

      1. Your solution is fundamentally impossible to execute. I agree if it really happens, it will help with solving the price issue. It just won’t happen.

      2. Regulations is not waiting for someone to fix a problem lazily. That’s how we deal with issues in developed countries like ours. In fact, telling other people to do what you think is right on a site like this is lazier. Send a letter to your MPs so they could come up with better solutions to tackle this issue.

      3. Your post is full of Straw man fallacies. Please stop saying things I never claimed and pretend to prove your point.

    • Just like you I am stating why there isn’t going to be any help that is realistic. This isn’t really something that is needed. This rings true with those first world problem memes you see.

      The government can and will step in when food, shelter or clothing yes. Smartphone plans, Not so likely. Don’t mistake the coverage and interest for anything other than your vote. You won’t die without a smartphone so where is the need for such serious action?

      I know this is a straw man argument to you but This whole topic is plucking at straws to begin with.

    • Yeria

      So I guess you’re the kind of person who just gives up on things that are not essential to survival? Nothing will trouble you then, since food and water is cheap and readily available in Canada. You can live in the wilderness and become a priest. How’s the view from your high horse over there?

      It’s easy for you to say – easy enough to give it up at least – give up on phones. There are people out there who find phones to be so important, they line up for hours on launch days. It IS easier to work with the politicians.

      Everyone knows politicians will work only for your vote. No one’s confused about it. That’s the whole point of voicing your concerns to your MPs. They need to realize we care about this market and we want it to be better for us.

      Clearly, we need to do more than just complain the prices are too high though. We can make one voice to ask the government to knock down barriers of foreign investment. We can ask them to ban cellphone subsidy to lower artificial demands. We can ask them to force MVNOs on the big 3. There are things you can do. Join the activist groups. Make monthly donations to groups like Open Media.

      Not worth your time or money? Well, then you don’t care about improving the system enough, and you really have no right to tell other passionate people to stop buying phones.

    • Typical. You don’t see the answer you want so you assume I said give up. I buy my phones outright with the money I save on monthly bills. I get a plan of $50 a month for 6 gigs and all the new phones without breaking the bank. I know, I am the impossible but when you really want something, you can do this thing I like to call brainstorming and come up with ideas within your power to make it happen. Writing the liberals didn’t get me my Keyone, my savings did.


    • Yeria

      Right. Your reasoning for giving up expensive phone plans is because it’s not essential as food and water. Oh, but you won’t give up other non-essential things? Sorry for the assumption. I didn’t think you would have double standard for yourself.

      I don’t really care what kind of plan you have and how little you’ve spent to get it. Just because you can do that, that doesn’t mean everyone else can. That’s just ignorant. In fact, if everyone else actually does do what you do, you won’t get the “impossible” deal you’re talking about no matter how hard you “work”. You should really be thanking those people you claim that are not “brainstorming” for letting you get that deal.

      Where I work pays for both the device AND the plan so I pay $0 for 10GB data and unlimited US calling. Why don’t you get a job that pays for your cell plan? You won’t have to waste time brainstorming to spend $50 a month.

      Finally, I didn’t elect Liberal MP in your riding, so don’t blame me for what they didn’t do. If you so wish, send a letter to a Conservative MP.

    • Not sure what your point is here. If it is not affordable to get a new plan for a new phone, do you really need the new phone? There are situations where you would but there are affordable phones that can be bought outright. And that is if you phone is absolutely not usable. Why should things be made easier for those that want the latest phone when they want it again?

      I think you have been brainwashed to think customers is really king, we aren’t. That is something to say to make us feel nice when they take our money. And thank you for sharing the privileges you get from work, must be nice. Also, I mentioned a letter to Liberals because they are the elected power.

      I am not sure what Canadians want to hear when it comes to this subject but if time hasn’t proved that we can’t rely on government for this matter, maybe nothing will.

      I won’t go back and forth anymore because clearly saving money is impossible and my views on holding on to what you have is witchcraft. I will end by saying, no matter what it is in life, you get what you pay for. Even the latest and greatest toys come at a cost. Banking on someone to help you with your expensive issues without anything from your end and not extra incentive for them seems like witchcraft to me but that is just me.

    • Yeria

      My point is – and has been all along – that people in general will not do what you’re doing. Good for you for being a responsible consumer for yourself. If the world was full of people like you, no one would have debt, no one would spend money on needless stuff. Everyone would be living in a one bedroom house and we wouldn’t have a housing crisis.

      You can always try to convince the other 33 million Canadians to not buy the phones they couldn’t afford. I’m saying you won’t be successful.

    • That isn’t the business or governments fault. They can’t control your spending. I guess I grew up a bit different, which is why we have such a disconnect. I was raised to take responsibility for my own actions. If I spent all my money it was gone, if I couldn’t afford something I would either work towards it or leave it.

      I don’t want to convince people to do something they should be actively doing as responsible adults. I just want to highlight how foolish it looks to be crying out that you have no self control. It’s like the war on drugs. Dealers get the blame while junkies are the ones creating the demand. If we got rid of the big 3 another would take their place because the demand is there and the people aren’t disciplined enough to avoid otherwise.

    • Yeria

      Did you just compare buying new phones to drug addiction? Wow. I can’t even begin to tell you how wrong that is on so many level, but I won’t, because it would be way off topic.

      Did I also say anything is the business or the government’s fault? There’s no one at fault here, technically. It’s just involving the government is the most logical and fair solution for everyone involved.

      It’s hard to believe you were merely “highlighting” how foolish people are for not having self control. Your solution to lower price is lowering demand by stop buying phones. How’s that just merely “highlighting”?

    • If there is no fault why is a solution needed? You don’t need solutions for non-issues unless you are nit picking. From the outrage seen, this isn’t seen as a nit pick, it is seen as an issue and that means there is a party at fault. I won’t go back and forth with you about who is at fault but I want you to understand that in this issue there is a party at fault.

      I hope we can at least see eye to eye on that.

    • Yeria

      I guess you could say the government is at fault, because they’re one of the major causes of the whole debacle.

  • Yami

    This move by the So Called CRTC essentially fires all retail employees who sell phones nationwide.

    Customers must pay for 3 months of service or you have your pay taken back.

    If customers buy a phone from one of the big three and jump to wind Ruin their credit and the rep who sold them the phone.

    As an employee in wireless in canada i fear for my family for my livelyhood and where my next rent payment will come from, i could lose my job over this move and if not i will lose my apt.

    • It’s Me

      So because your employer has given you a crap deal on your commission policies, that’s the CRTCs fault? Maybe look for better job instead of blaming others for your employment problems.

    • Yami

      Its like this for everyone in wireless guy who uses rogers logo has no idea what retail cellular is like.

    • It’s Me

      Great. Maybe you should all get together and demand a better commission policy or move to a new career. Retail jobs are never, ever the most secure jobs. Blaming others for having employment crap deal makes no sense.

      Now, about the cost of punctuation. Maybe ask for commission in punctuation.

    • Yami

      ….. . . .; ; [ ,[ [ ;. . is this enough?

    • It’s Me

      That’s great. Now, do you have anyone near by to show you how to use them?

      But be careful, once you start using them, you might find them addictive. Literacy can be a curse.

    • whatever

      Retail does depend upon new activations and renewals. My suggestion is that is you pay is solely based on that and not a good 50/50 split to you base then you need to think about leaving that dealer you work for. I have heard of horror stories about some of them where they didn’t pay people their regular wages, pocketed anyanufscture incentives for themselves. Personally, that is why I always worked for the carrier. Things change, comp plans change. If you can’t make a living doing what you do, then move on

    • John Lofwire

      Well personally i am paid by hours ( generously ) as well as per activation and renewall and finally i am also paid 2% of what all the lines i activated/renewed bring to the carrier.

      So its very generous.
      But yes i worked for another carrier before and the dealer i was working with was really greedy..

    • Andrew Holt

      So there is 2% of our bills that could be reduced by. Why should I be paying you 2%? When I go to the carrier store, I already know what phone and plan I am going to get because I did all the research myself. I suspect most people also log into the carrier website before heading to the store to see what they would want. At the carrier store, you can spare me the sales pitch and just get me what I asked for and ring me up. Doesn’t warrant 2% of my service fees to do that IMO. The cashier at the grocery store isn’t pocketing 2% of my purchase for doing basically the same thing. The whole cell phone industry is a cartel.

    • John Lofwire

      Well I work at a business to business level and not in a store so you cannot take this as the standard for all the industry.

      At business level the phone are delivered right at your doorstep.
      We help the client setup the device for all is business need.
      We also include free training and support at the client office.
      Finally the client has a dedicated representative thats help on all level from having a billing problem fix to get you the credit and also follow up every 6 months with full billing review to adjust plans based on need.

      So even if we remove the business part would all this extra service warrant 2% i beleive so.

      Not every client is techy like the one posting on forum like this.

    • John Lofwire

      the guy who use the roger logo have no clue about anything
      he is just a troll ( precisely an apple troll )

    • Brad Fortin

      You must work for a terrible employer if your paycheque depends on activation commissions.

    • Yami

      Hours 2 but its not always enough and if enough returns id lose more than my hours give.
      its like this for all in the industry.

    • Brad Fortin

      Not the store I work for. Again, you just work for a terrible employer if that’s the situation. You should seek a better employer, even if it’s just at a different store, or re-negotiate your wages.

    • Yami

      We all can’t work for bestbuy sry.

    • soosterhoff

      Then start applying to other jobs now ya dingbat

    • Yami

      Why so you can regulate that industry and fire all the ppl ? how about no you communist.

    • Brad Fortin

      I don’t work for Best Buy, or any big chain.

    • John Lofwire

      dont waste your time with the troll 🙂
      He will never agree with you and always find excuses to say otherwise.

      I work in the industry and i agree with you.

    • Stuntman06

      I don’t understand why I should go to a carrier to buy a phone. I don’t have to go to a TV service provider to buy a TV. I buy it at an electronics store that is independent of any TV service provider and I can hook the TV up to any service provider I want. If I switch providers, I don’t have to pay the first provider some outrageous fee just so the TV can work with another TV service provider. If an electronics store sells me a TV and I switch TV providers less than 3 months, the guy who sold the TV to me shouldn’t get his pay taken away.

      I think I should be able to buy a phone the same way. Just go to an electronics store and buy the phone. Then I can go to any carrier in the world and use it. If I want to switch carriers, I should be able to do so at my leisure for whatever reason. If I find that service is not to my liking (all carriers have different dead spots) and switch, I shouldn’t have to be guilt tripped to stick with crappy service for 3 months because the sales person may be docked some pay.

      I think it is just wrong that in the past, if I want a certain phone, there are only certain carriers I can use unless I jump through hoops and/or pay an extra fee. That is why the last phone I bought, I didn’t buy it through any carrier. If carriers make things difficult for me to use any number of carriers I want like with this locking of phones, they’re not getting my phone purchase business anyway.

    • Yami

      They all share towers dead spaces are few and far between now

      I am an electronic store and if you skip out on your bill which I fear more ppl will do now I don’t get paid.

    • John Lofwire

      I do mostly agree with you but you fail at one point.

      Any phone available in canada on any carrier can also be purchased full price directly from the manufacturer.

      Want thats HTC11? buy it from HTC full price no need to switch carrier.

    • Stuntman06

      Last time I bought a phone from a carrier and paid full price, it was still locked. Had to pay more to get it unlocked.

    • John Lofwire

      I know my english is not perfect but i clearly stated buy it from the manufacturer not the carrier.

    • Stuntman06

      Sorry. Missed that. My last phone, I decided to bypass the carriers and buy directly from the manufacturer.

      Too bad, there aren’t very many physical stores in Canada where I can just walk into the store and walk out with a phone direct from the manufacturer. Most are carrier models.

    • Mister_Sausage

      Just because phones are unlocked doesn’t mean there aren’t still contracts. Consumers are still obligated to fulfill their 2 year agreement or pay the cancellation fee (which would be very high in the first few months). If they cancel in the first 15 days, they have to return the device.

    • John Lofwire

      Most carrier policy regarding comission on a phone sold on contract is thats if the client cancel in next following 6 months you loose all your comissions.

      Also they are often paid a residual ( 2% of the spending by the client ) and again thats gonna be lost.

      Personally i mostly work with medium sizes business with 20 and more device so they are still allowed 3 years contract and dont fall in the same rules as smaller clients so i wont be affected much.

      But rep selling to smaller business or consumers will be hit hard.

  • fruvous

    Hellloooo higher monthly rates.

    • Yami

      I honestly dont see the carriers raising rates, outside of inflation they would simply change how subsidy worked and may cut it out entirely you would buy the phone and service on mtm basis and pay full retail, that price you can yell at samsung and apple for though.

    • fruvous

      They got to make up that lost revenue from unlock fees somehow.

    • John Lofwire

      Yep by increasing MSRP price of device.

    • N00bicals

      They can try but third party retailers now have a level playing field with the carriers on handsets. Amazon will be a great place to purchase your next phone.

    • John Lofwire

      Lets see… Galaxy s8 on Amazon unlocked is currently easily 100 to 150$ more than MSRP in carrier store.

      So adding 50$ to all device price will still be lower than Amazon pricing.

      So you where saying?

      OEM (beside apple)

      Give volume discount to carrier as they sell much more device.

    • N00bicals

      Well Rogers and Bell are selling the s8 for $1035, Amazon (unlocked and unbloated with Rogers and Bell rubbish (a feature that has a premium) is $1089.

    • John Lofwire

      This still support the fact you pay thats 50$ more for the unlock.

      So you will pay it one way or another

    • N00bicals

      Still beats your original claim. The Amazon phone has less bloatware which has a premium. It is still worth it to go there over Rogers and Bell even if the price differential is negligible.

    • John Lofwire

      My original claim was thats you where gonna pay for the unlock one way or another.

      I take bloatware thats i can deactivate over having to wait two week if not more whitout phone.

      Who will repair your phone under warranty? The carrier? Nope they won’t and won’t give you a loaner phone.

      So let me resume you gonna pay same price but will have less support.

      But the main point is you will pay more one way or another.

  • kingsclear

    I wish they had gone all the way and required carriers to separate service from equipment purchase thereby eliminating the contractual obligation to stay with a carrier. This is the way it is done most anywhere in the world. You can buy your phone anywhere, even on monthly payments and service from a carrier is on a month to month basis. It’s the right way to do it. It would mean the carriers would really have to compete. This would result in better service and lower service prices.

    • Stuntman06

      I don’t like how many of the places where you buy phones are run or owned by the carriers. I also don’t like how certain phones were only available on certain carriers. If you wanted to use that phone on another carrier, not only do you have to buy the phone, you have to pay the unlocking fee. There is no good reason to have such restrictions. I’m glad the CRTC finally stepped in.

    • el_courier

      You know that’s already an option? People chose to go on contracts to negate having to pay 800$ -1400$ for a device upfront. You can currently go to any carrier and buy a phone off contract for full retail ( though until Dec 2017 it would be locked) . The majority do not go that route especially when you have a family of 5 all getting an Iphone 7 32gb 4595.00$ + prov. tax is a lot to drop at one time.
      I think having both options is fair. But, believe me when I say I am happy they are taking this fee away. Even as an employee I had to pay.

    • Graham Neill

      It is not a clear option. People aren’t shown the actual money they are spending to purchase that phone on a contract. They are also tied to that carrier for 2 years while they pay off the phone.

      It is common practice around the world to purchase a phone totally separate from purchasing cellular service. The customer can still buy through payments but it is a totally separate contractual obligation with either a carrier or a 3rd party store. This is even happening now in the US.

      You’re blind if you don’t see this. Once this happens, because the customers are now month to month and can change carriers every month if they want to, the carriers are now forced to compete which no cartel members want to do as it would mean at least some price competition.

  • Moomur

    I work for a cellphone company and I tell you, they will find another way to recoup the lost revenue for unlock fees. They certainly did when they got rid of 3 year contracts. These new plans are expensive. The big 3 have monopolized the whole system. Right down to them owning Fido, virgin , koodo, etc. Doesn’t matter what carrier you are going with you are always using one of the Big 3.

    People have been sucked in to using their phones as a mini computer and these guys have set you all up for it. Look at data overage charges??? use to be peanuts in comparison to now. Enticing you with new phones and everyone buys into it. “yes i have to get the Samsung 8, i need that iphone7 etc” .

    Best thing a person can do is save up your money and buy a new phone outright and go on a very basic plan. But this won’t happen cause most people need the instant gratification of having the newest phone and these phones do not come cheap anymore.

    Personally, I have always thought it ridiculous that someone had to pay to unlock a phone they already essentially had paid for.

    However always remember, it boils down to the shareholders in any of these companies. Bottom line is that they have to always remain happy and rich.

    • vn33

      “most people need the instant gratification of having the newest phone ” …
      You hit that nail right on the head!! As long as Robellus can get people hooked into a contract (for that new phone), they continue to have an incentive to fleece people with the the high monthly plan.

    • John Lofwire

      Working for a carrier as well and you are spot on.

      Only way for thing to change is to get ride of contract 100% and also dont permit tabs.
      So ppl will always have to buy device full price.

      Thats would be hard for many but end result would be much cheapers plans.

    • N00bicals

      I disagree, cheaper plans will only come if the government force the incumbents to allow MVNOs at a set regulated price per minute, per text, and per gigabyte. It’s the same scenario with broadband which has worked. As long as the rules of service are regulated it should work well. I think most would put up with lower priority service on the data network for a chance to get seriously low prices.

      In the UK I never noticed a difference between O2 (incumbent) and Giffgaff (MVNO) except my bill was 40% cheaper on the same network. The only visible difference was the lack of customer service beyond online chat. Fine for most I’m sure.

    • John Lofwire

      Thats prove you have no clue about how the cost work for a network.

      The canada networks are easily 3 times bigger with much more distance between tower.

      This mean more fiber optical transport cables and more towers.

      All those equipements need to be purchased maintained and upgraded.

      So your comparison is invalid.

    • John Lofwire

      In reply to your post that disappeared.
      Dont mix thing up.

      I agree thats the current pricing in most province is not good I just disagree with your half baked solution because its a different situations with different factors to take into account.

      I beleive more in a fourth major coast to coast player with its own network with guaranteed loan at no interest rate for the major player ready to do it.

      In exchange thats new network would have to work with smaller player and give them low cost access to thats new network.

      This would force price down whitout abusing year and billion of dollars thats current player had to invest.

      Thats a more balanced solution.

    • N00bicals

      I disagree and the post is there I just edited it slightly for clarity.

      The whole problem with this market is collusion, a fourth national player is not going to fix that problem. The fourth player will just join the cartel, as we are now seeing with Shaw.

    • John Lofwire

      New major player dont want to pay for a new network upfront.

      If they can get a loan at no interest to build it but need to give access at low cost to smaller player they have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

      You do know thats could be enforced by a contract between that new player and the governement.

      Plz dont talk if you dont have a good understanding of the issue , the players as well as how business work and think.

    • JD

      That won’t lower prices for plans. If anything they’ll use the lack of contracts (predictable revenue) to raise prices using the reason that revenue is less predictable thus higher prices to be used to mitigate risk.
      Real competition will lower prices. Right now there’s pretty much 2 nation wide physical networks. Bellus and Rogers. (Then you have the localized networks, Freedom, Videotron etc…)
      We need to let more MVNO access this infrastructure or let big boys with big money come in and lay down more infrastructure. The whole game is rigged right now. From land leases to the whole collusion oligopoly.

    • gommer strike

      Or people can keep their eyes open for the $40 for 4GB limited-time plans which caused enormous lines at the various malls when it debuted for a short time. The line-ups at Fido were bonkers, which was hilarious to me because they could have just called in(granted even being on hold was easily 45 minutes to an hour).

      Strangely though, people didn’t seem to realize that Virgin also offered an equivalent limited-time plan too. It was all about either Public Mobile or Fido. Nobody gave Virgin a second look because the perception was that oh, it’s Virgin, they only sell second-rate phones.

      So while I agree that the current plans right now are indeed pricy, there are always opportunities, as rare as they come – that these types of $40 for 4GB-type plans surface every now and then. And hey there’s always Wind Mobile.

  • Jim__R

    “It’s necessary to address two important numbers: $37.7 million CAD and approximately $7 billion.

    The first figure is how much carriers earned in unlocking fees in 2016
    and the second figure is roughly the total combined revenue for Rogers’ and Telus’s Q1 2017 and Bell’s Q4 2016.”

    Let’s run those numbers.

    $37.7 million for all of 2016 = 9.425 million per quarter (assuming an even distribution)
    $7 billion for a quarter = $7000 million per quarter (assuming an evenish distribution)

    So, we see that a rough estimate of the percentage of revenue the carriers get from unlocking fees is:
    (9.425 / 7000) x 100% ~= 0.134%

    In order to increase revenue back to the original amount, carriers would have to increase it by:
    (100/(100-0.134) – 1) x 100% ~= 0.134%

    This number (ballpark as it is) represents little more than a rounding error for the carriers.

    So, the sky is not falling.

  • FINALLY! someone sees what I was saying here. We can’t fault a business that runs on services that aren’t needed for charging for demand. If they were the only ones that sold clean drinking water or food in the country, fine, but cell service?

    People need to stop waiting for a hero to save them and find a way to get what they want without breaking the bank.

  • John Lofwire

    Got to love media lies..

    Telus unlock all device buyed after 2016 january at 50$ if its active for 90 days they never charge more.
    If the phone was buy before thats its 35$

    but i really think all phone should be unlocked but sadly apple keep exclusivity for unlocked devices at apple store and charge carrier a fee to unlock them.
    So dont expect at least iphone will have price increased.

    • It’s Me

      Apple didn’t keep exclusivity of unlocked devices at Apple stores. The carriers did that. The carriers chose to sell locked phones. Duh.

      I love how you try to blame Apple for everything. No wonder you work retail.

  • John Lofwire

    Lets see…

    You go to X carrier and get a nice 0$ phone already unlocked.
    you never pay any bill and just take a monthly service with another carrier.

    You get hit on your credit sure but you still screwed up the first carrier and the rep thats helped you.

    Some ppl dont care about the credit rating i saw lots of those.

    • Omis

      But what’s stopping people from doing that now? A lock that costs $20 to unlock? They’ll tank their credit rating but not if they have to pay $20. Right.

    • John Lofwire

      First the lock is 40 to 50$ right now not 20$.

      Second I would balance this out by giving permission to blacklist a device if a client quit and dont pay is balance of agreement.

      Right now thats not legal.

      I am all for unlock to give client choice as long as carrier is protected against abuse.

      Make it so its in the agreement thats the carrier can and will blacklist your IMEI if you quit and dont pay your balance (give client 3 months max to pay up) same thing if you do not pay your monthly fee 3 months in a row.

      Finally make it thats after 6 to 9 months after you quit the carrier and dont pay thats they can contact the police to declare the device stolen.

  • David Liang

    I have some reservations about unlocked phone. While I am welcome to unlock the phone free upon request, I just concern the thieves will seize the opportunities to steal the lost phone and then selling it on the black market and shipped to other countries.

    • It’s Me

      They can do that right now, when buying a locked phone. Paying $20 to a 3rd party unlock service isn’t a huge obstacle . Thieves will be thieves. A lock did just about nothing to stop it.

      Locks were never about theft and never about contracts. They were only ever to make changing carriers more difficult and to extract extra money from customers that wasn’t covered by the contract (roaming fees, unlock fees, etc).

    • Stephen_81

      I’d say Locks also were part of the exclusivity that carriers used to enjoy with devices. While those days are more or less gone, Carriers partnered with manufacturers and paid to have a device exclusive, having it locked to the carrier helped your return on investment.

      The practice should have faded away by the early 2010’s because exclusivity was very rare, and in Canada the majority of the Carriers had moved to GSM service.

    • It’s Me

      Depends on how far one extends the definition of exclusive. If it is the normal definition from almost any other industry or product line, then the exclusivity would mean that a specific carrier is the only carrier allowed to sell or market that handset in Canada. If you want to buy one, on contract or not, then you must go through that carrier. That much remains unchanged. Nothing different now.

      If instead the definition is extended to somehow mean exclusive use of the handset only ever on that one carrier, then sure that won’t be the case, but it hasn’t ever really been the case since phones are generally unlockable, with perhaps CDMA being the exception.

    • Stephen_81

      The reason for Exclusivity was to attract customers. I actually left Bell because back in the day I wanted the BlackBerry 9800 and I could only get it from Rogers which made me switch.

      I went with bell the first time because they were the only ones that had the Audiovox Thera device.

      When the BlackBerry 9900 came out, I was switching to which ever carrier launched the device first, and was willing to go on contract for it. Lucky for me Rogers launched the device early, and I was traveling in Manitoba at the time and the store let me buy the device outright, but the delay in getting it unlocked was going to be enough for me to change carriers. IF a world of all devices always unlocked, my carrier relationships will be to there benefit, and mine, since I wont be switching away for a device, but the allure of getting an exclusive device hoping to get the phone junkies like me to make a switch will fade with this ruling, Margin dollars on devices just aren’t enough to pay for exclusivity.

    • It’s Me

      Nah, this ruling, in and of itself, won’t affect that at all. Maybe a decade ago with BBs, but unlockers have been far too prevalent and cheap for too many years for exclusivity to be any real reason for anyone even remotely knowledgable about their phones. With a few exceptions, if a device is offered only at another carriers and I really want that device but not to switch carriers, I’ll buy it outright and unlock it or buy it on contract, terminate, pay tab and unlocked (occasionally a better option during promo times). Notice that no point did the exclusivity prevent me from removing the defect from my property to use elsewhere. At best it created a minor annoyance and extra cost, but that’s the regard carriers hold for their customers, worth annoying for no good reason.

      This rules my has basically no impact on exclusives, unless one puts on blinders and ignores reality that is.

    • Stephen_81

      I think you put far to great of faith in people realizing how easy it is to get a phone unlocked. In addition, the effort in doing so.

      Ultimately from a financial standpoint on the carrier front, I think we will see a reduction in carrier exclusives, which all in all is a good thing.

    • It’s Me

      Nah, no difference for exclusives.

      Those customers that want the phone and think they have to switch will switch, with or without this ruling. Those that want the phone and know they can stay where the are will get it and stay where they are. Same as last year, last month and last week.

      No change.

    • Reppy07

      I never have seen exclusivity as a good thing. Imo, that’s as anti-consumer as it gets.

      I wish more people could afford paying phones outright so they could see how much these companies actually shovel money out of your pocket from these extra costs that only serve as annoyances rather than being beneficial to the consumer.

      These things, only help the companies stay greedy and filthy rich.

    • gommer strike

      Why? If you setup even the barest level of security on your smartphone, the phone is useless even if it’s stolen. You can activate Android Device Manager remotely or even Lost my Phone for iPhones. The moment that phone connects to any form of data be it WiFi or cellular, bam it gets locked.

  • jay

    i believe they should be able to lock a phone until it is payed off. after the contract is done unlock the phone. not sure why the three big played that game and now everything needs to be unlocked.

    • Sighmonsez

      Getting an unlocked phone doesn’t absolve the consumers from having to fulfill their contractual requirements. If the phone was bought with a subsidy from a contract, they still need to pay off the balance if they leave before the end of the contract period.

  • N00bicals

    Great news if you want to buy a phone only available with another provider. You can just purchase it outright from them and then slide your current SIM in. However, it is possible that Rogers Bell and Telus will increase their handset prices but we have to hope other retailers like Amazon will feel emboldened and start to offer more handset choice along with payment plans.

    This change will officially split handset payment and phone plan for everyone. I see BYOD as becoming the norm and opting into contracts only if they want to take advantage of certain deals. Phone plan contracts will lose their dominance as providers start to diverge business plans.

    • el_courier

      I don’t understand how this will cause more BYOD??. People have always had the BYOD option. You have always had the option to buy a device outright. 9/10 people don’t take it. The 50$ unlock charge had no barring on your contract with the phone in the first place. This change will not split phone plan and handset payment at all.
      If you want that shiny new phone for 0$ up front you’re still going to be paying it over 2 years.

    • Phone_Addiction

      Rogers and bell will not sell phones outright unless your a customer. I tried when rogers had the only silver 64gb note 5. They wouldn’t even sell to fido customers either.

    • gommer strike

      OK, but how often are people going to buy their phones outright? I’m not talking tech geeks like us, I’m talking the average Joe/Jane consumer who is used to getting their smartphone for $200-$300 on contract. Paying $600+ is freakishly expensive to these people.

      We have family/friends who look at us like we’re crazy when we tell them that the true cost of the phone is closer to $700. To them there is no such thing, especially when they look at their receipt and it clearly states they only paid $300 for the latest and greatest, and no amount of arguing with them will change their mind.

  • JD

    I can’t wait to see how this blows back on the consumer. CRTC decisions never work out the way we the consumers want and think they will. Just like when they abolished 3 year contracts. Carriers stopped those alright, they just upped the prices per month 300% and created Tabs for the phones which in most cases were based on inflated values above MSRP until that was legislated to stop.
    Don’t get me wrong I hate the carriers, but I just don’t see them taking this laying down. The fundamentals of this game are broken, there’s no real competition to make them compete. These small changes may seem like victories but they’re just going to collude to screw us over.

    I can see them doing more carrier exclusives and what not just to make us buy flagships at MSRP from them for example just to get more revenue. Or pull a Verizon, keep some weird technology reason to make them work only on Approved handsets.

    • Yami

      Show me where the phones were sold above msrp and where it stopped.
      Get a phone at koodo its sold under the msrp but everyone else it is still inflated.

    • JD

      Are you serious?
      When they did the switch over to two year contracts before smart phones entered in to $xxxx Territory they were making people pay $200-300 fill MSRP to cancel in addition to the typical $49-199 upfront costs. So users would be paying $400-$700 for a $350 phone.
      It stopped when the CRTC mandated that the cost of the device needed to be amortized over the term of the contract and they couldn’t charge more than the device was worth.

    • Turbojugend

      Wireless customers are some of the most ill informed on the planet. They won’t see a $50 increase in the $1100 device they are subsidizing over two years.

      The amount of people I see adding a cell tablet onto their wireless plan for $35 a month, not realizing they can get a wifi only one for $160 cheaper is staggering.

      While I don’t stick up for the costs providers are charging for services, people like new shiny stuff and keep buying and paying in droves. Nobody even bats an eye with a $5 or $10 increase a month on their cell phone plans if it means they get a new phone.

      Stop subsidies. Make the consumer realize the actual cost of devices. But that will never happen because most consumers are cheap.

  • Ali F.

    Locking the phone has no effect on thieves being thieves es. It is easy to unlock using a third party service. I’ve been doing unlocking for years now, it is a matter of paying at most $20 and it is done. With iphone it is so simple but more expensive.

    • Reppy07

      This. ^
      To me, it’s the individual’s level of carelessness as to how the thief can steal it. Too many people treat their phones like people use coffee mugs. Leave it sitting anywhere with full trust and hopes that no one will steal it.

      I know it’s canada and all, but cmon

  • rgl168

    Here’s a thought: would there be a flood of Americans suddenly coming north of the border to buy phones?

    • gommer strike

      Nope, because Canadian carriers are not incentivized to sell devices outright. Try walking into a Best Buy and ask if you can buy any phone of your choice, outright. They will say “nope, you have to be on contract”.

      Even if you were to walk into a Fido and ask for the same. Watch the sales rep go “um, I have to check on that”. When he comes back, you’ll be told that the bare minimum is putting you on a 30-day plan. But they really don’t want to do that.

    • Turbojugend

      Your first mistake was walking into a Best Buy…..

      It’s super easy, buy a device outright and go on a pay as you go plan but don’t add any time cards on it.

    • gommer strike

      Show me a carrier that will sell you a new device outright. Let’s try a test. Wait for the next new flagship when it’s released, walk up to Rogers and say “hey I wanna buy this outright” and let’s see what they say. Try it any of the big stores.

      They won’t sell it to you off-contract, this I assure you. We are not talking some mom-and-pop shop. We’re talking the big carriers.

    • Turbojugend

      My friend and I went into a Bell corporate store and he bought a Samsung Galaxy 8+ outright on launch day. It was pretty easy, he said I want to buy this outright and they said ok and sold it to him……….

    • Reppy07

      I’ve never been told nor seen any carrier say you’re forced to go on contract when you buy a phone in the past 2 decades so far.

      Any kiosk in malls, The Source(s), Best Buys, Telus, Bell or Rogers stores, hell, anyone of the stores and shops that offer carrier specifics, some of which offer multiple, have never told me I need a contract to purchase their phone.

      Wherever you live, you need to move the f out. My most recent purchase was the Galaxy S6 at a kiosk mall for Virgin Mobile (sister company to Bell) and they didn’t even ask questions or offer a contract.

      All of these stores had one thing in common. The price tags, they always had the contract price on top (with a small print for how many years) and the full price below them.

      I was looking at the S8+ to upgrade at The Source that has Virgin and Bell, and their full price tags are right there. However, I wound up ordering online for the international version because I’m getting it 300 bucks cheaper.

      Point is. I have no clue what you’re on about. I’ve been to many provinces and cities and small towns alike from work, which is why I have had many phones. I always got them unlocked too because since my work bounces me back and forth, I need to get the cheaper plans with each place I got stuck in and imagine if I had to replace my phone everytime? Yeah. No.

      This bill is a smart move. The increase of theft will probably increase, but imo, that’s the individuals personal practice on the level of carelessness they use. I don’t leave my phone sitting out in view the same way I don’t do it with my wallet.

    • gommer strike

      I spoke to a friend regarding this.

      His short answer: It depends where are you in Canada and what store you went to. If you walk up to Best Buy in Vancouver, then no – they will not sell you a device outright(you’re welcome to try to prove us all wrong).

      Manitoba/Quebec have different rules governing sale of smartphones. Yes stores will always show you the full off-contract price. But that doesn’t mean they’ll make it easy for you to walk in and buy nothing but the phone. I’ve experienced the reps go with their manager, come back and go “you have to at least sign up for an account and a 30-day plan”.

      In short it depends where you are. You are more than welcome to visit Vancouver, BC and test your theory. Bear in mind that because of the recent changes of late where unlocking devices can no longer be charged a fee – then that could change the mindset around selling devices outright.

      But there is no doubt for anyone here, that the enormous bulk of the profits are not generated from raw device sales. It is all about the contracts and plans.

    • rgl168

      I’m not talking about buying phones from carriers, but rather from retailers like Staples or Amazon or even OEMs themselves. With all phones being unlocked, would we see Asian or Euro style marketing where OEMs will market phones directly to consumers? Would this entice BestBuy, Walmart or other retailers to start offering more unlock phones for customers?

      If this happens, given network band compatibility between US and Canada, as well as favorable exchange rate, it is not far fetch for some American customers may seek out their next phones in Canada.

  • Bob Freeze

    This will also encourage more phones to continue to be used rather than discarded. On a couple of occasions I threw away old phones that were locked to a carrier. I would have otherwise passed them on to my kids on the cheapest plan in the marketplace at that time. Seemed like a waste…

    • THIS! I have an old hunk of crap HTC One locked to Telus that’s been sitting in a drawer for over a year. If it was unlocked, I’d give it to my mum to use with Fido or Koodo.

    • Heretic

      I am virtually certain the phone you have (locked to telus) will indeed work with a Koodo sim. I have never come across one that didn’t in 5 years and with maybe 500 handsets. Try it.

  • Not to be heartless, but centering your business model around unlocking cellphones is a pretty dumb idea.

    • gommer strike

      It’s not as dumb as you might think. Yes these operations are pretty shady but the costs of keeping that website up is fairly minimal compared to the easy profits they get from getting you the unlock codes. There is a reason why there’s at times, a few hours delay between your code request and when you get the code back.

      It’s lucrative enough. Won’t make anybody a millionaire but some nice side cash. By no means are these cell unlocker sites any person’s single source of income.

    • I was more referring to “feeling bad” for the poor cell unlocking businesses out there. I know plenty of services, some brick & mortar, that offer unlocking as a side-service, but mainly specialize in repairs, cases, accessories, etc.

  • Heretic

    With Canada market only 1/15 the size of USA market, it means their business may drop 6.67%.

  • Stormkroe

    Make no mistake, they WILL get their $37 million one way or another. I predict a slight increase in phone prices.

  • Sam

    rip people who used to make living by unlocking phones

  • EmBlaze

    Looks like some people don’t know $h!t about modern smartphone anti-theft capabilities.

    As if carrier locks will do much to deter theft, especially when telecom can lock it just fine by request.

    And don’t get me started on how bad guys can remove the SIM, but not necessarily OS killswitch.

  • Soulfulkhalel

    Is it me or there’s no real explanation to the average consumer on how the unlocking procedures work :
    – If you bought a phone from a carrier, do you simple call and get the phone unlocked like that?
    – If you buy a new phone from a carrier, will it already be unlocked? I’ve read Rogers is asking an extension and or will provide stickers with codes on phone locked to help consumer have it unlocked?
    – If you are given an old phone and want to us it, do you simply call or chat online to have it unlocked? That may seem – i know – helping theft especially when the phone is not declared lost or stolen so that the IMEI can be blacklisted but still can it be done if it is legit?
    I’m just saying it would be easier to let consumers know how things are supposed to work with this Wireless code changes. I’ve talk to rep and online sales and they all play the don-t-know-dont-mention-it card when you talk about unlocking. I hope to get an iPhone X, hoping it is unlocked at purchase even with contract to pay less upfront but if unlocking is complicated with it what’s the point of all this “shouting words” that won’t truly benefits consumers in CAN who are taken as the “Dotards in Telecom” (had to place that one, lol) compared to many others in part of the World. (Just a thought)