Rogers seeks extension to aspects of December 1st Wireless Code deadline

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Canada’s largest telecom has filed a part 1 application with Canada’s telecommunications regulator to request a deadline extension for some changes mandated by the recently updated Wireless Code.

Rogers says it’s able to comply with the “vast majority” of the Wireless Code changes, which come into force on December 1st, 2017, but that it’s unable to comply with three aspects of the bill management changes mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

“On paper, the changes to the Code appear logical and straightforward,” writes the company in its application. “In reality, after examination they are lengthy and complicated from an Information Technology (IT) systems perspective.”

It’s requesting an extension of about six months, until May 31st, 2018.

In its application, the carrier also stated that not all of its inventory would be unlocked by December 1st, though customers will be able to freely unlock those new devices that are locked and will be alerted through a stickering method.

Rogers is requesting more time on the following bill management changes:

  • Sending an international roaming notification to the account holder, in addition to the device user. Rogers says it can send the roaming notifications to the user but is still working on sending them to the account holder, as well. This, it explains, is because a third-party vendor provides the delivery of the ‘Welcome SMS,’ and the carrier needs more time to figure out an email-based version of that notification for the account holder with the vendor.
  • The application of domestic and roaming data caps to mixed line accounts. The carrier notes it can apply the updated rules for both domestic and roaming caps for Share Everything and single line plans, but won’t be able to do so on mixed-line accounts. For those unsure of that terminology, the carrier means accounts with multiple separate data buckets. Rogers says in order to handle this, it will need to upgrade its service platform. It also states it is developing a “comprehensive solution” that clearly communicates to the customer that their account has reached the cap, as well as a self-service platform for customers to manage which lines can consent to additional charges.
  • Consolidating both data add-ons and overage fees under the domestic data overage and data roaming caps. Under the new Wireless Code, carriers are required to include data add-ons with overages in calculating when a customer has hit the $50 domestic cap or $100 data roaming cap. That consolidation will not be possible in time for December 1st, however, according to Rogers. The carrier says this is because “the two different systems that operate data add-ons and overage are built on different logic” — since one is paid in advance and the other is billed after use.

While the company doesn’t believe it will be able to comply with those changes in time, it does note that any impacted customer who contacts the carrier with charges that exceed the caps “is and will continue to be credited.”

For domestic overage and data roaming caps on mixed accounts, it says it will block all lines on the account as soon as any one line reaches the threshold as a stop-gap measure.

“Fortunately, the number of customers impacted by the requirements that we are unable to deliver for the implementation date is minimal,” writes the carrier.

Unlocking plans

Additionally, Rogers notes that it will still have locked devices in its inventory after the deadline, and instead of breaking the seals of the boxes, it intends to sell the boxes with stickers that feature unlocking codes and clear instructions on how to unlock the device free of charge.

Rogers says it “considers that this meets what was intended by the Code’s requirements to provide customers with an unlocked device.”

The CRTC made its decisions on the updated Wireless Code on June 15th, 2017. The original Wireless Code was issued on June 3rd, 2013, in order to govern the relationship between carriers and Canadian consumers.