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CRTC Unveils New Wireless Code To Protect Canadian Customers

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the great-white-phone-plan dept.

Canada 230

FuzzNugget writes "The CRTC has unveiled a code of conduct that brings many positive changes for Canadian wireless customers, most notably:
1.) Carriers must provide the option to unlock a cell phone after 3 months for subsidized phones within the contract period, or immediately if the device was purchased outright.
2.) Contracts are now capped at two years, and cancellation fees are limited to the amount of the subsidy.
3.) Carriers can no longer charge outrageous data overage and international roaming charges. Without explicit consent from the a customer, such charges are capped at $50 and $100 per month, respectively."

cancel ×

230 comments

A nice lead... (5, Insightful)

Pyrotech7 (1825500) | about a year ago | (#43899563)

I hope the U.S. follows.

Re:A nice lead... (1)

psyque (1234612) | about a year ago | (#43899585)

hope can be replaced by doubt so quickly

Re:A nice lead... (4, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43899651)

I doubt that.

I just wish VZW had some idea of what country I am in. When I go to the US Falls I have to turn off the phone or put it in airplane mode as it assumes I am in Canada. I get it, it is close and it might connect to the wrong tower. As a customer I do not care. I paid for nationwide Data and I wish I could use it. Niagara Falls State Park is in the USA and I should not have to pay extra for data in it.

Re:A nice lead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899819)

Most phones you can specify disabling the data connection on roaming. It's not optimal, but you won't be charged extra.

Re:A nice lead... (2)

cob666 (656740) | about a year ago | (#43899869)

Unfortunately, because VZW is CDMA all the roaming information is in the PRL data, both voice AND data. So, if you disable data roaming you will ONLY get data in your home area. I've had similar issues in Maine where I was billed for data roaming in Canada even though I was in the US and my phone clearly indicated that it was on the Verizon network. Every time this has happened I called customer support, explained the situation and they removed the charges.

Re:A nice lead... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43900003)

This is just how it works unfortunately.

Being near water lets the signal propagate farther than what people usually expect. No multi-pathing.

All carriers understand accidental roaming and won't take issue with it if you're within 1 mile of the border on either side. Basic examples include waiting at the border crossing, Ferry/Bridge crossings and known cell sites. If you claim accidental roaming on sites that aren't known to do this, then you will get a outright "NO" to canceling the roaming fee.

As it was explained during a training class, all carriers include some towers of their roaming partner as "non-roaming", eg your phone will display Verizon when it's on Bell near the border, or AT&T when it's on Rogers. These accesses are not supposed to bill you for roaming, but it's entirely possible for the roaming carrier to move the cell site or re-use the cell site's ID numbers, without the other carrier knowing about it. So you might not get voice roaming, but you end up with data roaming since these go through different billing systems on all carriers.

Re:A nice lead... (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about a year ago | (#43900195)

GSM and UMTS/HSPA phones can be locked to "home" network. As long as your provider uses the same network code nationwide, you can do this to prevent accidental roaming. I'm not sure if one can meaningfully do this on CDMA phones though.

I've never bothered doing this and never been hit for accidental roaming fees, though, because I keep data roaming off and I don't make voice calls (or answer any) if I show to be roaming. Well, that used to be true until a couple of years ago, anyway. My voice plan now includes US minutes - I just have to avoid the data roaming, which is simple.

Re:A nice lead... (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#43899893)

I think I would like the changes overall, but any regulation has trickle-down effects. For instance, capping the price of certain services may be realized by capping the ability to use the service, or removing the service altogether if it is no longer profitable.

And of course, FTA:

There's a good chance, however, that Canadians could see the price they pay for their cellphones up front rise as a consequence of their newly won long-term freedom.

Re:A nice lead... (1, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#43899919)

In other words, government regulation can do a lot to bring fairness and transparency to business. But it can do nothing to force a business to support or continue an unprofitable venture.

Re:A nice lead... (2)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about a year ago | (#43899963)

I think I would like the changes overall, but any regulation has trickle-down effects. For instance, capping the price of certain services may be realized by capping the ability to use the service, or removing the service altogether if it is no longer profitable.

That depends on whether it is something work keeping. If it isn't, then it wasn't worth it at the old price either. Honestly, data plans are being charged at way too high an amount, and can be very unsuspecting so yes - something needs to be done in terms of regulation, USA included.

And of course, FTA:

There's a good chance, however, that Canadians could see the price they pay for their cellphones up front rise as a consequence of their newly won long-term freedom.

That wouldn't be a bad thing really. People have too low a value on their phones, so they don't treat them well, then wonder why they're breaking - which in turn drives up the cost for the carriers. Make people realize the real value of the device.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind if carriers were prohibited from subsidizing devices entirely, but that won't happen. This is certainly one area where Europe has a little better model than the USA/Canada, at least in this one respect.

Re:A nice lead... (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about a year ago | (#43900205)

Phone prices should go up - but carriers will now have significant incentive to provide discounts to customers who are out of contract and not using such a subsidy. All we need is one first mover to give a significant discount for it, and the rest will, of necessity, follow.

Re:A nice lead... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43899901)

LOL, AT&T and VZ have the market here and they pay billions for frequencies and markets.. Sprint and T-Mobile are also rans but asking for the Wireless Carriers to change is about as likely as having Sarah Palin becoming a Rhodes Scholar.

"How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?'" - Sarah Palin

Re:A nice lead... (-1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#43900055)

Believe me, you don't want to follow the Canada's example.....

2 year contract (1)

blakeqd (1481391) | about a year ago | (#43899573)

Since the previous contract lengths were generally 3 years, i think that phone costs are going to increase because providers can't guarantee you'll stay as long with them. But I still like the move to cap it at 2 years, because the lifetime of smartphones (if you want to stay semi-relevant) are becoming shorter and shorter.

Re:2 year contract (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899653)

Here's an idea: providers can provide excellent service instead of treating paying, long-term customers like shit. Earn some loyalty then see what happens.

Re:2 year contract (2)

Nos. (179609) | about a year ago | (#43899739)

I don't expect providers to hope that I'll stay with them long enough to pay for a subsidized device. Instead, offer me a discount for staying with you after I've paid for the device, or if I bring my own. Otherwise, why not just get a new device every 2-3 years.

Re:2 year contract (1)

cob666 (656740) | about a year ago | (#43899879)

Bell Mobility offers a 10% discount on voice plans if your phone is not being subsidized.

Re:2 year contract (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43900057)

So does Telus, and Koodo... with Koodo, it's both voice and data, and you can opt to continue paying the full price. It banks in your "tab" towards the purchase of your next phone... with a full bank, you can get double the normal subsidy on a new phone: $300, instead of $150 (and that's a carrier which has already been following every rule set out in the code of conduct for at least as long as I've been with them).

Re:2 year contract (1)

Dzimas (547818) | about a year ago | (#43900185)

... and the tab plans offered by Koodo and Virgin Canada are the worst in the business. They're advertised as simple and contract free, but the reality is that if you're on a $39/month plan, it will take 38 months for you to pay off your subsidy on Koodo. It'll take twice as long if you sign up for a similarly priced plan with a $300 Virgin Gold Plan tab. Both of these strategies will be illegal after December 2nd in Canada, because they're a horrible deal for consumers. Whoever came up with the 10% paydowns and 10% discount was absolutely brilliant. Instead of offering $10 to $15 per month in subsidies, the telcos were putting a positive spin on giving you $3.90.

Re:2 year contract (2)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#43899679)

My Handspring Visor PDA lasted just shy of ten years. I expect my Android phone/PDA to do the same.

Re:2 year contract (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43899719)

Why?
What would motivate you to keep a device so long beyond the point at which a replacement would add much more functionality?

Re:2 year contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899815)

I'm still using my 1st gen iPhone and no intention of upgrading as long as it works.

Why? I hate the throwaway society and as long as it keeps doing what I need it do (mail, safari and ical), I'm going to keep using it.

Re:2 year contract (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43899853)

I never said throw away. I fully meant give it to someone who could use it, repurpose or recycle.

A 1st gen iPhone must be painful to browse the web on these days. The battery must be near useless by now as well.

Re:2 year contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899949)

I replaced the battery a little less than a year ago, so now I can get about 2 days from it with regular use. Most of the time I'm on wi-fi, but when I'm not, edge isn't that big of a deal. LTE isn't available from any carrier where I live (Virginia, about an hour from D.C.).

Re:2 year contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43900173)

that's all right, cave man

Re:2 year contract (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about a year ago | (#43900221)

The irony is, being a 2G phone, the battery life (with a good battery) will be significantly better than what a 3G phone can do.

The data will come slowly... but the battery will do well.

Re:2 year contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899945)

Like what? Calendar / organizer? Maps? Games? The majority of the phones (smart or regular phones) are capable of doing this. Some do it a little faster, but hey... if you're not in a rush, who cares? Not repurchasing a new phone ever 2 years means you're saving the environment a ton.

What features are present in phones now that weren't years ago?

Oh wait, do you have a phone from APL? You know, the ones that arbitrarily withhold software/server based features from you? Oh, never mind.

Re:2 year contract (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43899977)

You are not playing any modern games on a phone that old. Nope, I have several android devices all running stock or CM. Depending on how the mood strikes me.

The biggest features of newer phones are just better displays and faster CPUs. The old nook color I use with CM10.1 really shows that in 2013 more RAM would be very helpful.

Re:2 year contract (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43900163)

Why do you assume everyone always needs more functionality?

Re:2 year contract (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#43900047)

Your battery will crap out before two years is up.
You may be able to replace the battery for a while, until they stop making it in that shape.

Re:2 year contract (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43900143)

My first cell phone lasted 10 years until I couldn't find 3rd-party aftermarket batteries that fit it - the phone itself still works fine.

My 2-year-old android phone has already broken the touch screen glass - first time it fell, of course. Seems like a crappy way to make a phone, but I'll just ignore the cracks as long as it still works. I keep thinking about going back to a feature phone with actual buttons, though: I'm not sure what I get from the smart phone that I actually use.

Re:2 year contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899751)

The cost of the phone has nothing to do with the contact. No matter how you slice it you pay for the phone in full.

I think it's better for consumers to know how much they are paying for the phone and how much they are paying for the service.

Devistating blow (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#43899577)

I am going to predict that this is going to be a devastating blow to their profits. Back when BlockBuster instituted "No Late Fees" I knew they were doomed. Basically they were profiting on bad luck and stupidity of which people are never short. So then BB had to profit from providing a quality service. Doomed!

How many people are suckered into overpaying in all kinds of creative ways. The locked phone for instance must keep many people from switching carriers. So I don't see the big three going bankrupt but I do see their profits taking a bigger hit than even they see coming in that they have probably fooled themselves into thinking that they are making profits in ways other than taking advantage of bad luck and stupidity.

Re:Devistating blow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899825)

No. They'll put up the prices correspondingly. If not all at once (too obvious), they'll just ramp up the percentage increases for the next few years, and/or increase the up-front costs of the plans.

And Canadian mobile phone users will just keep on paying outrages fees that far exceed most people around the world like we always have.

Re:Devistating blow (2)

MarioMax (907837) | about a year ago | (#43899845)

Funny thing with BB late fees, you actually had until 2PM, not Noon, to get your movie checked in. I know this because I used to work for BB from 2001-2002; the 2PM deadline was to allow the clerks time to get the movies checked in, and even then the late fee could be overridden by the clerk.

Then again, considering that it was a minimum wage job, most clerks didn't care (I was one of the few who actually gave a rats ass). Its hard to give quality service when the majority of your staff works minimum wage. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and employees who care is no exception.

There are other reasons why BB is doomed; profits from late fees is only one facet of a much larger problem.

Re:Devistating blow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899881)

PIAC estimates Canadian telecoms made $4 billion in 2010 from data fees, one quarter of their total revenue.

Re:Devistating blow (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43899885)

Netflix seems to do fine. BlockBuster could have survived by they screwed over their customers, changed polices without telling anyone and foolishly guaranteed they would have some movies in stock at all times.

Re:Devistating blow (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#43899923)

Back when BlockBuster instituted "No Late Fees" I knew they were doomed. Basically they were profiting on bad luck and stupidity of which people are never short. So then BB had to profit from providing a quality service. Doomed!

That move was a hail mary for Blockbuster, they'd already lost to Netflix & Friends at that point. Besides, it wasn't really a "no late fee" policy so much as a "we'll eventually charge the full cost of the movie to your card if you don't return it" policy. Not the same thing.

About Time (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899599)

IT IS ABOUT FUCKING TIME.

Re:About Time (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899643)

Or Aboot Time (?)

Re:About Time (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43899911)

Or Aboot Time (?)

-Eh?

Re:About Time (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#43900075)

or BOOT time :D

Re:About Time (4, Informative)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#43900041)

Can we please kill this stupid joke?
I was born and raised in Canada. I am a proud Canadian through and through. I have never heard a Canadian pronounce aboot instead of about. I have travelled coast to coast, and have never heard it. Ever.
Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest.

Re:About Time (2)

PhotoJim (813785) | about a year ago | (#43900229)

To some American ears, our "about" sounds like "aboot" but to my ear, some of their "abouts" sound like "abauwt".

Re:About Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899695)

Or is it about...space?

If only the USA wasn't bought by corps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899603)

The telephone company has for a long time worked over its customers. The only defense the people had was for the government to regulate them. Well with modern cell phones, not much is regulated anymore. If a phone company gives you a phone that drops calls 50% or more of the time, the user has no right to cancel the contract. I had a phone like this, and I told the people I got the phone from,"Look a contract should involve you at least providing me with a reasonable service." They didn't offer to let me out of the contract(Verizon), but they did say,"Hey we'll sell you a cell phone booster for your house, only a couple hundred bucks."

USA is never gonna regulate the cell phone companies, because the way campaign contributions work, the cell phone companies owns the politicians through campaign contributions. The USA is still a nice place to live, but things get worse here the more corporations influence public policy.

Re:If only the USA wasn't bought by corps (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | about a year ago | (#43899781)

Canada is way more fucked on the telecom regulatory/monopoly end than the US will ever be...

Re:If only the USA wasn't bought by corps (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year ago | (#43900121)

Canada is way more fucked on the telecom regulatory/monopoly end than the US will ever be...

Fascinating. Perhaps you could expand on that a bit? Verizon had a "special" 700Mhz spectrum LTE that is incompatible with AT&T and Canadian 700Mhz LTE whereas in Canada, the CDMA carriers all switched to HSPA+ back in late 2009 rather than waiting for a CDMA compatible iPhone. So even back in 2009, Canadians could get an iPhone or other HSPA+ smartphone on a choice of several carriers whereas Verizon customers had to have a special CDMA version and then they managed to screw up LTE with compatiblity by having LTE handsets that used CDMA for voice.

Re:If only the USA wasn't bought by corps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43900211)

It requires pointing out:
Canada has only 3 wireless carriers and has only ever had 3 wireless carriers. Any perceived alternatives still have to buy minutes/data from Telus/Rogers/Bell to make up for any coverage they don't have.

Like even if we could open up competition here (eg Wind/Mobilicity) they are at such a handicap (no 850/1900Mhz spectrum, no iPhone) that few people are willing to switch to them.

Compare this to the US which has two national carriers (Verizon and AT&T) which own the majority of the 850/1900Mhz spectrum. T-mobile only ever had 1900Mhz spectrum, and same with Sprint. Those two carriers are also the last ones to get the iPhone. Put two and two together and you see why T-mobile tried to sell itself to AT&T and why Sprint continues to suck after making bad decision after bad decision.

Unlike Canada, the US also has several regional players that own their spectrum. So in those markets you are offered much better deals than you are if your only choice is Verizon and/or AT&T.

In Canada, it's quite a joke what happened with this last spectrum auction. Wind Mobile and Mobilicity were formed and made no headway against the incumbent carriers. Prices are still the same as they were in 2004. Shaw and Quebecor bought spectrum, and then SAT ON IT, not building a thing, so they could later sell it to Rogers. Geez what a farce.

Re:If only the USA wasn't bought by corps (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | about a year ago | (#43900235)

In fairness to the cellular provider, as a consumer you have a duty to test this yourself before you lock into a contract. Ask your friends, or better yet, get a loaner phone. Also, most providers will let you cancel within the first few days without penalty, at least here in Canada.

Hallelujah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899639)

As a Canadian am impressed at seeing, let's see whether the big 3 telcos in Canada that have a stranglehold and generally influenced the CRTC with their lobbyist don't find alternate ways to fuck us.

Probably one of the most expensive places to have a mobile phone in the modern world.

Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899657)

Point 3 can't work.

International roaming and roaming data results in fees from different carriers to the local carrier.

Say I travel to Brazil and use 50 gigs of data. Brazil telecom then charges Rogers/Bell/Telus $30,000 worth of fees. Rogers/Bell/Telus can then only legally charge the user $100.

This is how international roaming and billing works and that's why this law is unenforceable. Wanna destroy the business of all carriers? Just travel internationally and use as much data as possible, and then just pay the maximum. Even the big telcos can't absorb that kind of monetary loss.

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (2)

beefoot (2250164) | about a year ago | (#43899699)

Currently though the telco in Brazil is likely charging Rogers/Bell/Telus $1.50 for the $50G of data and Rogers/Bell/Telus turns around to charge the customer $50,000. Joking aside, the code does not say the telco couldn't cut you off after you incur so much roaming fees.

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (3, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year ago | (#43899745)

If "brazil telecom" charges exhorbitant roaming fees to the canadian carriers and provides no mechanism to cut users off when they reach their roaming limit then the canadian carriers need to either negotiate a better roaming deal with "brazil telecom", or stop enabling roaming to "brazil telecom" by default.

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (2)

Nos. (179609) | about a year ago | (#43899753)

They'll just shut off your data roaming once you hit the cap.

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (2)

Jorkapp (684095) | about a year ago | (#43899767)

According to TFA on this point:

2. Cap on data roaming charges
i. A service provider must suspend national and international data roaming charges once they reach $100 within a single monthly billing cycle, unless the customer expressly consents to pay additional charges.
ii. A service provider must provide this cap at no charge.

I would hazard a guess that in this case, most telco's would suspend service once you've reached $100 in charges. Either that, or your consent to pay more will be found as part of the conditions in your next contract.

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#43900119)

.....expressley....
Which means that it cannot be part of the standard contract. You have to explicitly require, and agree to this new provision....

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899855)

Wanna destroy the business of all carriers?

Yes, please.

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (3, Informative)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43899859)

There is a cap except if you agree to a higher charge. This just stops them from automatically charging you outrageous fees based on fine print rather than explicit consent.

In your Brazil example, you'd have a teeny cap, then a window would pop up, "From this point on, Brazil charges $700/Gigabyte. Do you accept?"

Dirty Harry: "Well, do ya...punk?"

Re:Point 3 will be fiercely faught. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#43900093)

You are missing the point. If BELL could charge you only $50 max for example, no matter what you do, it means that once you spend more than $50, your service will be frozen, until next billing cycle.

Good aim, misses the target (0)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43899663)

1.) Carriers must provide the option to unlock a cell phone after 3 months for subsidized phones within the contract period, or immediately if the device was purchased outright.

Bell, Telus and Rogers announced a new unlock policy. You now have the option to unlock your smartphone, provided you pay the price of the phone.

2.) Contracts are now capped at two years, and cancellation fees are limited to the amount of the subsidy.

Bell, Telus and Rogers announced that you can now get the iPhone 5S and the Galaxy S5 for $300 on two years, or $10000 outright. That's a subsidy of $9700.
You have the option to cancel anytime, provided that you refund Bell, Telus or Rogers that $9700 subsidy they were so kind to give you in the first place.

3.) Carriers can no longer charge outrageous data overage and international roaming charges. Without explicit consent from the a customer, such charges are capped at $50 and $100 per month, respectively."

Bell, Telus and Rogers announced new roaming rates of $100/bit. Use 1 bit of data and reach the cap. Service is disabled once you reach the cap.
Bonus: 50% discount on national roaming.

Re:Good aim, misses the target (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about a year ago | (#43899715)

Bell, Telus and Rogers announced a new unlock policy. You now have the option to unlock your smartphone, provided you pay the price of the phone.

I don't believe the code allows for them to charge for unlocks so nope unlock in 3 months voila.

Bell, Telus and Rogers announced that you can now get the iPhone 5S and the Galaxy S5 for $300 on two years, or $10000 outright. That's a subsidy of $9700.
You have the option to cancel anytime, provided that you refund Bell, Telus or Rogers that $9700 subsidy they were so kind to give you in the first place.

I'm pretty sure its apple that sets the unsubsidized price, you know since they're the ones that make the phone and set the actual price they sll it at.

Bell, Telus and Rogers announced new roaming rates of $100/bit. Use 1 bit of data and reach the cap. Service is disabled once you reach the cap.
Bonus: 50% discount on national roaming.

That kind of directly goes against the mandate so seems they'd get in trouble for that.

Re:Good aim, misses the target (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#43899841)

I don't believe the code allows for them to charge for unlocks so nope unlock in 3 months voila.

Yes, it does allow them to charge and doesn't place any limitation on that charge.

1. Unlocking
i. A service provider that provides a locked device to the customer as part of a contract must
      a. for subsidized devices: unlock the device, or give the customer the means to unlock the device, upon request, at the rate specified by the service provider, no later than 90 calendar days after the contract start date.

Re:Good aim, misses the target (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899997)

The code (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/info_sht/t14.htm, section F.1) says: "A service provider that provides a locked device to the customer as part of a contract must for subsidized devices: unlock the device, or give the customer the means to unlock the device, upon request, at the rate specified by the service provider, no later than 90 calendar days after the contract start date."

So that basically leaves the telcos to charge whatever they want to unlock a device.

Re:Good aim, misses the target (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year ago | (#43900201)

I'm pretty sure its apple that sets the unsubsidized price, you know since they're the ones that make the phone and set the actual price they sll it at.

Apple sets the price in their Store. The carriers can charge whatever they like in theirs, with or without subsidy.
Only as of now it made no sense to charge more than Apple. With the new code it will.

Reduced Expectations (4, Informative)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43899665)

Rampant corporate misbehavior has so desensitized the public that weak half measures are applauded. The chance your carrier will break into your house, light your dog on fire and crap on your carpet has been somewhat reduced. Rejoice!

SOOCS? (1)

bmimatt (1021295) | about a year ago | (#43899675)

Sudden outbreak of common sense, eh?

$50 for Data Overage? (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#43899677)

I'll take your minimum data plan, please.... -sets up wireless hotspot-

Re:$50 for Data Overage? (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#43899693)

(afterthought: realistically, of course, they'll just cut your service after you hit your overage cap)

Re:$50 for Data Overage? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899791)

Idiot.

Get a Canadian phone! (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43899725)

With the way things are now in the US, it might be a good idea to buy Canadian phone service and "roam" in the US.

Actually, with the actions of T-Mobile lately, it's almost as if they were anticipating this. There are no cancellation fees... no more contracts. If you decide to stop being a T-Mobile customer, you just have to pay for the phone you bought through them if you haven't already.

The roaming and overage charge caps are new though.

Re:Get a Canadian phone! (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43899981)

Oh god but dealing with T-Mobile is an outright clusterfuck! It's better to go to WalMart and buy the SIMs from them or get their StraightTalk (aka Carlos Slim) services or even to SimpleMobile which is now owned by TracFone who is in turn owned by América Móvil [wikipedia.org] that is owned by Carlos Slim. So, choose you can go to VZ, AT&T or T-Mobile (with the shittiest customer service out there and who have been called to account for their new 'no contract deals' with gotchas [go.com] ) or you can go to the Mexican Cartel and contribute to Carlos Slim's bank account.

I was on Simple Mobile and it was really funny last year. You could tell when the Indian Help Desk was changed over to the Mexican Help Desk. In all cases, they still couldn't understand what you were saying or fix anything. I've now gone with T-Mobile via WalMart. Talk about a red-neck wireless solution!

Re:Get a Canadian phone! (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#43900133)

With the way things are now in the US, it might be a good idea to buy Canadian phone service and "roam" in the US.

I worked in Canada from 2007-2010. It was actually cheaper for me to add Canada roaming to my U.S. plan and pay $3/mo + 20 cents/min roaming, than to get a Canadian cell phone exclusively for use in Canada (i.e. no U.S. roaming). I would've had to have gotten a 1000 min/mo plan for the per-minute rate on the Canadian plan to be cheaper. Their wireless service was ridiculously expensive. No idea if it's improved in the last 3 years.

How this will work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899729)

For the 2 year contract - prices will simply jump 33% to make up for the lost 3rd year.

International carriers typically don't report for a month or two until after you've travelled, so there's no way to know what the roaming charge will be. The Canadian carrier will have to eat anything over 100 bucks, expect that to be passed onto the customers.

The price to buy the phone outright will jump to cover the lost revenue from unlocking.

Rogers and Bell have Canadians by the balls, and have forever. They own the CRTC, and are the only organizations allowed to give any input into the rulings. Since I've moved back, I've just stuck with a cheap pay-as-you-go phone, and carry an iPod touch, and use it at wi-fi hotspots. The mobile plans are outright dogshit up here. 2 GB caps, and other nonsense like that.

The 50 dollar max data cap charge means you might be able to get 2.5 GBs in a month. You will be tricked into checking the box that lets them charge the insane bills, however.

This is basically the consumer being bent over again, while being tricked into thankful for it.

If you think corporate handouts are bad in the US, give Canada a try. I'm trying to register the vehicle I purchased in the States now, I can only take it to Canadian Tire to verify it meets Canadian standards. That is the law. It's like Obama saying you can only go to Sears Auto Center.

At least we have good weed, and the women aren't so dumpy as they were down south..

Re:How this will work (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43899803)

If the monthly fee for a cell phone costs any more with a phone you've bought outright vs one you are getting as part of a contract plan, don't bother locking yourself in with them at all.

Re:How this will work (1)

Dan Ward (2828795) | about a year ago | (#43900029)

International carriers typically don't report for a month or two until after you've travelled, so there's no way to know what the roaming charge will be. The Canadian carrier will have to eat anything over 100 bucks, expect that to be passed onto the customers.

I think roaming should disappear - period. When I am in Europe - my Canadian SIM comes out and my Euro SIM goes in done. Everything is via Data now anyway. I am truly surprised that voice is still built into the phone - mobile companies should be providing SIP services to their customers and then that SIP service can be used from anywhere .. home phone .. overseas .. wherever.

Unlocked phone? (3, Interesting)

Sandman1971 (516283) | about a year ago | (#43899765)

This may sound like a stupid question to some...

When going to Europe, I would get a burner phone as it was cheaper than paying roaming/data fees. Since they must now unlock the phone (in my case, an iPhone), does that mean that when I now go to Europe all I need to do is buy a SIM card/service from a local cell provider and stick it in my iPhone and it will work?

Re:Unlocked phone? (3, Informative)

chriscappuccio (80696) | about a year ago | (#43899811)

yes as long as the phone covers the frequencies on the network you wish to roam on, which is why "QUAD BAND GSM" used to be popular, although there are more bands now with 4G LTE and so on

Re:Unlocked phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899921)

Yes, but you have to worry about frequencies supported by the phone and the frequency in use by the company selling you the SIM card. Check both the GSM frequency(for voice) and the UMTS/HSPA+ frequency(for data). Or simply buy a Google Nexus 4...Quad-band GSM and penta-band UMTS/HSPA+ support.

Re:Unlocked phone? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year ago | (#43899935)

This may sound like a stupid question to some...

When going to Europe, I would get a burner phone as it was cheaper than paying roaming/data fees. Since they must now unlock the phone (in my case, an iPhone), does that mean that when I now go to Europe all I need to do is buy a SIM card/service from a local cell provider and stick it in my iPhone and it will work?

Yes.

Re:Unlocked phone? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43900013)

if you have a phone that covers the frequencies yes. I have a Galaxy Note 2, International edition and it works great all over Europe, I just buy a SIM card when I land at the airport.

Re:Unlocked phone? (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#43900147)

Yes, as long as the cellular RF hardware runs on the correct frequencies. Most likely, it does.

*NOW* they do this.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43899775)

"Contracts are now capped at two years"...

(sigh)

My contract is 2 years old next month.

I still have a year to go, and boy do I have grievances.

Re:*NOW* they do this.... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#43899925)

You think that is bad...
I signed up for a new 3 year contract 9 days ago. Oh, well. The data overage caps are nice.

Still sucks to own a phone in Canada (2)

dittbub (2425592) | about a year ago | (#43899779)

A lot of Americans are complaining about their American telecom service. But aren't American monthly phone and data plans far far better than Canada?!

Re:Still sucks to own a phone in Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899861)

The "left" of America has convinced their followers that Canada is some magical progressive wonderland of plenty.

The truth is, it's far worse up here when it comes to phone, or even wired internet or cable. Three companies (Rogers, Telus, Bell) own absolutely everything, including the CRTC.

Re:Still sucks to own a phone in Canada (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43900139)

Three companies (Rogers, Telus, Bell) own absolutely everything, including the CRTC

Do you have any evidence for what you've said here, especially what's bolded above, that's not going to end up sounding like a conspiracy theory?

Re:Still sucks to own a phone in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899897)

I doubt it. I'm Canadian and using a phone through a Canadian provider. My monthly bill is around $30 plus tax.

According to the summary carriers must unlock phones after a certain point. However, I read the article and it makes it sound like the a carrier must simply allow users to unlock phones, not unlock it for them. I'm curious to find out which is correct.

Re:Still sucks to own a phone in Canada (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#43900109)

According to the summary carriers must unlock phones after a certain point. However, I read the article and it makes it sound like the a carrier must simply allow users to unlock phones, not unlock it for them. I'm curious to find out which is correct.

They need to, on request after 90 days, either unlock it for you or provide the means for you to to unlock it (their choice) for whatever fee they wish to charge.

Re:Still sucks to own a phone in Canada (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#43899961)

Yes!
Your options are Bell/Telus or Rogers/Fido
Or one of the small carriers who might go out of business at any moment.
Lastly, SaskTel, in some areas, but not where I live.

Alternate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899783)

Blind squirrel finds nut.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899797)

Remember, in Canada, it is 30$ the MB for roaming fee, 22,000$ [www.cbc.ca] for 700MB (revised to 2,200 $ later).

Hehe, treating the simptom doesn't heal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899829)

Symptom: Providers treat their customers like crap and actually compete on who is better at it.
Reason: Heavy governmental intervention in the business including heavy regulation and issuing of permits.
Bad Solution: More regulation to fix a specific issue.
Result of bad solution: Providers still treat their customers like crap and think creatively how to screw them even better.

For the reason of mass stupidity everyone loves the Bad Solution.

Better Solution: Government makes it much easier to enter the market by de-regulating it and replacing the need for permits by registration.
Result of better solution: More players enter the playing field and try to solicit customers away from the old players. Customers are globally loved.
For the reasons stated above no one thinks of the Better Solution.

This sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899875)

Ayn Rand would disagree with this...

Not retroactive (2)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#43899877)

The CRTC has opted to not make this retroactive to existing contracts, so if you're currently on a contract, you're still screwed until it ends, and you've got to wait out the entire preexisting term and can't use the new 2 year cutout.

We still get the least service for the most money! (0)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#43899909)

We are still saddled with regulated monopolies that have no interest in competing on price or quality. Until these monopolies are liquidated, we will continue to have poor service and high prices. The Canadian regulatory system is not working! The results speak for themselves!

Mandate a change like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43899989)

All cell towers are now common carrier, anyone can use them.
All cell carriers pay into a pool to keep bandwidth capacity increasing.
All cell carriers standardize on single signal type.
All cell carriers use true names of signal type - no 4G / 5G when they are really just extended 2g or 3g.
All cell carriers capped at $20.00 a month (including all fees, charges, costs, handling, blah, blah, blah) for unlimited everything per family, regardless of number of cell devices.
Lowest priced carrier wins as everything else is the same.
No capping, no traffic shaping, no roaming of any kind allowed.

Too late (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#43900045)

After i was charged for almost $500 from Bell, i said, NO MORE. Now i avoid talking with any canadian, because as you know, no matter what you do (send/receive SMS for example), you will be charged something outrageous.

CRTC Unveils New Wireless Code To Protect Canadian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43900085)

No longer have to be stuck with 3-5 year contract. Finally! so hope end the tunnel

Koodo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43900199)

I just phoned koodo and i would need to pay 50$ to unlock my phone which i bought outright. Doesnt sound right to me

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