OTTAWA – Canadians will no longer have to pay to unlock their cell phones and other mobile devices as of December 1, the CRTC said on Thursday.
All newly purchased devices will have to be provided unlocked also as of December 1, said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
“Changes to the trial period will allow the dissatisfied customer of the supplier to cancel the contract within 15 days and return the device to near-new condition, free of charge, provided that it has exhausted less than half Of the agreed limit of his monthly flat rate, “it said in a statement.
These changes come in the wake of the updating of the Wireless Code, a mandatory code of conduct for retail mobile wireless telephony and data service providers. It created in 2013 by the CRTC.
“The changes and clarifications we are announcing today will provide Canadians with additional tools to make informed choices about their wireless services and to take advantage of competitive offerings in the marketplace,” said the CRTC Chair. Jean-Pierre Blais, in the release.
Earlier this month, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains described smartphone unlocking charges as “major irritants” for consumers.
“Canadians will have more choice and will be able to easily switch wireless service providers. This measure will also increase competition among suppliers, which could result in lower prices for consumers, “he said in a statement.
The unlocking fees are usually around $50.
According to major telecom players, this practice is necessary since it reduces the risk of fraud related to the subscription and sale on the black market of the devices.