Canada’s cellphones are about to get much better than US versions thanks to a new ruling. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC), Canada’s carrier regulator, has ruled that all devices sold in Canada will need to be unlocked by carriers beginning in December.
This is a big win for consumers and shows just how far ahead Canada is ahead of US in carrier regulation.
Carriers didn’t go down quietly though, furiously fighting the decision. Rogers, Bell and Tulus continued to push their unlocking fees during a hearing back in CRTC February. It was to no avail. The new rule will start December 1 and apply to all carriers.
Prior to the new rule, carriers charged customers $38 (or 50 Canadian dollars) to unlock cellphones. This amounted to $37.7 million in fees collected by carriers for unlocking devices. Carriers love nickel and diming customers for every little service. These inconsequential fees end up adding up to millions, yet the carriers still push them for no other reason that to make more money. But that is no more—in Canada at least.
Hopefully one day the US can catch up to its neighbor and put an end to carrier-locked cellphones for good.