Canada’s wireless regulator, the CRTC, has ordered carriers to unlock devices for free and all new smartphones must be sold unlocked. This is good news to all Canada’s cellphone users because in addition to having to pay some of the highest wireless rates of any nation, they would also be charged $50 for wanting to have their phone unlocked when switching users.

This change was made due to the backlash received from wireless users who have been charged $50 to unlock their phone. Canada’s Telecom has reportedly made approximately $37.7 million CAD ($28.5 million) in fees unlocking phones which has increased by 75% since 2014. Vice President Howard Slawner of Rogers Wireless in Canada had this to say regarding the banning of the fee, “we think it’s a lot more appropriate that people who actually have their device unlocked bear the cost of the unlocking,” however, Slawner conveniently did not mention that it is actually the carriers who lock the phones before giving them to the customer.

Canadian wireless networks are no strangers to backlash from customers regarding their policies, but recent changes in Canada’s CRTC have begun to favor the consumer more when it comes to usage of their device, a recent internet scam from service provider Videotron was recently ruled against by them on the grounds that it violated the neutrality of the internet.

In 2013 a review of a plan to help limit cellphone fees for consumers was what originally started the fee for phone unlocking, the plan decided that only the account holder could consent to being charged anytime there was an over data usage charge as well as requiring service providers to cap international roaming charges (charges to the bill when in another country trying to find a signal) at $100 and fees at $50 unless the customer agrees to pay more. During a CRTC conference back in February Canada’s leading service providers Rogers Wieless, Bell Canada, and Telus all stood in support of their unlocking fees and even stated that if they did not charge an unlocking fee for those who required it then the fee would have been charged to everyone. Luckily CRTC is still enforcing their decision to ban the unlocking fee and should end in the near future.

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