Canadians No Longer Have to Pay a Fee to Unlock Cell Phones

Canadians No Longer Have to Pay a Fee to Unlock Cell Phones

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A few months back, we covered the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) putting an end to locked cellphones and unlocking fees, a momentous decision which was to come into effect starting December 1st, 2017. That day has now passed and thus as of last Friday, the 1st of December, no longer can carriers charge to unlock any phones sold in Canada.

This makes Canada one of the first nations in the world to effectively ban carrier locked phones, as any user can simply request to unlock their device for free. What’s more, all phones sold from now on must already be unlocked and so users will no longer have to request an unlock code themselves. This is a huge step forward, especially for those who may wish to change networks at will. What’s more, with the addition of this change, legally new purchasers of a device can request to send back their device and receive a full refund within 15 days—so long as the device is sent back in a like-new condition.

Oftentimes, these official unlocks could have cost as high as $50, which means this has the potential to deal a blow to the major telecommunication companies in Canada. However, it may also have the adverse effect of raising prices for all new contracts to account for the loss of revenue from granting an unlock service.

Another change included (though this came into effect immediately back in June) is the fact that only the account holder of a shared or family plan could authorize a data overage beyond an established cap. Previously, telecommunication companies used to allow anyone to authorize this, meaning those with younger children who do not understand the increased costs could accidentally cause a data overage. This was seen as exploitative behavior by the CRTC, hence why it has since been blocked.