The Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that as of Dec. 1, 2017, all cell phones and other mobile devices sold in Canada must be provided unlocked. Further, as of that date, Canadian cellular carriers will also be prohibited from charging any fees for individual and small business wireless service customers to have their mobile devices unlocked.
Outgoing CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement, “The Wireless Code has helped make the wireless market more dynamic to the benefit of Canadians. While they appreciate the Code, they told us loudly and clearly that it could be more effective. We have listened to them. The changes and clarifications we are announcing today will give Canadians additional tools to make informed choices about their wireless services and take advantage of competitive offers in the marketplace.”
Over the past three years, almost all Canadian carriers have begun providing the service to unlock customers iPhones under certain conditions — usually after about 90–120 days on contract — but normally charge a fee of $50 or more to do so. According to the Financial Post, in 2016 Canadian carriers pulled in more than $37.7 million in revenue from unlocking fees alone, and that number has been steadily increasing. The “big three” Canadian carriers — Bell, Rogers, and Telus — did not directly respond to questions about whether they intend to challenge the decision in court, saying only that they are “reviewing the decision.” [via iPhone in Canada]