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New Wireless Code Allows Canadians to Cancel Their Contract After Two Years

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After many months of meetings, debate and drafting, the Wireless Code has finally reached its final form and was published by the CRTC this morning. The code will apply only to new contracts for cellphones and other personal devices, starting December 2, 2013.

The new wireless code applies to all wireless industry players and finally brings the highly anticipated end to three-year contracts: it allows individuals and small business consumers to terminate their contracts after two years without paying cancellation fees, even if they have signed for a longer term.

“Every day, Canadians rely on wireless devices while in their homes, at their jobs, at school or travelling abroad,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “The wireless code will contribute to a more dynamic marketplace by making it possible for Canadians to discuss their needs with service providers at least every two years. The wireless code is a tool that will empower consumers and help them make informed choices about the service options that best meet their needs. To make the most of this tool, consumers also have a responsibility to educate themselves,” Mr. Blais added.

Also, the wireless code aims to address bill shock for roaming charges — remember that $22,000 bill – so, under the new rule, individuals and small business consumers will be not only be able to cap international data charges at $100 month, but also to cap data charges at $50 per month.

Also individual and small business consumers will be able to:

  • have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full
  • return their cellphones, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service
  • accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract (i.e., 2-year), and
  • receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.

The aim of the Wireless Code was to protect mobile subscribers, as when it comes into effect on December 2, 2013, it will establish basic rights for all wireless consumers and puts new requirements on service providers.

You can read the Wireless Code as published on CRTC’s website. The agency has also prepared a checklist to explain your rights as a wireless subscriber.

What do you think?

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  • f1ght3r

    Finally the crtc did something worthwhile for Canadians

  • zzzz

    So, does this 2-year cancellation thing apply if I renew the contract after Dec. 2, 2013 or do I need to cancel the whole contract and sign again???

  • wearsy

    Nicely done crtc.

  • Setak

    It does apply, because the new contract you will be renewing after this date will automatically be maxed out at 2 years.

  • pegger1

    It won’t be maxed at 2 years. You can still sign 3 year contract but you’ll be able to cancel after 2 years without a cancellation fee. And I’m pretty sure cancellation fee is separate from any subsidy on the phone.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Until the Big 3’s lawyers find a loophole of just include it in the phone subsidy.

  • ryanrobert

    I’m not sure how this will play into hardware upgrades. The new Wireless Code allows you to cancel your service. That means your phone number is gone and you are no longer a customer. If you wanted to upgrade, you are signing a new contract and continuing with your existing phone number. I’m predicting that they will limit hardware upgrades until the end of your contract with the alternative being to cancel your contract and sign another. Since you’d lose your phone number the providers are betting that you won’t do that. I know you can transfer your number to a new provider but I’m not clear how that would work in this case.

  • crosseyed_mofo

    no indication of cost for unlocking

  • pegger1

    This won’t affect your phone number. Or I should say it will affect your phone number as much as it currently does. You were always able to cancel your contract. Difference is with this you’ll be able to do it without cancellation fees after 2 years.
    The way most do hardware upgrades won’t matter either. You can hardware upgrade anytime, if you pay off the subsidy on your current phone. I’m sure that will continue to be the case. Although they may reduce the subsidy to 2 years, meaning you have to pay more up front.

  • Al

    I don’t suppose this will apply to existing contracts?

  • Rich Munro

    I’m confused about the 90 days unlocking. I am assuming you can unlock it 90 days after you sign the contract and not 90 days after your contract ends? So on a two year contract, you can unlock the phone 90 days after signing the contract? I suppose that is good, but why would you need to unlock so quickly?

  • howso

    I think they will raise the rate plan sharply.

  • Ray

    If you travel a lot, like I do, it makes it easier to use local service providers.

  • reformcanada

    Still needs to be scrapped.

  • FragilityG4

    No the article says no activations only

  • Sidney R.

    Happy to see the unlock policy for devices that we pay full price however they forgot the extra 30 days charge that some companies charge when we port out our phone numbers.

  • Guest

    it’s going to be free when you pay full price

  • Peter Pottinger

    No change, plan still $90+/mo, choice between 3 carriers that offer the same “plan”

  • f1ght3r

    Can’t have it all,
    man. It’s a good to see we won’t be forced into 3 year contacts anymore. The only way plan rates will go down is competition, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon with the big 3

  • Dan

    You’re a chump if you are paying that much per month.

  • Yep. Filing a complaint with the CCTS can reverse that–we’ll have a post upcoming on this.

  • Two year contracts most likely means hardware costs will be higher up front for smartphones.

  • hank

    totally agree on that. all the carriers need to do is make that 2-year mark their basis point.

  • Sidney R.

    I tried doing that a few months ago and it didn’t work :S

  • einsteinbqat

    About time!!!

  • Ray

    All carrieers are offering unlocking now for a fee.

  • Al

    No, I meant getting out of an existing 3 year contract.

  • Chrome262

    should of back dated it a two years, so those of us stuck in contracts now can benefit

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