Bell Offers Free Unlocking for All Customers Following Backlash from Consumers


Following protests from current and former customers, Bell has expanded its unlocking policy so that anyone with a cell phone locked to its network can get the device unlocked for free. The only restriction to this is that the device may not be associated with a fraudulent or delinquent account.

In an email, Bell spokesperson Marc Choma said:

“We recently implemented a system of further checks to validate that the device is not linked to a fraudulent or delinquent account.”

Bell’s original policy sparked the criticism because it excluded anyone who never signed up with Bell but acquired a device that happened to be locked to its network.

Toronto telecom analyst Rose Behar said that the original policy from Bell was not in the spirit of the CRTC’s mandate. Behar continued to explain why Bell quickly reverted their approach:

“The other two telecoms — the other two major competitors — were offering second-hand device unlocking for free, which then spurred some customer indignation.”

Bell did not respond to Behar’s claims, but it seems clear that the carrier was definitely motivated to change its policy because of public pressure.


On December 1, the CRTC made it mandatory that all telecoms drop their unlocking fees, which were $50 at the time.

[via CBC News]


  • Aleks Oniszczak

    I recognize the location in the photo and I’m happy to report that the Bell store pictured is no longer there. It’s now a much better use of space – a nice little cafe named Baka.

  • FragilityG4


  • johnnygoodface

    And guess how many of those will be inked to a fraudulent or delinquent account? About 99%! You’ll see that’ll be their excuse not to unlock your phone!

  • I waited until 90 days passed before asking for the unlock; this was helped by my 100% perfect payment record over 5 years and beyond. A few years ago, I deliberately scheduled my trip out of country for 90 days plus one, as a sign of good faith on my part.

    For that, I was rewarded very kindly by my major provider, which I am still with to this day.

  • Howell Cobb

    I currently have a complaint before the CRTC about the failure to unlock my phone by Bell – a device that is neither delinquent or fraudulent but rather a device that has been with Bell since the day I got it over 3 years ago. Although they may say they will be unlocking devices, in practice that are finding ANY reason not to do it.