CRTC Promise of Free Phone Unlocking Doesn’t Apply to Everyone: Bell


The CRTC’s promise of free phone unlocking after December 1st seems to come with a few caveats.

Several customer have been turned down by Bell because the telecom will only unlock phones free of charge for current and former customers. The policy also excludes anyone who signed up with Bell using a second-hand phone, even if the phone was locked to Bell’s network.

Bell also turned down Laura Train-Fraser was a former customer because they couldn’t confirm that she was once a customer. In a statement to CBC News, Train-Fraser said:

“It’s ridiculous. I just think they’re finding whatever loopholes they can to get around this.”

After CBC News asked Bell about the issue, the telecom quickly unlocked Train-Fraser’s phone for free.

In the past, telecoms would charge a fee of $50 to unlock a device. Telecoms were required to eliminate unlocking fees after new rules were introduced earlier this month by the CRTC.

However, it seems that the rules behind this policy are quite unclear. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) says it’s aware of the issue and has filed a complaint with the CRTC, asking it to clarify its unlocking rules.

Have you had any trouble unlocking your device after December 1st? Let us know in the comments below.


  • Russell Porter

    Picked up a bell iPhone 7, a month ago for next to nothing. It is still locked.

    First attempt was turned down because i am not a customer which is BS. It should not matter if i am a customer or not, just unlock the damn phone that i own.

    Second attempt i had a friend try to unlock the phone using their bell account on-line, that failed as bell said she had to call to unlock it. I didn’t want to bother her with trying to deal with bells horrible customer support on the phone.

    Third attempt I started using the phone as my work device and called bell after a couple weeks. After getting transfered to 3 reps, given a different number i had to call, talking to 2 reps and getting another number i had to call I finally talked to the right person. That failed as well. Bell wanted to charge me $50 to unlock because it was a corporate account.
    More BS.

    I got rid of all my bell services over 10 years ago and this just reaffirms that i would never have any type of service from them again.

  • elducker

    I’m with Rogers and recelently picked up a second-hand iPhone for my daughter. It was locked to Videotron (QC).
    I called Videotron and they unlocked it for me no questions asked…it did take longer than I’d hoped though, at 5 business days.

  • Riddlemethis

    The new unlocking rules were not in effect last month. I don’t know why you feel you’re entitied.

  • Riddlemethis

    And that’s what people should be doing: returning to the provider the device was last registered with.

  • Russell P

    Thats correct. They started Dec 1st. I did not say i tried to unlock the phone last month. I bought the phone last month with the intentions of unlocking it when the rules changed, which i tried to have done with no success.

  • Riddlemethis

    You were hoping to get something you’re not entitled to. I get that.

  • elducker

    My understanding was that carriers are now obliged to unlock any device currently locked to their network upon request, regardless of the circumstances.
    Haven’t read CRTC’s Wireless Code in detail, but that seems to be the spirit of the new law.

  • FragilityG4

    Bell is so disconnected from society. So many people complain about Rogers but honestly Bell is the worst.

  • Tony DiPierry

    I clearly explained on Dec 5. BELL is NOT unlocking any iPhone from business accounts. Only residential ones. Apparently they claim about some potential lawsuits, as per customer support. They are using loopholes as much as possible.

  • TimeLordX

    Telus won’t unlock corporate plan phones; apparently, they are allowed to refuse to do so vOv

  • poopchute

    Riddlemethis needs to spend less time posting and more time working on their reading comprehension.

  • poopchute

    I concur.

  • Richard Neufeld

    Unlocked my families 6 phones last week with Rogers. all phones were on a residential account 3 of them inactive. I used their chat support and it was a quick and easy process, no questions were asked.

  • El Cockblock

    Hi Nick, it’s spelled ‘caveats’.

    Just saying.