Freedom Mobile Wants CRTC to Remove Unlocking Fees

The Review of the Wireless Code, which started in 2013, took place this year in Gatineau, Quebec. During the meeting, Freedom Mobile’s senior vice-president of regulatory Bob Boron said that the CRTC should do away with all unlocking fees.

In a statement, Boron said:

“Freedom’s suggestion on this issue is that the Commission take the bold step and completely do away with unlocking fees altogether and require that unlock codes be provided by carriers free-of-charge on request. Further, carriers should be directed to stop ordering devices from OEMs that are locked. This is typically an optional feature offered by handset vendors. We have consulted several large handset vendors and they have indicated that they would be happy to sell unlocked phones.”

Further, carriers should be directed to stop ordering devices from OEMs that are locked. This is typically an optional feature offered by handset vendors. We have consulted several large handset vendors and they have indicated that they would be happy to sell unlocked phones.”

The solution proposed is a fairly straight-forward one: carriers should stop ordering locked devices from OEMs. Currently, carriers are charging a $50 fee for unlocking a device.

“If the Commission amends the Code to prohibit unlocking fees and to mandate that all future devices be sold unlocked, this will enhance market dynamism, foment customer choice, and discipline the market in a very considerable way. This one amendment will undoubtedly enhance the Code’s effectiveness in the short term and in the longer run.”

For Freedom Mobile, the move would be beneficial because it would allow customers to switch from a large carrier by simply registering for a bring your own device (BYOD) plan.

Do you think the CRTC should mandate the removal of unlocking fees in Canada? Let us know in the comments below.

[via Mobile Syrup]

A software engineer with a passion for creation and innovation using technology. To learn more about me, check out my personal website, which contains links to my projects. Email: nick@iphoneincanada.ca

  • mrideas

    Totally agree. They already charge you a device balance fee if you leave early so locking is unnecessary.

  • DoctorT

    Yes. This would be perfect. Or at least to add a clause that unlocks phones once the tab/balance is paid off.

  • andrez1

    It should be none of their business what I do with the phone I bought with them, as I will either fulfill my contract requirements or pay the penalty. If I want an unlocked phone so I can travel the world and do what I want with MY phone, why should I have to pay a fee to do that? I already bought the phone. No matter how you slice it, I’m paying the cost of the phone somehow. Why is an extra fee permitted to remove a monopoly?

  • raslucas

    A nice, bold step for freedom. A self-serving one, but still. They just trying to decrease the cost of churn for the incumbents. All in all this move would increase competition in Canada for cell carriers. Not huge amount but I think that’d work a little.

  • raslucas

    Yes. I think basically we’re talking about the cost of getting out of a plan. Like you should be able to just pay off your cell phone and it’ll be unlocked. I understand what phone locking is for in contracts, but they gotta unlock phones for free if it’s paid off.

  • raslucas

    Ya. But they should inspect that too. It should truly be the cost of the actual device that you pay to leave a carrier contract. It’s definitely clearer now than it used to be but we still have a few things to fix.

    It’ll hit the incumbents pretty hard too at the gain of Freedom. Freedom will be able to spend more money on their network and rise further. Consumers like me will have more bartering power when I’m looking for my next phone and plan.

  • Albemarle

    I have never understood why the phones were locked in the first place. Not to protect the telco as the contract protects them.

  • Chrome262

    Exactly, and they would get them faster, no need to spend time locking them. Hell could even be cheaper

  • Kael

    UNLOCK NOW! They should never have been locked to a specific carrier in the first place. Remove contracts and make everything month to month!

  • fmanowhereman

    Because it “encourages” customers to be “loyal” and return and simply reup their plan. It’s not about leaving mid-contract, it’s about retaining the customer base.

  • Larry

    I buy my iPhones unlocked direct from Apple. Saves around $300 versus paying the 24 month contract fee and allows me to put in a foreign SIM card when I travel. In 17 years with Fido I have only been on contract once and that was to get the iPhone 3G. Never again.

  • Bill___A

    I buy my iphones unlocked directly from Apple and don’t sign a contract, I get a discount for bringing my own device, it works for me. I am not a big fan of locked phones, but nor am I a big fan of having carriers that have a tiny network getting regulators to prohibit locking or charging for unlocking codes when it is a thinly disguised ploy to give them more business. One of the reasons the big three cost so much is they have vastly superior networks to the tinier ones which means a costlier infrastructure. And yes, they are in it to make a profit. I would like to see their prices lower but I don’t see how cannibalizing their business by making it easier for people to use a company other than them is going to help the matter. If Freedom mobile wants to allow people to save money, perhaps some of the same types of proposed regulations should apply to cable companies (Freedom’s parent) who is no stranger to having high bills for consumers. How about if I can connect any company’s cable box up and get cable from other providers?

    Would having all of the mobile phones in Canada unlocked increase the theft rate? It would surely make them a big target.

  • Mario Super

    Absolutely they should. This is like buying a car and them saying you can can only drive it in the dealership parking lot and if you want to drive on the street you have to pay more. Absurd.