Competition Bureau on Draft Wireless Code: Ban Locked Phones, Limit Contracts

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The Competition Bureau has submitted its suggestions to the CRTC in its demand for feedback regarding the draft wireless code, published late Wednesday:

The Bureau believes that discouraging the creation of switching costs that tend to reduce customer mobility, and effectively encouraging the provision of sufficient information to enable informed consumer choice, will allow Canadians to enjoy the beneficial effects of greater competitive forces in wireless markets, including lower prices, higher quality service, and greater innovation.

The Commissioner of Competition submitted a lengthy response to the CRTC’s working paper on the draft wireless code. Below are some of the major areas it recommends the CRTC should adopt in finalizing the draft wireless code.

  • Wireless Service Contracts Should be Limited in Duration
  • Handset Locking Should be Prohibited
  • Termination Fees Should Be Minimized
  • Advertised Prices Should Disclose All Mandatory Costs
  • Limited Plans Should Not be Advertised as “Unlimited”
  • The Wireless Code Should be Reviewed After 3 Years

Earlier we told you a major concern for consumers is contract length in Canada, which remains at 3 years for the latest smartphones compared to 2 years in other countries such as the U.S., and in other wireless markets such as Australia. The Competition Bureau shared your concerns and stressed support to limit contracts lengths:

The Working Paper, however, does not contain a suggested limit on contract duration and, in fact, explicitly contemplates the continuation of three-year contracts. The Bureau supports measures to limit contract length and to ensure that consumers maintain the ability to move from one service provider to another. However, if contract lengths are not limited by the Wireless Code, then it is particularly important that contract terms and termination fees are clear and not unnecessarily restrictive, so that customers are not tied to these contracts in a manner that will harm competition.

You can still submit your thoughts regards to the CRTC’s draft wireless code by visiting here, until February 15th.

[via The Globe and Mail]