Cellphone Unlocking Now Free in Canada Thanks to CRTC Wireless Code

The day Canadians have been waiting for has finally arrived: cellphone unlocking is now free in Canada, as devices must also be sold unlocked as well.

This is all thanks to the CRTC Wireless Code, as new enhancements have gone live. Gone are the days of paying $50 to your wireless carrier to unlock your iPhone or other cellphone.

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Here is what you need to know about today’s December 1, 2017 changes: 

  • (NEW) Limit on data & roaming charges – The account holder, by default, is the only one who can consent to data overage and data roaming charges beyond the established limits (capped at $50 in Canada and $100 International roaming).
  • (NEW) Unlocked cellphones – Mobile devices unlocked free of charge, upon request, and all newly purchased devices unlocked.
  • (NEW) Trial period – Use up to half of your monthly usage during the trial period.

Other Existing Wireless Code Rights

  • No cancellation fees after 2 years – You can cancel your contract after 2 years with no cancellation fees – even if you have agreed to a longer term.
  • Clear language – Your contract and related documents must be provided to you in plain language.
Note that Rogers and Telus recently asked the CRTC for extensions in late November for applying these new Wireless Code enhancements. Both companies are citing shared accounts make it difficult to apply the code in time since billing systems will require updates, asking for extensions into spring of 2018.
In 2016, wireless carriers generated $37.7 million in unlocking fees, from 943,000 requests to unlock devices. As of today, that unlocking revenue is gone for carriers, and some customers suspect prices may increase elsewhere to make up for lost revenue.
With all cellphones capable of being unlocked free of charge now, customers will no longer be tied down to a specific carrier, as they have in the past.
If you need to get your phone unlocked, contact your carrier for details. Let us know how the experience goes (they will be busy). Read more about the CRTC Wireless Code here.
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