Canadians pay some of the highest wireless rates of any G7 nation, and to add insult to injury, they often have to shell out $50 or more to unlock cellphones when switching operators. However, the nation’s wireless regulator, the CRTC, has now ordered carriers to unlock devices for free and decreed that all new smartphones must be sold unlocked. The move was prompted by excoriating public criticism on unlocking fees after the CRTC requested comment on new wireless rules.
“That’s called a ‘Ransom Fee’ or ‘Hostage Fee’ in any other business,” one person wrote, as noted by the CBC. “It is unbelievable how the government allows these companies to extort money like this!” Telecoms notably made $37.7 million CAD ($28.5 million) in unlocking fees, a jump of 75 percent since 2014.
Carriers disagreed with the CRTC, saying “we think it’s a lot more appropriate that people who actually have their device unlocked bear the cost of the unlocking,” said Rogers VP Howard Slawner. He failed to mention, however, that carriers are the ones that lock devices in the first place, and anyway, the CRTC is banning that, too.