Happy (Canadian) Cellular Freedom Day!

(Cellular) Freedom

Okay, so the photo above may be overstating things just a bit, but it’s still an auspicious day for mobile phone users (aka everyone) in Canada. If you’re one of the 2.2 to 4 million customers on Bell, Rogers or TELUS (or their subsidiaries) who is 24 months or more into a 3 year contract, today is the day you can walk away without penalty, all thanks to the CRTC’s Wireless Code.

But wait, there’s more!

Any new subscriber can now hand back their phone and walk away from a contract within 15 days of signing up. If you choose to stay on, then after 90 days your carrier must provide the means to unlock your phone—that’s right, your expensive subsidized phone can now be unlocked by your carrier.

There are now mandated caps on data overage and roaming charges. The customer must be notified when they reach $50 in data overages and/or $100 in data roaming charges within a single billing cycle, and must give their express consent to pay additional fees above and beyond these caps.

Finally, there are numerous guidelines now in place to ensure that documents from your carrier like contracts and bills are written in plain language that is easier for the customer to understand.

These changes might seem rather obvious to you and I, but apparently not so much to the Big Three. Watch these sound bites from CRTC hearings and be amazed:

Disclosure: I do some volunteer news-gathering for Open Media.

Oh, and one more thing: If you were under the impression that this new Wireless Code would see the Big Three forever changing their ways you’d be mistaken. Those BYOD promos that Fido, Koodo and Virgin were running to lock up customers in advance of today? Yeah, they’re gone now. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Further Reading:

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