• Now That Carrier Locks Are Gone Heres What The CRTC Can Do Next

    For mobile users in Canada the biggest news story of the week, perhaps the year, is a new decision by Canada's Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to free users from carrier locks on their devices starting December 1st, 2017. Even better, effective this date new users who are unhappy with their carrier will be able to return their hardware and walk away at no cost, so long as they've used less than half of the data bucket on their monthly plan.

    It's not hard to see what the CRTC is trying to do here, to force Canada's Big Three carriers to compete more honestly on the strength of their networks, and hopefully price. I don't actually think that the price thing is going to play out like the CRTC wants it to; if recent history has taught us anything we know that carriers will always find a way to make up for lost revenue at the expense of their customers. In other words, come December 1st plan prices will almost certainly go up.

    And while it's probably out of the question for the CRTC to regulate plan prices, they could perhaps regulate data overages.

    Currently our Wireless Code mandates that carriers notify a customers when their data overages reach $100, and the customer must give their express consent to go over that limit. The unfortunate fact about that is data overages have gotten so expensive in this country that it's way too easy to reach the $100 threshold. I'll use two currently desirable Big Three plans as examples.

    If you hadn't heard, Public Mobile is once again offering a promotion on their 90 day prepaid plan that effectively gives you 4 GB of data per month for $40. Since it's a prepaid plan you won't be dinged for extra data; you have to purchase it yourself in increments of 200 MB or 1 GB. But that extra 1 GB will cost you a whopping $30. On a $40 / 4 GB plan that just doesn't make sense.

    Or take Koodo's Qubec-only limited time offer of 6 GB for $49, available to anyone anywhere in Canada who's willing to jump through a few extra hoops. If you go over that 6 GB data allotment Koodo will charge you $5 per additional 100 MB, or an even more egregious $50 per GB!

    Three years ago the standard data overage charge was a mere $10 per GB; what else but a Big Three cash grab can explain the skyrocketing rates? We need an intervention to stop this madness, and I'm hoping that the CRTC is up for the task...

    Links: CRTC (1) (2)

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Now That Carrier Locks Are Gone Heres What The CRTC Can Do Next started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Ipse's Avatar
      Ipse -
      Videotron charges a whooping 150$/GB n overages....it's mental!
      It's almost a conspiracy to burn the 100$ cap in 5 minutes so you'd have to pony up more money if you want to use your phone.
      Overages should be limited to either what the GB costs in your plans, or as you suggested, a reasonable 10$/GB.
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      I don't think it is unreasonable for the CRTC to regulate rates. They did it for decades with landline local and long distance rates and with payphone rates (for those old enough to remember those). They also regulated wholesale access rates for landline ISPs. Not a stretch, given those areas, for them to extend into wireless rate.

      I posted this in another thread, but it seems applicable here:

      Although the unlocking fees generated millions of dollars, this is peanuts for the carriers. But they will likely try to recoup it, or rather exceed it, though new fees.
      -New $50 SIM fees and SIMs expire every 2 years. This would generate massively more money since not all customers unlock though the carriers and all customers need new SIMs. Only viable if all of the big 3 and their flankers agree to this new charge at the same time.
      -New $50 admin fee, on top of all existing admin fees, for buying a phone through a carrier. Slightly reduced if you buy it on contract.
      -New $50 activation fee for all new lines. Again only if all of the big 3 do it.
      -Even higher rate plans, but that would happen anyway.

      There will be a lot of collusion coordination between the big 3 to make this work for them.