Canadian guidelines for wireless fees, unlocking phones proposed
Just one day after the Library of Congress made it illegal to unlock cell phones in the United States, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has drafted a "wireless code" that would set limits on early termination fees and require providers to unlock phones under "reasonable terms."
CBC News reports that the code, now open to public commenting until Feb. 15, is partly based upon thousands of submitted comments from Canadians.
Under the guidelines, Canadian wireless customers would receive personalized summaries of the various stipulations of their contracts, tools to help them monitor their usage and the option to have services discontinued once a personal cap is reached to avoid overage charges.
Carriers, under the proposed rules, would only be allowed to charge earlier termination fees equal to phone subsidies unpaid and early discounts receives. Carriers would also be required to unlock mobile phones if terms such as fees and time frames are met.
Major Canadian carriers Rogers, Bell and Telus already offer to unlock phones, often requiring a fee or that customers have been under contract for periods ranging from 30 to 90 days.
The news comes as the U.S. cracks down on unlocked phones, with the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress making unlocking a cell phone illegal under certain conditions, with violators facing steep fines and possible jail time.
CTIA said the new laws are directed at large-scale operations pushing unlocked phones, but Sherwin Siy, of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, said the laws hurt individuals by further serving to lock them into contracts with carriers.