The CRTC’S Wireless Code requires companies to let you know when you've gone $50 over your data plan limits, which is supposed to protect you from high data bills. But each company interprets that rule differently. Here's a breakdown for the top three:
Bell treats each phone in your family plan separately. If one phone hits $50 in data overage, Bell blocks data on that phone, but the individual can unblock the data and continue. Bell doesn’t block data again until a phone reaches $500 in data overage. Other plan members aren’t notified about data use at all.
Rogers interprets the code differently. Rogers multiplies the $50 overage cap by the number of phones in the plan, and blocks data once that amount is reached (so if you have four phones in your family plan, Rogers will block data at $200 in overage across all four phones). Rogers does notify the person who pays for the phones that someone is using extra data. Once the group cap is hit, data is blocked for all the phones in the plan, and everyone gets a text message with that information. But anyone on the plan can unblock the data, and no further notifications are sent.
Like Bell, Telus blocks overage data on phones on a shared plan individually, at $50 though the individual can unblock data. (Telus says it also blocks overage at $75 and $100). But, like Rogers, Telus also multiplies the $50 cap by the number of phones (if you have four phones in your plan, the limit would be $200) and sends a text message to everyone on the plan that the group overage limit has been reached. Each person on the plan can further consent to unblock data. After that, no further notifications are sent.