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CRTC's new code fails to connect with CBC News readers

Categories: Community, Science & Technology

mi-300-cellphone-istock.jpgThe CRTC's new code of conduct for cellphone companies didn't quite connect with readers when it was unveiled today.

The code means customers can:

  • Terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees, even if they have signed on for a longer term.
  • Cap extra data charges at $50 a month and international data roaming charges at $100 a month to prevent bill shock.
  • Have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full.
  • Return their cellphones, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service.
  • Accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract (i.e., two-year), and receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.

It will come into effect starting in December.

Or will it? Readers weren't convinced.

  • "Please call the paramedics when I pass out and nearly die from holding my breath...," wrote jiminy12.
  • "Finally, if it does come to be," added Acayenne.
  • "Looks good at first glance, but let's see how the enforcement part goes," said Canukistani.

For others, the new contract is "not enough" but "a good start" (imneverwrong) in improving consumer options for cellphones.

"Baby steps," offered MikeBleskie.

"Looks like we have been thrown a bone ... not much, but it's a start," allowed small L liberal.

Many readers seemed glad to have the CRTC in their corner, saving their skepticism for the providers.

  • "Let me guess - Bell and Rogers will use this as an excuse to dramatically raise their rates," ventured IvanNano.
  • "Am I the only one who foresees the Big Three [Rogers, Bell, Telus] finding a way to circumvent these 'rules' in fairly short order?" asked ExPat Medic. "We don't have a 'fixed term' with a penalty... We have a 'sliding xyz' with an 'administration yoohoo'.... Oh and lookit - our mascot is sooooo cute...."
  • "If you ask me, cell phone bills anything over $50 a month is ridiculous," said gmcsierra. "Even with this shorter contract, phone companies will find another way to take your money. Hike service prices, costs of phones, etc."
  • "Can anyone else see the monthly bills going up to compensate for the cost of phones?" asked doupetrob2010. "A 3-year term usually encompasses the cost of a phone and to pay that off over 2 years vs. 3 years will obviously boost one's monthly bill. Looks like the old adage of pay me now or pay me later will still run true."
  • "The wireless companies are the same as the banks," added Rusher. "They already have a list of new ways to skin customers out of their money. They will just add new ways to cover the losses from the rule change."
  • "This is a great start, but I believe the telecoms will just raise prices in order to offset the 'losses' this new set of rules will bring in," wrote Ranma^. "After all, they are only making millions of dollars profit per quarter, and the stock holders demand that they make more money. Canadians pay some of the highest fees in the world, and our telecom coverage is worse than some third world countries."

Ranma^ wasn't the only one to point out Canada's high mobile fees.

  • "This is a start but they really need to look at the cost," suggested HabFun. "We pay way more for cell phone usage in Canada than they do in the States!"
  •  "This is it?" demanded commsen. "Two years' contract cancellation, and $50 a month cap on data fee, is giving the consumer nothing. Bring our monthly fee in line with the rest of the world would be something. CRTC must sit on the board of directors for these companies."
  • "The cost of cell phone services in Canada is a shame for a country that prides itself for Alexander Graham Bell," wrote H.Barca. "Subscribers in Europe and the U.S. are shocked when they see our cell phone plans.
  • "What about everyday usage? That isn't going down?" asked Toronto_Pundit. "This is not good enough."

Readers had other suggestions for providers:

  • "And what of the mystical 'System Access Fee'?" asked RevBrian. "Why are Canadians expected to pay twice for a phone/data plan they've already paid for? When will the CRTC rule that we no longer have to pay that?"
  • "The plans should be cheaper for people who buy their phones outright," declared Quila467. "Better yet, the cost of subsidizing the phone for those who get the phone for 'free' should be a separate line item on the invoice."
  •  "How about a level playing field for new Canadian start-ups?" asked Poffii22. "There wouldn't be a reason for all these rules if there was adequate competition."
  • "While we're throwing out wish lists, how about this: Why isn't it possible for a Canadian provider to have an agreement with an American provider to share networks?" asked flipper72. "Then, I can use my phone in the U.S. without roaming and vice versa."

Thanks to all those who submitted their comments and shared their thoughts. How would you improve Canada's mobile service contracts? Leave your suggestions in the field below!

Tags: Community Reaction, Technology

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