Smartphone Unlocking Fees and Locked Smartphones Banned by CRTC in Canada Starting December 1

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications, CRTC, today announced that customers will no longer have to pay carriers to unlock their smartphones starting from December 1.

From December 1st onward, any customer in Canada can ask their mobile network operator to unlock their phone without having to pay any additional fee. Additionally, the CRTC also made it mandatory that all new smartphones sold to customers should be unlocked.

Most operators usually charge a fee of anywhere between $20-$50 to unlock the smartphone of a customer. While a relatively small amount, Canadian telecoms made over $37.7 million last year through unlocking fees.

The move from CRTC came after it started reviewing its wireless code earlier this year and asked for public feedback. This led many smartphone owners to express their frustration on paying carriers an additional unlocking fee — popularly known as “ransom fee” — despite technically owning the smartphone.

In addition, the CRTC also announced that henceforth only an account holder can provide the required consent for data overage charges and additional roaming charges in a family plan. Other members of the family plan will only be able to give their consent if the primary account holder gives them the necessary approval. A cap of $100 per month on international roaming and $50/month on data overage fees was also introduced. These new caps and rules will go into effect immediately.

[Via CBC]