No more locked phones or unlocking fees in Canada, wireless regulator rules

2017 is shaping up to be a good year for the global consumer. Just yesterday, roaming charges were abolished across the European Union, and now, it looks like there's some good news for Canadians as well. 

As of December 1, 2017, all new mobile devices sold in the North American nation must be carrier unlocked. In addition, Canadian telecoms will be barred from charging people with unlocking fees.

This sounds truly great, however, such practices are employed by carriers all around the world. As such, many of you might be wondering "Why exactly is this happening in Canada?".

A survey conducted by the CRTC (Canada's wireless regulator who issued the ban) established that consumers in the country pay some of the highest fees for wireless services of any G7 nation. 

CBC reports that Canadians looking for 150 minutes of monthly mobile service are paying an average of $41.08 per month. For comparison, the same wireless package costs just $17.15 in Germany. 

Furthermore, carriers in the country charge $50 or more for unlocking a device, a business which generated the equivalent of $28.5 million USD in 2016. 

Naturally, Canadian telecoms didn't agree with the ruling. Howard Slawner, VP of Rogers Wireless, was quoted saying: 

We'll refrain from making any comments on this statement, but we feel obliged to mention that carriers are the ones who are locking said devices in the first place.

What's your take on this ruling? Do you think other countries should adopt a similar stance as well? Let us know in the comments!

source: CBC via Engadget



1. sun0066

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

Greediness at its best ! ( by Rogers CEO )

2. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"but we feel obliged to mention that carriers are the ones who are locking said devices in the first place." That sums it up, Plamen!

9. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1036; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

"We think it's a lot more appropriate that people who actually have their device unlocked bear the cost of the unlocking." Had they not locked them in the first place there wouldn't be a charge to unlock them.... Damn greedy people

3. markobarko

Posts: 176; Member since: Oct 09, 2016

Here in Slowenia EU member, are all phones unlocked by law since ages. So I'm happy to see other countries are finally following.

4. tedkord

Posts: 17311; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Unfortunately, in the US now the laws are going to go the other way.

5. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Well if they were unlocked, rhere wont be any cost to unlock. Good move. I doubt thr FCC would ever do that im thr US. The corps own our aocall govt.

6. Omran2000

Posts: 101; Member since: Aug 18, 2016

Mountains of typos .....

7. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

There are still locked phones out in the wild that benefit from this ;)

8. Zylam

Posts: 1813; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Destroy Carriers and make them hurt as much as possible. Carriers are a venom in the wireless industry, they are nothing but pipelines but act as if they made the mobile. Good riddance!

10. Myphoneisonfire

Posts: 403; Member since: Sep 05, 2016

How to destroy carriers? There was an article recently about wireless operators in Asia charging 8$ a month for 60gb data and unlimited phone calls. I think India , Im not too sure.

12. Bfrenz

Posts: 285; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

Yes indeed, I agree with you, they're the vampires who we need the most. we made them big.

11. Bfrenz

Posts: 285; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

Cheers to all the Canadian readers, what will be the Bell's reply?

13. cncrim

Posts: 1586; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Greedy carrrier, like US Special Tmobile and Sprint they want to hold you by the foot when askimg for umlock, even the phone has no more obligation financed.

14. Skizzo

Posts: 403; Member since: Jul 14, 2013

Canadian user here, and this make me so happy to hear! Our monthly data plans are RIDICULOUS, and we're getting robbed at every turn. My current plan of 250 daytime minutes, and 5gb of data costs $110/month! I've been paying to have my phones unlocked for decades (if I buy through carrier which I avoid doing), as I travel often, and would rather just pop in a local sim instead of paying even more ludicrous roaming charges. Their greed is unbelievable, and any strike against the carriers, no matter how small, is welcome.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.