Sometimes the carriers surprise me. Other times, not so much. Recently, Canadian carriers announced that they start to provide an unlocking service for $50. However, it can only be done once your contract has run its course or if you buy the phone outright then you can pay the fee and have it unlocked. But wait! If I bought the phone outright, why should I have to pay the $50 fee? The idea behind locking is to prevent people from picking up a phone, signing a contract for a reduced price and then running off to another carrier. If I pay full price for the phone, then why is it even locked? I paid full price, I should be allowed to take it to whatever GSM network I choose.
I’ve unlocked many a device over the years and this is not a new process. You can typically unlock a device online for as low as $10 and as high as $30. It depends on the device and the carrier it’s locked with. So, where does this $50 fee come from? Who, in their right mind, creates a new product/offering and decides to charge MORE than the competition? And not just a little more, we’re talking about $20-$40 more. I’m sure they will sucker some people into paying that fee, but most people that know about unlocking the phone will know that they can get it cheaper elsewhere.
Sadly, this is just another example of how Canadian carriers are screwing over their customers. From 3 year contracts – not heard of anywhere else in the world, to overpriced services that can be found elsewhere for less. I was really hoping that the entrance of new carriers would shake things up a little more than they have been able to do. While it has helped with a reduction in pricing, there is still a long way to go with their networks and therefore, they haven’t really been a serious threat to the big three.
It would be nice if we could see some governing body stand up for the consumer and show the big three that these tactics will not be tolerated. The CRTC would have been a good place for this, but they have already proven to the Canadian people that they are more interested in serving the views of big business and not of the Canadian people. With any luck, we’ll see the new additions applying more and more force on the big three and in a couple years time things may be different.