Late last year, David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, introduced a private members bill (133) in the legislature that seeks fairness for mobile phone users in Ontario. The Wireless Phone, Smart Phone and Data Service Transparency Act, 2010 proposes that wireless service providers be required to clearly disclose the cost of all mandatory and optional services included in an agreement, provide service agreements that are more understandable to consumers, reduce the cancellation fee charged to consumers based on a specific capping formula, improve transparency in regards to automatic renewal of the agreement, notify the consumer when they incur additional charges for exceeding the usage limits defined in the agreement, make the cost more transparent when advertising the price of wireless services, and provide the removal of any network locks on a device that has ben paid for in full or that is no longer bound by a service agreement.
While all of that is important, it’s the last one that really hits a cord with me, and I’m sure many other people. I’ve owned a great number of mobile devices over the years and I almost always pay full retail price for the device. After buying that phone at full price, it’s still locked to the carriers network which requires me to pay an additional fee for it to be unlocked. Not too long ago, I posted that the Big Three carriers will begin to charge a $50 fee to unlock any phone that is no longer bound by a contract – so once you’ve already paid full price for the phone and own it outright, you still need to pay them an additional fee to unlock it and use it on any network you choose. This bill, if passed would see that practice end. It’s bad enough that Canadians already pay more for cellular services, and we’re the only country that has 3 year contracts. Now the carriers want to take even more from you by charging you to use the phone you purchased on another network.
What can you do? Reach out to your local MPP (contact details here) and let them know that you support Bill 133 and you want to know that they support it as well. Tell them your tired of being gouged by the Big Three carriers. Tell them you want the mobile phone you own, either through the term of the contract, or by purchasing outright, to be accessible at no additional cost.