It's official: locked cellphones have been banned in Canada as of December 1, making it significantly easier to switch cellphone providers without the hassle or the pricy fees.
And with new additional wireless code changes that also came into effect this week, wireless provider companies can no longer use "unreadable" contracts that lead to unwanted surprises on your phone bill.
Back in June, The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission announced it would be banning locked cellphones in Canada, following a series of hearings in February where cellphone users complained about complicated terms of service hidden in their contracts that led to unexpected charges and fees.
With these changes now in place, all phones sold in Canada will be unlocked, while phones purchased previously can be unlocked without a charge to the customer.
But the other big change to the wireless code is all about data consent. In the new terms now in place, only wireless account holders can consent to adding additional data to their plan when on a shared family plan.
So, for example, if you and your family are on a shared plan and you're approaching the data limit, only the account holder will receive a message asking if they would like to add more data to the family plan. This feature was put into place after some users were shocked by bills in the thousands for data coverage that one person other than the account holder had consented to.
Lastly but definitely not least, the new provider rules have cracked down on those confusing cellphone contracts that nobody reads and very few understand. Creating more confusion than clarity, the new rules have now required wireless providers to simplify things. From now on, Canadian cellphone contracts must be in plan language, customers must always be given a permanent copy, the contract must clearly spell out the monthly charges and optional charges and best of all, there must be a tool for customers to determine their data usage and potential roaming costs.
All we have to say is it's about damn time.