I’ve got some good news and some bad news for all the Canadians in the audience. The bad news is that three-year contracts for our mobile phones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The good news is that the CRTC has now ruled that you can cancel your cell phone contracts after two years of service with no cancellation fees or charges.
This comes from the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto where the CRTC issued its new Wireless Code. The Commission says that “Canadians will be able to cancel a contract at no cost to them after two years or less. The Commission considers that this will minimize the costs of switching WSPs [wireless service providers] for consumers, benefit consumers, and ultimately result in a more dynamic marketplace.”
In line with this, even if you do cancel within the first two years of your three-year contract, the penalty for breaking your service agreement cannot be more than the amount of the phone subsidy that you received for signing that contract. And this subsidy amount must be paid off before the end of those 24 months.
The new Wireless Code also contains several other useful tidbits. For example, there is a cap of $50/month for extra domestic data charges and $100/month for international roaming. Your phone can be unlocked after 90 days or immediately if you pay off the full value of the phone right away. Also, you should be able to cancel your service on the day you request it and not the usual 30-day notice that carriers usually require today.