My Wireless Code Report Card Report

CRTC Logo (2011 version)

This week the CRTC released a report card on how well Canadian carriers have implemented this country’s (relatively) new Wireless Code. This story has already been covered on iPhone in Canada and Mobile Syrup; I thought today I’d go into just a little more detail for you all here.

While perusing the CRTC’s website I was surprised to find this very simple breakdown of the Code for consumers. It may not be new, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it in such plain language:

As a postpaid customer, you have the right

  • to cancel your contract at no cost after a maximum of two years
  • to cancel your contract and return your phone at no cost, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if you are unhappy with your service
  • to have your phone unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if you paid in full for your phone, at the rate specified by the service provider, upon request
  • to have your service suspended at no cost if your phone is lost or stolen
  • to receive a Critical Information Summary, which explains your contract in under two pages
  • to receive a notification when you are roaming in a different country, telling you what the rates are for voice services, text messages, and data usage
  • to limit your data overage charges to $50 a month and your data roaming charges to $100 a month
  • to pay no extra charges for a service described as “unlimited”
  • to refuse a change to the key terms and conditions of your contract, including the services in your contract, the price for those services, and the duration of your contract

Your contract must

  • use plain language and clearly describe the services you will receive
  • include information on when and why you may be charged extra

As a prepaid customer, you have the right

  • to cancel your contract at no cost after a maximum of two years
  • to cancel your contract and return your phone at no cost, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if you are unhappy with your service
  • to have your phone unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if you paid in full for your phone
  • to have your service suspended at no cost if your phone is lost or stolen
  • to receive a notification when you are roaming in a different country, telling you what the rates are for voice services, text messages, and data usage
  • to a minimum seven-day grace period in order to “top up” your prepaid card account and retain your balance

Your contract must

  • use plain language
  • clearly describe the conditions that apply to your prepaid balance and how you can check your balance

So, on to the report card. Here are the carriers who reported:

Bell Ice SaskTel
Bell Alliant Koodo Sagetel
Brook Mobilicity Solo Mobile
Bruce Mornington TbayTel
Chatr MTS Telus
Cityphone Northerntel Tuckersmith
Eastlink On Star Télébec
Execulink PC Mobile Videotron
Fido Public Mobile Virgin
Hay Quadro Wightman
Huron Rogers Wind

Of these 33 Canadian carriers (!) there were but 3 citations of non-compliance—two from Rogers and one from Bell:

International roaming notification – Rogers does not currently have processes in place to allow customers to opt out of receiving these roaming notifications. Rogers noted that it is working on a solution and could have one as early as the end of 2014.

When disconnecting may occur – Rogers indicated that it may disconnect customers between 6am and 2am (ET) instead of between 8am and 9pm local time (9am and 5pm on weekends) as required. Rogers has indicated that the changes could come into effect as early as October, 2014.

Trial period – Bell is not fully compliant with the trial period requirement because its customers may be subject to a penalty if they return their device during the trial period. Bell noted the changes could be in effect as early as October 19, 2014.

It’s not clear exactly what the consequences are for non-compliance. The CRTC says only that they will “follow-up” with the non-compliant carriers.

If you remember, the Wireless Code was first tabled in June of 2013, and applied to all contracts signed on or after December 2nd of that year. Now, some ten months later, consumers are reaping the benefits of two-year terms, albeit at significantly higher prices.

For more information, along with a fancy PDF download, you can check out the CRTC’s Wireless Code Implementation Report Card right here.