This is wireless week in Canada with the CRTC unveiling its consumer wireless code on Monday and Industry Minister Christian Paradis scheduled to make an important wireless announcement on Tuesday morning in Ottawa. In anticipation of the focus on telecom issues, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) assessed whether Canada’s failed wireless policy can be saved.
The column opened by noting that earlier this year, Industry Minister Christian Paradis released the Canadian government’s strategy to increase competition in the wireless sector. Acknowledging the challenges, Paradis promised to “continue to pay close attention to what is going on and to make sure that our policies reflect the fact that we want to achieve the goal of having more competition.”
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Appeared in the Toronto Star on June 1, 2013 as Can Canada’s Failed Wireless Policy Be Saved? Earlier this year, Industry Minister Christian Paradis unveiled the Canadian government’s strategy to increase competition in the wireless sector. Acknowledging the challenges, Paradis promised to “continue to pay close attention to what is […]
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The CRTC released its much-anticipated consumer wireless code this morning. While much of the code remains unchanged from an earlier draft proposal, the headline-grabbing change is that the Commission has effectively brought three-year contracts to an end. The issue of contract length was the top issue raised by consumers, who argued that Canadian wireless contracts were longer than most other countries and that they represented a significant barrier to effective competition.
While the incumbent wireless carriers argued that consumers like three-year contracts, the CRTC sided with consumers. Effective December 2, 2013, consumers will be allowed to terminate their wireless contracts after two years with no cancellation fees. The ability to cancel with no further costs should result in two years becoming the standard for a long-term wireless contract. It will be interesting to see how quickly the carriers implement this change as smart consumers may decide to delay signing new contracts unless they are protected by the new wireless code if the carriers insist on retaining early cancellation fees in the final year of a three-year contract until the code takes effect.
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