Rogers And Fido To Offer Post-Sale iPhone Unlocking

by Gaurav Kheterpal on December 17, 2010

Canada’s largest carrier, Rogers and its subsidiary Fido might soon allow their customers to unlock their iPhones for a fee of $50 (plus tax). The only catch is that you have to be at the end of your contract or have paid the full unsubsidized amount for your device.

New Democrats are celebrating the major reversal of Rogers’ policy as a moral victory for their Cell Phone Freedom Act. They are also calling upon Telus and Bell to follow suit in order to “catch up with their competition – and the rest of the world.”

Though there’s a hefty fee involved, I believe Rogers unlocking the devices is a massive step in the right direction for the Canadian wireless industry.

In the past, Rogers has categorically denied any plans on unlocking devices post sale. Now that the carrier has taken a U-turn on its earlier stand, it is understandable that Rogers has kept this announcement a rather muted affair. Unlocking the device would allow customers to switch to another carrier after their contract commitment period has expired or they have paid the full unsubsidized cost for their handset.

It is believed that Rogers and Fido will let customers unlock their devices by calling its help line. The carrier will subsequently pass the request to Apple and once it’s been approved, users can then restore their device using iTunes to remove the restrictions.

Since most carriers adopt a three-year contract and levy a substantial early termination fee, it would be interesting to see if Rogers’ new unlocking policy finds many takers. Of course, there’s always an option of getting your phone unlocked without involving your carrier. eBay offers unlock codes for $2 and if you are even minimally tech-savvy, jailbreaking and unlocking an iPhone is no rocket science. Canada holds the dubious distinction of being the only developed country where wireless carriers lock all mobile phones sold. NDP believes it’s a restrictive trade practice and I couldn’t agree more on that.

The “Cellphone Freedom Act” bill was introduced by NDP MP Bruce Hyer in June of 2010. The bill called for wireless operators to unlock phones without a charge when contracts expire. Despite Rogers charging customers for unlocking devices, NDP believes that it’s a “massive step” forward. The party is now calling upon Telus and Bell to start unlocking their full range of handsets without fees. Bell already offers an unlocking facility for $75 while Telus plans to launch a similar program in 2011.

I, for one, applaud Rogers’ initiative to support post-sale device unlocking and I hope that it would soon eliminate the hefty $50 fee. Whether other carriers will follow suit, I do not know but I hope they do. After all, it’s all about increasing options for consumers and competition. Your thoughts are welcome.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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Telus Commences Unlocking Some Phones — TheTelecomBlog.com
August 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

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rav June 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I know this is an old article but you might want to add a little update to the top letting people know that this is completely not true. Just call Rogers, they will tell you.

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