Wireless Code Should Apply to Existing Contracts Mobilicity Says

by Istvan Fekete on February 15, 2013

The Wireless Code, which is currently under public debate, should be applied retroactively to customers under contract when the code is finalized and comes into place, Mobilicity’s Anthony Booth, chief customer officer said.

“The federal wireless code must apply retroactively to all new and existing contracts for post-paid wireless contracts, and all new and existing contracts for prepaid wireless service to the extent applicable,” Mr. Booth said during the CRTC hearings.

Considering that Mobilicity doesn’t lock its customers into long-term contracts, you can imagine the incumbent carriers’ position: Bell, Telus and Rogers have said that when implemented the commission’s code should only apply on a prospective basis, and not be applicable to customers already under contract.

Their argument is based on legal and technical issues their company could face due to the retroactive implementation, as many current contracts were entered into before the code was even conceived.

“For older contracts we wouldn’t be able to property calculated what the device balance is because we wouldn’t have that information”, said Ted Woodhead, Telus’ senior vice-president for federal government and regulatory affairs. “We would have to go back and re-sign every single one of our customers who would fall into that category… Those are two very large operational issues.”

Rogers’ position on this issue was represented by Ken Engelhart, the carrier’s senior vice-president of regulatory affairs, who said that applying the code retroactively would cause an “IT nightmare”.

Bell, obviously, is in favour of prospective implementation, and its vice-president of regulatory law, Jonathan Daniels, said that the CRTC has no authority to enforce a retrospective implementation of the code.

The incumbents’ position is pretty straightforward: Since the vast majority of their clients are locked into three-year contracts, they don’t want to implement the code retrospectively, as they expect a certain revenue from these contracts and do not want to disturb this part of their business. However, they are indeed open for a prospective implementation.

Mobilicity, on the other hand, has shed light on the incumbents’ policy, through the company’s director of legal affairs, Gary Wong, who said the big thee are rushing to sign customers to long-term contract before the code gets finalized, assuming it isn’t going to be applied on a retroactive basis.

“If the code applies only to new contracts or renewed contracts up to the effective date of the code, there will be promotions to try to attract customers to sign up to longer-term contracts to delay the application of the code,” Mr. Wong said.

Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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