Canada’s Carriers Lose Legal Challenge Against CRTC Over Wireless Code

by Istvan Fekete on May 21, 2015

Rogers, Bell, Telus, SaskTel, and MTS have lost a legal challenge against the CRTC over some parts of the new Wireless Code. As a result, customers who are still locked in three-year contracts are free to shop around for better deals with any carrier without paying the remaining balance of the handset subsidy or any additional cancellation fee.

Actually, the legal challenge was launched two years ago, right after the new Wireless Code was announced by the CRTC. The code came into force in December 2013, heralding a new era in the wireless market: The end of three-year contracts and the birth of two-year wireless contracts.

The code didn’t initially apply to existing contracts, but as of June 3 this year (just two weeks from now) it will apply to all agreements, including anyone who is still locked in a three-year contract. Seeing this part of the code, the aforementioned carriers joined forces and challenged the code. It took, however, two years for the challenge to reach the court of appeals, and the judge presided over two hearings: one in November last year and one this Tuesday.

The carriers’ main problem is the phenomenon called double cohort: As of June 3, there will be up to 2 million wireless subscribers who will be able to walk away from their carriers. Telus was smart enough to emphasize its positive features, while urging Canadians to ask for more from other carriers.

After hearing the case, Justice Denis Pelletier said this Tuesday that “It is reasonable to have all customers on the same footing as soon as possible,” and noted that carriers should consider the code as a whole.

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

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