CRTC provides greater protection for wireless consumers
March 4, 2021 – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Today, the CRTC clarified that the Wireless Code applies to all device financing plans sold with a wireless service plan, including plans over 36 months. Device financing plans must comply with all relevant protections of the Wireless Code to ensure consumers are fully protected.
The Commission has also established that device financing plans are similar to device subsidies when determining early cancellation fees under the formula established in the Wireless Code. To ensure that customers know what early cancellation fees to expect, the same protections will apply.
The Wireless Code requires early cancellation fees to be reduced to zero within 24 months. Within the 24 months, you may need to pay an early cancellation fee and it will be calculated according to the formulas set out in the Wireless Code.
The Wireless Code was created by the CRTC to make it easier for consumers to prevent bill shock, get information about their contracts from their provider, and ensure their provider is living up to their associated rights and responsibilities.
“One of the core principles of the Wireless Code is the ability of customers to take advantage of competitive offers in the marketplace. We want to ensure that device financing plans are not being used to keep customers with their current provider at the end of their service contract.”
Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC
Wireless service providers will have one month to update their contracts and documentation and train their staff to reflect this determination.
The CRTC also requests the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) to separately track complaints related to device financing plans.
The Wireless Code was created in 2013, and reviewed in 2017, as a mandatory code of conduct for all wireless services providers.
According to the CRTC’s Communications Monitoring Report, the 5GB mobile package subscribers paid a monthly average of $48.82 in 2019, a drop since 2016 where the monthly average was $77.47 for a similar plan.
In 2018, the CRTC directed the national wireless service providers to offer lower-cost data-only mobile wireless service plans and encouraged them to continue to improve their offerings to respond to consumers’ needs and expectations, including those with lower-income household.
Also in 2018, the CRTC set final rates for the wholesale roaming services that Bell, Rogers and Telus provide to other wireless service providers. This was done to help foster competition and ensure that other providers can offer broad or national coverage to their own customers.
In 2019, the CRTC launched a hearing to conduct a comprehensive review of the wireless market and a decision is forthcoming.
A device financing plan is not portable. In that sense, a customer cannot have a device financing plan with one provider and enter into a wireless service plan with a different provider.
- Show cause proceeding and call for comments – The Wireless Code – Device financing plans
- Government of Canada proposes new CRTC direction to put Canadians at the forefront of future decisions
- Canada's new government issues policy direction to CRTC that calls for greater reliance on market forces
- Telecom Commission Letter regarding device financing plans
- Consumer Rights for Mobile Phones
- Telecom Commission Letter regarding fees for customer support interactions
- CRTC puts an end to locked cellphones and unlocking fees
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2017-200 - Review of the Wireless Code
- Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2013-271 - The Wireless Code
- Telecom Decision CRTC 2018-475
- Telecom Order CRTC 2018-99
- Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-57
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