As of today, December 1, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has banned all Canadian carriers from locking phones, or from charging customers to unlock their devices.

An an example – If I take my BlackBerry KEYone to Rogers Wireless and ask them to unlock my device so I can take my business to Bell or Telus, or to sell the device to a wider range of people from other carriers, Rogers Wireless has to unlock my KEYone free of charge.

Prior to December 1, Canadian carriers would charge clients roughly $50 CAD to do this. If anyone wanted to save some money, they would be on their own to seek a cheaper alternative, such as CellUnlocker to save money and pay around $10 CAD.

Canadian carriers are likely upset

According to reports, the carriers in Canada made $37 million alone in unlocking fees last year. That was $37 million made from Canadian customers for typing in some codes into the smartphone’s phone app.

The general consensus here with Canadians is that this is a good decision, and it provides freedom to shop around and to sell smartphones. Unfortunately, we all know Bell, Rogers Wireless, and Telus (a.k.a. “The Big Three”) will find ways to make that money back, such as increasing our already overpriced plan fees.

CBC News shared a quote from Howard Slawner, vice-president of regulatory telecom at Rogers,

“We think it’s a lot more appropriate that people who actually have their device unlocked bear the cost of the unlocking.”

Really, Howard? Really?

Charging unlocking fees is a random fee

Canadians approached the CRTC years ago, comparing the unlocking fee as a “ransom fee” or a “hostage fee”. Such a practice from any other business would never fly.

Freedom Mobile has stated the unlocking fee was “toxic revenue.”

Good or bad?

Personally, I feel this is a good move. Yes, the carriers will probably try to cover their lost revenue by upping other fees. That said, I have a feeling they would have done that anyway, and they need to know they cannot get away with anything and everything.

Canadian or not, what are your thoughts on this?