If you’ve ever looked at your monthly cellphone bill and wondered where those extra charges came from, you’re not alone. Maybe it was going over your SMS limit, or call minutes. Increasingly, the culprit is data. As our mobile devices get more data hungry, and mobile providers offer less of that precious cell sustenance, we’ve got to throttle ourselves.
In Canada, there is new wireless code, issued by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, allowing customers to have a $50/month overage limit. That would stem the threat of a massive cell phone bill, but the new code doesn’t stop there. The full breadth of changes afforded to customers are:
Canadian customers are, unfortunately, still routinely saddled with three-year contracts. The ability to terminate freely after two years, or return a device within 15 days, brings them more in line with our methodology, which we’d be smart to reciprocate. The language about easy to read contracts is nice (though I still suggest prepaid), and the data caps are a stroke of genius. Let’s hope to see these two things adopted by US carriers, but not hold our breath for it.
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Now here comes the conservatives blabbing about free market.
Free market is irrelevant here because of the limited spectrum. (Yes, high frequency spectrum is plentiful and speedy, but is far too expensive to practically install.) The nature of the cellular market basically forces an oligopoly. Only a few companies get high penetration spectrum, and fewer could possibly afford to install a zillion cells to get a worthwhile network running on spectrum far above 2KHz.
Then again, loosen permit laws and maybe installs become cheaper. That’s part of why cable based Internet in the Americas is so slow and expensive.
As a Canadian who uses wireless for all data “Hotspot and smartphone” I’m so happy right now.
This fails to point out that these are GUIDELINES recommended by the CRTC, and they have no force of law behind them. Canadian carriers are not obligated to follow them. Nothing to celebrate yet, unless they actually put them into practice.
There’s also a mention that subsidized devices’ value will be the lower of either the manufacturer’s suggested retail value or the store’s sale price.