Canada adopts $50/month data overage cap, is immediately dubbed ‘genius’.

by: Nate SwannerJune 3, 2013

Canada adopts $50/month data overage cap

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:

  • Terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees, even if they have signed on for a longer term
  • Cap extra data charges at $50/month and international data roaming charges at $100/month to prevent bill shock
  • Have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full
  • Return their cellphones, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service
  • Accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract (i.e., 2-year), and
  • Receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.

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.

  • Roodly Philogene

    Now here comes the conservatives blabbing about free market.

    • Zero0

      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.

  • Gilles LeBlanc

    As a Canadian who uses wireless for all data “Hotspot and smartphone” I’m so happy right now.

  • Tee El

    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.

  • Phill

    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.