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Unlocking Your Phone What Comes Next ?

A little while back the CRTC changed the rules for unlocking cellular phone (s). Note that this is only happening on December 1st 2017, until then what is happening.

I have commented on this before, but I decided to have a close look at my Bell contract (you should look at yours as well). Here is what my current Bell Contract says on the subject (reproduced without Bell’s permission):

“Can I unlock my Device and is there a Fee?  When you purchase a Device from Bell it will be locked and can only be used on the Bell network.  If your Device was provided at a discount as part of this Agreement and your account is in good standing and your Device is eligible, you can unlock your Device after a minimum of 90 calendar days, if you pay an unlocking Fee (plus applicable taxes) of $50, or $150 if your account carries a security deposit or is subject to a credit limit.  If your Device was purchased from Bell at full retail price or you brought your own Device (originally purchased from Bell), your Device can be unlocked upon request and payment of an unlocking Fee of $50, plus applicable taxes.  If your account is past due, your Device will not be unlocked until your account balance is paid in full using a credit card.  Visit for details.”

Unlocking Cellular Phone
It costs how much ?

Let’s unwrap some of the zingers in this unlocking cellular phone clause.

  • This will cost me $50 until December 1st 2017. I am not sure if I called and talked to their customer retention team, I might get it for free, but maybe not.
  • If I don’t have good credit or have a credit limit, this will cost me $150.
  • There is an HST charge for the service.
  • I better have my account payments up to date, or they will not do this unless I pay all outstanding costs with a credit card.
  • If I got a new iPhone N (where N is the next great iPhone that just came out), I have to wait at least 90 days to have it unlocked.

My Opinion on Current Unlocking Phone Policy

I am disappointed that Bell hasn’t just declared an amnesty on unlocking, and doing it (for existing customers) for free. Given all phones will be unlock-able (and sold unlocked) in a few months, it seems, vindictive to keep charging for this service (especially to existing customers).

I will be waiting until December 1st to get my phone unlocked (I assume that it will take a while). The battery on my iPhone 5, was replaced for $50 so I will be keeping it for a while. Most likely I will be getting a new iPhone some time soon, however, I will try to find the cheapest price possible.

Feel Free to Comment

    1. To be complete the code states:
      Paragraph 315

      “For additional clarity, customers with existing contracts who already have a locked device and who wish to have their devices unlocked will be subject to the terms and conditions associated with unlocking set out in their wireless contract until 30 November 2017. However, as of the revised Code’s effective date (1 December 2017), customers with pre-existing contracts can request that their devices be unlocked at no charge.”

  1. Well the crtc website is not very helpful. “Mobile devices unlocked free of charge, upon request,”could mean customers only or all carrier locked phones. Will find out soon enough as i’m buying a used iphone SE locked to Koodo.

      1. Will do .Can’t remember the last time i bought a new phone. Ah yes last november, a cheap android that could be unlocked for $3. If Koodo won’t unlock the iphone before december 1 , i may get a prepaid account with them for a few months. Koodo has a nice feature where any voice or data add-ons that you get roll over from month to month so if you are not a prolific user of such it can be an advantage

  2. No problem going to the original carrier but my question is whether they will unlock it if you are not a customer even though the original owner was. Doubt if there will be third party sites unless the carriers contract them and pay them.

  3. Does anyone know if the carriers will still have to unlock their phones even if the person who has the phone is not a customer ?

  4. I’ve never owned a cell phone but would consider owning one should cell service become cheaper than land line service. This may never happen if one factors in the purchase price of the phone. In my perception cell phones have to replaced often, either due to malfunction, damage or just from being archaic and slow from rapidly advancing technology.

    Questions: What exactly is an unlocked phone and what are the merits to owning one over a locked phone? If buying for the first time which route is best?

    1. My apologies for not including that part, a Locked phone will only work on a specific network suppliers network (in Canada, Telus, Bell, Rogers and a few others), if you attempt to change the SIM card in it to use a different network, it will not function. This locking will be banned as of December 1st 2017, and all new phones will be sold unlocked (and the suppliers cannot charge to unlock the phone).

  5. It doesn’t take any real time for them to unlock the phone. You call and agree to the fee they make a change in an Apple database and the. You put in a non-Bell SIM card, your phone confirms your Apple ID and then it works.

    Also of note, when you put in a SIM card into an unlocked phone, you have to check the APN settings in your phone for the new carrier before data will work. Your iPhone only knows the network settings automatically for carriers that sell iPhones directly.

    1. That explains the $50 fee 😕 ? Thanks for the info, very useful to know.

      As I mentioned, not sure why Bell isn’t simply shutting down this profit centre early for their existing customers.

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