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Canada Government Wireless Networking Your Rights Online

Rogers Joins Telus In Seeking National Regulation 53

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cheaper-to-buy-off-one-set-of-politicians dept.
silentbrad writes "Canada's largest mobile service provider is urging the federal telecom regulator to implement a mandatory national consumer protection code (PDF; actual filing with the CRTC) in order to defuse the threat posed by a growing hotchpotch of provincial regulations for wireless services. Rogers Communications Inc. submitted that proposal to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in an application late Thursday. In doing so, Rogers becomes the second major carrier to ask the CRTC to resume active regulation of the terms and conditions for wireless service contracts, a practice it largely abandoned during the 1990s. Nonetheless, those regulatory powers, while latent, remain in the Telecommunications Act, meaning the CRTC can still exercise its authority over those matters."
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Rogers Joins Telus In Seeking National Regulation

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Honestly I would have thought Telus' request to be a move knowing it would cause problems for Rogers, seeing as Telus and Bell have a reciprocal network sharing agreement and so tend to collude on most matters.

    I have to be missing something here.

    • Re:Surprising. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @06:56AM (#39336923) Homepage Journal
      You're missing the fact that the CRTC is a captured regulator [wikipedia.org].
      • Exactly. What more proof do you need than Rogers and telus ASKING to be regulated by the CRTC?

    • Much harder to successfully bribe several provinces than it is to bribe one government entity; particularly true if your lobbyist already own said entity.

  • Oooh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @05:34AM (#39336713) Journal
    When groups of incumbent telecom providers gather together to protect consumers, it's usually to protect consumers from the distraction of non-incumbent providers striving to provide superior and less expensive service.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It is easy to manipulate a single Federal regulator than all those pesky provinces. No business seeks to protect consumers, just themselves. If they say otherwise it is just spin.

      • Re:Oooh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SeaFox (739806) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @05:46AM (#39336753)

        Yup. They want a convenient one-stop-shop for all their politician-purchasing needs. Plus, it's more difficult to bribe local leaders who might personally be effected by the Telco's tyranny and have their own interest in seeing more competition.

        • Re:Oooh (Score:5, Informative)

          by zill (1690130) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @06:17AM (#39336823)

          They want a convenient one-stop-shop for all their politician-purchasing needs.

          "Purchasing" isn't exactly the right term here. The CRTC chairman was an Assistant Director at Bell and a President at Rogers. He's still technically working for Rogers and Bell, except at a fancier government office that's all.

          • Oh I am so relieved to hear there is no conflict of interest involved in his appointment or execution of his office. Who appointed him?

            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              Not to argue that there isn't a conflict of interest, but I guess that the alternative would be to appoint someone who hasn't worked in the telecom industry. I'm not sure which would end up worse. Having someone in charge who is old friends with the people running the telcos, or having somebody in charge who has no idea about telecommunications networks are run, and has never worked in the business.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      When groups of incumbent telecom providers gather together to protect consumers, it's usually to protect consumers from the distraction of non-incumbent providers striving to provide superior and less expensive service.

      Got that right. Remember the Industry Canada wireless calculator? No?

      Basically it was an online tool that helped consumers figure out the best deal on their cellphone by letting them compare apples with apples.

      Just over a month ago, the Harper Government killed it. Not that it was overbudget

  • Getting the cheap/free cellphone in Canada often involves signing up for long 3 year plan with huge penalties if you quit early.

    I'm not sure of all the provinces, but I know that both Quebec and Manitoba have new laws in place requiring better contract disclosure and limiting those penalties.

    I suspect that Rogers and Telus are afraid the other provinces will enact the same or stronger legislation.

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @06:57AM (#39336927)

      Ontario has one up for debate with tri-party support in the legislature right now. While the specifics are different, the essentials are the same as the Manitoba law. One thing I'm particularly fond of is the changes to the early termination fees, which they're looking at turning into an extra charge on your monthly bill. Essentially like the Koodo Tab, only with it being a real charge on top of the monthly fees, so that when you're not on a contract, you pay less.

      Rogers probably realizes they can't win this one. In the long run, every province will go this way. What they probably want is for the CRTC to enact a national policy so that they don't get stuck with the administrative hassle that is having 12 separate contract fee and termination structures.

      • by Mabhatter (126906)

        Because 12 different sets of rules are so complicated? The USA has 50 different sets of rules... And it seems to me manageable ... I'd call BS!

        • by Xeranar (2029624)

          Not really, the FCC and FTC regulate most of this stuff. That's why contracts are standard state-to-state in the US. If anything this is clearly what Canowhoopass.com is writing about. I read the PDF quickly and it sounds like they want to go back to the old rules of if you break a contract you need to pay for your subsidy and a huge fee to offset its cost. This is clearly a grab-back move where they lost to the provinces and now want to grab back by having the federal government give them their old rul

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        by realityimpaired (1668397) Alter Relationship on Tuesday March 13, @03:57AM (#39336927)

        Ontario has one up for debate with tri-party support in the legislature right now. While the specifics are different, the essentials are the same as the Manitoba law. One thing I'm particularly fond of is the changes to the early termination fees, which they're looking at turning into an extra charge on your monthly bill. Essentially like the Koodo Tab, only with it being a real charge on top of the monthly fees, so tha

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @08:34AM (#39337329) Homepage
      If you live in a major city, there's always Wind, Mobilicity, or any of the other in-the-city providers. Their rates are amazing, especially if you use data. The downside is that their rates are only good if you're within the city limits. Many people I know think that's a big problem. But personally, for the few times a year I leave the city, I'm happy paying the roaming rates, or just not using my cell phone. If I was in the position where I had to use my phone a lot, like for a job, my employer would be covering the fees, and they can use whichever provider they want. But for personal use, I'd much rather stay away from RoBellus
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @06:53AM (#39336917)

    A "hotchpotch" is a mutton stew. Do you mean a "hodgepodge"? :-)
    Lesson: Never edit when you're hungry :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by andy.ruddock (821066)

      From oxforddictionaries.com

      hotchpotch

      (North American hodgepodge)
      noun
      1 [in singular] a confused mixture:
      a hotchpotch of uncoordinated services

      2a mutton stew with mixed vegetables.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Only in /. does a news snippet about mobile telephony regulation quickly morph to a discussion of etymology and usage of a word for "stew"

        (smile when you say that son)

  • in order to diffuse the threat posed by a....

    I can see it now in their boardroom:

    The Board: "Gahh! The threat! The Threat! It is so opaque and solid! What will we do?"

    VP for Regulatory Affairs: "I know! Let's diffuse it!"

    VP for Queen's English: "Wait, don't you mean 'defuse [merriam-webster.com]?' "

    CEO: "Quiet, peon! I agree; let's diffuse [merriam-webster.com] the threat!"

    The Board: "Yaaaay! More bonuses!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I worked for a local canadian ISP for many years. We could buy local-loops from the incumbent phone company for 12 dollars per line, per month, and sell DSL. Or, we would have been able to if the incumbent decided that "those are alarm loop lines only.". the crtc should have leveled the playing field by saying that one line is one price, not 2 prices for 2 different industries. the carrier wanted to charge 160/mo per line (when they sold dsl for 40/mo to end-users) to us, and 12 to alarm companies for liter

  • by Tyr07 (2300912) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @09:59AM (#39338239)

    Of course they want national laws. It'll be much easier to screw customers over if they can figure out national loopholes, a lot less work for their legal team.

    • They can't even keep their own policies straight.

      I'm trying to unlock an old Fido (subsidiary of Rogers) iPhone from a deactivated account. It's an official, permanent factory unlock that costs $50.

      4 different customer service reps, 3 different courses of action. Two of them tried directing me to sketchy $15 unlocking services in malls--but I'm 99% certain that's just a jailbreak + unlock (which I could do myself), which is lost if ever the phone software is updated or restored.

      I can't believe how many road

      • by Tyr07 (2300912)

        Locking is something the firmware does.
        Locked phone = unable to use other companies sim cards.
        E.G you update to that particular companies firmware when an update comes out, you're locked again.

        So, either way. If you can unlock it yourself, then you're good to go.

        • This is an iPhone, so the carrier doesn't have its own custom firmware. There's a few carrier-specific config settings that get updated from time to time, but that doesn't contain the lock/unlock status.

          The jailbreak+unlock isn't available for all iPhones, especially newer ones or older iPhone models with an updated iOS and modem baseband.

          Apple keeps a list of which IMEI numbers are locked to which company. Through this official unlock, Fido and Rogers customers, after satisfying far too many conditions, ca

          • by Tyr07 (2300912)

            So what you're saying is that the...firmware....is locked.

            Kudos that they can tell the firmware to unlock.
            But replacing it, all the same....

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @12:11PM (#39339675)
    I have zero doubt that this is a ploy to create a system where newcomers have to "respect" a regulatory regime that would make newcomers behave just like the incumbents.

    One of the things that the old players probably fear the most is newcomers doing "evil" things such as offering data at a low price without making the customer first sign up for a bunch of crap they don't want. Also I can see them somehow figuring out a ruleset that makes 3 year contracts a de-facto standard.

    In Atlantic Canada I am counting the days until I can dump Telus for one of the two new players coming this spring.
  • In some ways Canada' s policies and agencies are far more progressive and useful than their American counterparts, however some of them just make me cringe. The CRTC is a prime example, I didn't think you could be more of the telecoms little bitch than the FCC, but apparently you can. When the companies from the industry you are supposed to be regulating ask you to regulate (aka do your job) you know something is wrong.
  • When anyone has to comply with multiple regulations for the same thing conflicts can and usually do occur. One regulation may focus on one aspect and give the industry a break on another aspect while a second regulation may do the exact opposite.

    For example;
    Province A regulation states the maximum contract length is 2 years and the maximum monthly penalty is 1/12 of the contract value. This regulation focuses on the contract length while giving a break on the cancellation penalty.
    Province B regulation state

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