On 11 Oct 2012, the CRTC issued an invitation to "Canadians to participate in the development of a consumer code for cell phones and other mobile devices." This launches a public consultation to obtain Canadians’ views on a new code for retail wireless services, such as cell phones and other personal mobile devices. The end of the open, public consultation process on 30 Nov 2012 will lead to public hearings to be held in Gatineau, PQ starting on 28 Jan 2013.
This recent announcement is follow-on to the consultation conducted between 04 Apr 2012 and 03 May 2012 on whether or not there was a need for CRTC intervention to ensure competition in the wireless (mobile or cellular sector). As indicated in this blog, the overwhelming public and corporate response indicated some form of federal level control was required but for very different reasons. The general public expressed concern about the one –sided nature of the existing contractual practices which they viewed as favouring the corporations while the corporations expressed concern about the Balkanization of the regulations caused by the provinces adopting their own individual set of regulations which were not always in agreement.
Elaboration of Latest Call for Consultation
The CRTC is seeking input from the public on areas that should be covered by any proposed code for retail wireless service. The CRTC specifically mentioned the following high level areas in their announcement:
a. The terms and conditions that should be addressed by a code for cell phones and mobile devices;b. to whom the code should apply;c. how the code should be enforced; andd. how the code’s effectiveness should be assessed.
The Commission also identified other areas that should be included in the code. This summary list shows some of these areas:
a. Clarity of contract terms and conditionsb. Changes to contract terms and conditionsc. Contract cancellation, expiration and renewald. Clarity of advertised pricese. Application of the Code to bundles of telecommunications servicesf. Notification of additional feesg. Privacy policiesh. Hardware warranties and related issuesi. Loss or theft of hardwarej. Security depositsk. Disconnection
Additional details about the content of the above list can be found at the CRTC webpage.
The general public may participate in the proceedings by:
b. writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2; orc. sending a fax to the CRTC at 819-994-0218.
The public inputs are published at this CRTC website.