CRTC is on the right track with its draft code for mobile wireless services

TELUS welcomes the draft code released by the CRTC today in its ongoing public consultation on a set of baseline rules to govern consumer contracts for wireless services. TELUS has been clear in its support for a code and we believe that the CRTC staff has done a very good job of distilling the many comments submitted into a balanced discussion draft.

While we will have detailed comments on the draft code once we’ve had more time to review it, we are supportive of the Commission’s approach, which appropriately leaves most matters of price and competitive differentiation outside the scope of the code.

In its news release today, the CRTC identified four key consumer benefits that Canadians have proposed that the wireless code provide. Here is our perspective on them:

A clearer understanding of their wireless services and fees

  • We agree. We have already re-written our contracts and service terms in clear, easy-to-understand language and simplified device upgrades with our Anytime Upgrades policy.

The ability to unlock cellphones on reasonable terms

  •  TELUS’ unlocking policy gives customers the freedom to unlock their device and use it when they travel (for example) without jeopardizing manufacturers’ warranties.
  • The draft code contains an option relating to unlocking of “out-of-contract” devices that we will review.

The ability to set a cap on additional fees, such as those incurred from long-distance calls, usage of voice minutes, text messages, data usage and roaming

  • TELUS already provides an extensive suite of usage notifications designed to help customers manage their usage of the services that have the greatest potential to lead to “bill shock” – data usage and roaming.
  • In the case of international data usage, we proactively block further usage at set thresholds, beyond which the customer must re-enable service.
  • We have concerns about proposals in the draft code for notifications relating to voice minutes and text messages. These would take significant time and expense to implement, and in some forms may not even be possible.

Online tools to monitor usage and any additional fees

  • TELUS provides extensive online tools to help customers manage their services and control charges.
  • We also publish a complete list of our Clear and Simple Service Fees online, and several services are available free if done online.

I encourage you to have a look at the draft code and add your voice to the conversation, on the CRTC’s site or ours. The oral hearing phase of the CRTC proceeding starts on Monday, February 11th and the TELUS panel is scheduled to appear that afternoon. A webcast of the hearing should be available on the CRTC’s site.