updated 11:15 am EST, Fri November 19, 2010
Bill 133 would require phone unlocks on contracts
A proposed new law in Canada could lead carriers and phone manufacturers to have a mandatory unlock in place under certain conditions. Bill 133 in the province of Ontario would require that carriers unlock a phone for free if users either pays full price for the device or their contract expires. Carriers would at the same time have to let customers end a contract in 30 days and could only make changes mid-contract with permission.
Providers would also have to detail the full cost of service up front, such as the generic fees sometimes added later as well as roaming rates. Cellphone users would have to be given an advance warning if they reach 90 percent of a monthly cap, such as for data, text messages or voice.
The bill, put forward by Member of Parliament David Orazietti, could potentially alter the landscape of cellphone service in Canada and would push many international phone makers to change their policies. Currently, most major cell carriers in the country aren't required to unlock a phone at all and can only sometimes perform it on request. Many will keep a phone locked even if bought at full price.
A handful of newer and smaller carriers, most notably Wind Mobile, willingly sell unlocked phones in the country.
Apple would also have to enable a rare post-sale unlock that it hasn't had to use since first-generation German iPhones. It already sells unlocked iPhones directly in Canada, but anyone buying a locked phone so far is limited to that carrier without using an unofficial approach. [via Michael Geist]