Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Cell Phone Freedom Act: : a small step or a giant leap in Canadian policy making?

Cell Phone Freedom Act: : a small step or a giant leap in Canadian policy making?

Ratings: (0)|Views: 304|Likes:
Abstract

The SIM lock is a popular practice of mobile phone manufacturers; they lock a SIM card to restrict the use of phones to specific providers. A code (PUK) can provide the consumer with wireless freedom.

In Canada, it is not illegal for a consumer to unlock the SIM card on a cell phone. Yet, not a single carrier unlocks phones; locking the phone to a carrier is also not illegal.

Canada is the most expensive place in the world to have a cell phone plan, Canadians use their cell phones more than consumers in most other countries, and Canadian wireless telecom companies have the highest profit margins in the developed world.

This paper will analyse Canadian policy making in the telecommunications sector and argue poor market regulation. It will also analyse the failing efforts from the Canadian Government to adequately regulate competition by allowing practices like SIM locks, which restrict consumer choice.
Abstract

The SIM lock is a popular practice of mobile phone manufacturers; they lock a SIM card to restrict the use of phones to specific providers. A code (PUK) can provide the consumer with wireless freedom.

In Canada, it is not illegal for a consumer to unlock the SIM card on a cell phone. Yet, not a single carrier unlocks phones; locking the phone to a carrier is also not illegal.

Canada is the most expensive place in the world to have a cell phone plan, Canadians use their cell phones more than consumers in most other countries, and Canadian wireless telecom companies have the highest profit margins in the developed world.

This paper will analyse Canadian policy making in the telecommunications sector and argue poor market regulation. It will also analyse the failing efforts from the Canadian Government to adequately regulate competition by allowing practices like SIM locks, which restrict consumer choice.

More info:

Published by: Jan André Blackburn-Cabrera on Feb 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

11/23/2013

pdf

text

original

 
 
 Int. J. Liability and Scientific Enquiry, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2012
1 
Cell Phone Freedom Act:
a small step or a giant leapin Canadian policy making?
Jan André Blackburn-Cabrera
Fauteux Hall,57 Louis Pasteur St.,Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, CanadaE-mail: jan.blackburn@gmail.com
Abstract:
The SIM lock is a popular practice of mobile phone manufacturers;they lock a SIM card to restrict the use of phones to specific providers. A code(PUK) can provide the consumer with wireless freedom.In Canada, it is not illegal for a consumer to unlock the SIM card on a cell phone. Yet, not a single carrier unlocks phones; locking the phone to a carrier isalso not illegal.Canada is the most expensive place in the world to have a cell phone plan,Canadians use their cell phones more than consumers in most other countries,and Canadian wireless telecom companies have the highest profit margins inthe developed world.This paper will analyse Canadian policy making in the telecommunicationssector and argue poor market regulation. It will also analyse the failing effortsfrom the Canadian Government to adequately regulate competition by allowing practices like SIM locks, which restrict consumer choice.
Keywords:
network lock; GSM; unlocking; jailbreaking; telecommunications;mobile phones; Cell Phone Freedom Act; Canada; SIM lock.
Reference
to this paper should be made as follows: Blackburn-Cabrera, J.A.(2012) ‘
Cell Phone Freedom Act:
a small step or a giant leap in Canadian policy making?’,
 Int. J. Liability and Scientific Enquiry
, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.1–21.
Biographical notes:
Jan André Blackburn-Cabrera is an LLM Candidate atthe University of Ottawa’s Law and Technology Center. He has writtenextensively on domestic and international issues associated with social mediaand wireless technologies. Previously, he acted as a Student Legal Counselfor the Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Puerto Rico, where he providedrepresentation for indigent clients. Currently, he volunteers at the CanadianInternet Policy and Public Interest Clinic which specialises in copyright andcyber law.
1 Introduction
The SIM
1
card is a small computer chip found inside almost every cell phone. It is thecapability built into the GSM
2
global standard to allow for worldwide cell phone servicecoverage. The use of SIM cards is mandatory in GSM devices and most carriers
only
useGSM-capable devices. The SIM
lock 
3
is a popular wireless telecommunications practice
Copyright © 2012 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
 
 2
 J.A. Blackburn-Cabrera
where cell phone manufacturers restrict the
use
of phones to specific countries andnetwork providers by locking the SIM card.In Canada, it is not illegal to unlock the SIM card on a cell phone. Unlocking a cell phone is done to use the phone with another carrier and it is
legal 
because it is
not illegal 
.Therefore, anyone who wishes to unlock their phone to change the SIM card
can
do it, but at their own risk. It is also important to note that a simple code (called PUK code) can provide the consumer with wireless freedom. Yet, not a single Canadian carrier unlockstheir phones or provides this code to their subscribers. And they have a lot of subscribers.According to a recent report from IE Market Research (IEMR) Corp., Canada is predicted to have 30.7 million mobile subscribers by the end of 2014. The number of wireless subscriptions would be about 33% higher than at the end of 2009.
4
Notsurprisingly, IEMR also predicts
 Rogers Wireless
,
Telus Mobility
and
 Bell Mobility
willcontinue to have a 96% market share by the end of 2014, identical to its market sharetoday. IEMR predicts that:
Rogers Wireless will increase its subscriber market share from 37.2% in 2009to 37.8% in 2014; Telus Mobility’s market share will increase slightly from28.6% in 2009 to 29.1% in 2014; Bell Mobility’s share of total subscribers willdecline from 30.2% in 2009 to 29.1% in 2014. The researchers predict that bythe end of 2014, Rogers Wireless will see its subscriber base increase from 8.58million in 2009 to 11.6 million in 2014.
5
The report also says mobile users in the USA and Canada tend to pay more for acomplete cell phone package than anyone else in the world. According to the report“mobile users in the US need to pay at least $59.99 for a complete cell phone packagethat includes voice, text, and data […]. Users in Canada must pay $67.50 – the onlycountry to top the US”.Certain industry policy makers find it impossible to believe that Rogers, Telus andBell will maintain such a massive share of the marketplace despite the entrance of newwireless competitors such as Wind Mobile, Public Mobile, Videotron and possibly Shawin the coming year. But these numbers mean that ‘The Big Three’ have
exactly
96% of the entire Canadian wireless cell phone market. This is incredible power over the cell phone consumer and they can effectively execute marketing and business service modelsthat are anti-competitive that limit and restrain competition and provide service withoutthe consideration for the consumer.According to the New America Foundation and its Open Technology Initiative reporttitled
 An International Comparison of Cell Phone Plans and Prices
6
, Canada ranks #1 asthe most expensive place in the world to get a cell phone plan
7
. The average Canadian pays $4.80 monthly for 250 texts. In prepaid terms, Canadian rates average at $0.14 per text. In terms of minutes, monthly averages for Canadian consumers are paying onaverage $38.70 for 250 minutes. The prepaid calling average was $0.38/min. Thesenumbers are outrageous compared to the rest of the world. In Singapore, for example,
 prepaid prices
range from 9 to 16 per minute. As far as texting, service prices rangearound the $0.03 per domestic text and $0.11 per international text.Transparency continues to be a big issue for Canadian telecoms alongside expensiveservice. A recent example of change due to consumer pressure is Telus’ new “axing [of]the System Access Fees (SAF) and the carrier 911 fees” and promoting “the price you seeis the price you pay”. With the Telus
Smartphone Plans
([which] includes voicemail, callwaiting, conference calling) “you pay
only
$50 per month and you will get: 100 localanytime minutes – 50 bonus anytime minutes – unlimited local talk and text with
 
 
Cell Phone Freedom Act 
3
 
five numbers or unlimited incoming and 1,000 outgoing text messages or double anytimeminutes – unlimited nights (9 PM) and weekends, and a full 500 MB of data”.
8
Only $50.These prices are
 still 
expensive and the amount of daytime minutes the averageCanadian gets with a cheap cell phone plan is laughable. Canada also ranks in the top of the average for 
minutes of use per subscriber account 
. This is very meaningfulinformation for the market because it means maybe Canadians use their phones too much.Of course, this is fantastic news for The Big Three.According to the 2007 OECD Communication Outlook Report, Canada ranks ninthin cost of service for medium intensity users of the 30 OECD countries. Meanwhile, in2008, wireless telecomm revenue was 40.3 billion dollars and remained the largestrevenue component of Canadian telecommunications revenues with 40% of the market.CanadianBusiness.com’s
 Rich 100 List 
ranks the ‘Rogers Family’, (RogersCommunications, Inc.) as the #4 richest in Canada with a net worth of 6.02 billiondollars.
9
2 Public policy in Canada
Canada is the most expensive place in the world to have a cell phone plan, Canadians usetheir cell phones more than consumers in most other countries, and Canadian wirelesstelecom companies have the highest profit margins in
the developed world, at 45.9%
.
 Yet, it is a country with an expected growth rate of 33% in mobile subscriptions over thenext five years.
These are warning signs for regulation
. The Canadian wireless market isin peril of higher prices and poorer service with little motivation from telecom executivesto change their minds about prices and certainly unlocking. It is important to analyseCanadian policy in all its phases to comprehend the reason behind the little to no cell phone regulation and the efforts from the government to provide competition. It is just asimportant to note that not all public policy struggles are solved through legislation andgovernmental regulation as media pressure and consumer-oriented policy pressures canlead to a faster change in the market.
2.1 Canadian regulators: Canadian Radio-television and TelecommunicationsCommission’s wireless service policy
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
 regulates and supervises Canada’s telecommunications and broadcasting systems andreports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Industry. According to their website, its mandate is to ensure that both thetelecommunications and broadcasting systems serve the Canadian public. The mandatesays: “[I]n telecommunications, the CRTC ensures that Canadians receive reliabletelephone and other telecommunications services, at affordable prices”.According to their own website, the CRTC’s role in telecommunications is‘evolving’. In these cases, The CRTC regulates only where the market does not meet theobjectives of the
Telecommunications Act 
.
This statement seems to mean that they careabout reliable and cheap service for wireless telecommunications, but it means the marketdoes not need to be regulated. In the CRTC’s website, under 
Cell Phone or WirelessTelephone Services: Rates, Quality of Service and Business Practices
,
says they do not

Activity (2)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->