CRTC Regulation of Cellular Phone Rates sign now

Although rates and tarrifs for cellular phone providers are not regulated by the crtc a cellular phone provider still meets the definition of a telecommunications provider under the Telecommunications act in Canada.

"27. (1) Every rate charged by a Canadian carrier for a telecommunications service shall be just and reasonable."

However with certain cellular data transfer services this simply is not the case. Often times with mobile browsing services unlimited usage plans are scarce or non existant with most providers in Canada.

One might find that the charge for 5 megabytes of data transfer they will pay 5 dollars as is the case with one provider for example or 10 dollars for 10 megabytes. In the example of either plan additional data is charged at 3 cents per kilobyte which on paper seems trivial.

However in both cases if you were to unwittingly use double the usage rather than pay twice as much the end result would be a usage fee on the bill totalling 31.7 times the original plan cost. With no other type of service in Canada is double the contractually agreed usage charged at a rate of 31 fold. Given the speed of service, the inability to monitor usage on the handset itself and the lack of notification by the cellular phone providers the scenario of doubling the usage as lined out in the plan is very common.

At 56 kilobytes per second (most mobile internet transmissions are significantly faster) it would take only 3 minutes to download 10 megabytes. 6 minutes to donwload 20 megabytes. These would describe higher quality music and video files now supported by and solicited on consumers by these same providers.
Both of these scenarios would result in the example of accumulating an exorbitant charge (of 150 dollars and 300 dollars respectively.) In mere seconds. In many cases these data charges apply to files and services already being provided at a price by the provider. These providers do not solicit the ability to discontinue the afforementioned services upon reaching the data transfer limit nor is any attempt made by the provider to notify these individuals. Often times consumers end up receiving a bad credit rating after they are placed into collections with exorbitant phone bills adding up to thousands of dollars. Certain providers will not allow the use of the termination clause in the contract while a large outstanding balance is present, a fee for being placed into collections is incurred by the subscriber and monthly charges as outlined in the contract continue to be charged to the individual as well as exorbitant interest rates while the individual attempts to pay off the bill.

To put things into prespective 10 megabytes is the equivilent to 3 standard quality mp3 music files. Such as would be sold to somebody carrying a high end music phone.

Do these all too common scenarios illustrate the just and reasonable rates demanded by section 27 of the Telecommunications act? Or do they represent a thorn in the development of the great telecommunications infrastructure needed to keep Canada a great and sovereign nation? At best right now Canada is an international laughing stock when it comes to mobile phone services.

Have you ever or do you currently have an exorbitant phone bill? Or did you read the fine print but are disappointed that your high end handset you bought for yourself or somebody else is useless due to these restrictive rates? Has your credit been ruined by an exorbitant phone bill causing you to put a large purchase on hold? Are you afraid to press certain buttons on your cellular phone because you might be hit by rediculous usage charges?

After your service provider fails to resolve your issue you can then go to the CRTC and be refered to a private panel which low-and-behold is made up entirely of the very companies that failed to resolve your issues in the first place. It would be literally the equivilent to a womens protection group sending you into a room full of abusive husbands for advice.

After some research it is obvious that you are not alone. This isn't just bad for you, it's bad for Canada. It is retarding the technological development of Canada, making this great country a laughing stock in terms of cellular phone service.
It is bad for Canada because it destroys some peoples credit and hurts the economy by delaying important purchases such as that of a house or a car.
It is bad for Canada because it takes enormous sums of money from consumer pockets that would otherwise go towards some of Canada's flagship industries such as energy or technology or agriculture, industries that could turn this money into additional revenue for the government.
It is bad for Canada because it shakes consumer confidence when a company sells an '8 gigabyte phone' that would cost nearly half a million dollars to fill,( a quarter million if you have an internet plan.)
It is bad for Canada when these telecom giants can stomp around unchecked buying up and prostituting our country.

It is the claim of the CRTC(Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) that cell phone providers are not regulated because it is 'such a competitive industry'. Unfortunately in any sport, in any game, in any contest there is no competition if each team can decide for themselves how many points each of their own goals is worth. There is no competition without a firmly written rule book and referee's to make sure those rules are enforced. Without CRTC regulation the cell phone market is not a game rather but recess. There are no winners during recess, only bullies.

This is a petition demanding that the CRTC immediately gets involved in rates in the Cellular phone market. Placing caps on plan exceedance fees and thus protecting consumers.
We also demand that a numerical definition of "exorbitant charges" come into effect and that definition be over 50\% of the rate specified in the contractual agreement, we demand that this cap prevent tariffs from exceeding the specified ammount. We demand that retroactive repayments be ordered of any exorbitant charges made against consumers by the cellular phone providers. They may claim these repayments would damage their bottom line but if these companies are unable or unready to bring Canada back into the 21st century then they should pull over into the slow lane and let somebody else by who can. We are the people, the highest level of order in a democractic government.

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Deidre WhitakerBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
Canadian Government/Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

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