• Carriers

    by Published on 06-07-2018 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    I really hope that Rose Behar wasn't personally out of pocket to attend this year's Canadian Telecom Summit; her report to Mobile Syrup on the event clearly demonstrates just how out of touch our Big Three carriers really are. For proof, here are some choice quotes from Telus SVP of regulatory affairs Ted Woodhead (pictured above), taken from a panel on the subject of the new low-cost plans mandated by the CRTC.

    When these laughably plans were rightfully called a joke, a Bell exec said they weren't meant as such, and Woodhead took it from there:

    “1 GB is just a nice number in your head. But if the purpose is for incidental access, that’s what those plans are designed to use.”
    Woodhead elaborated with the example of a child, who would presumably have WiFi at home and school but not for the walk between one and the other.

    “That’s the exact use case we were provided with. For less than a cup of coffee a day you get 600 MB. I don’t think that’s worthy of the derision we have faced.”
    In other words we should all feel really bad for hurting the Big Three's feelings, and unreasonably dreaming of gigabytes in a reality where megabytes are clearly enough.

    What year is it again?

    Source: Mobile Syrup

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    by Published on 05-28-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    We've seen this type of behaviour before: in parts of the country where there's a strong local carrier Canada's Big Three suddenly become competitive. And that's exactly what's happening in Manitoba right now. Rogers launched the opening salvo by doubling the data on its 10 and 15GB family plans; Bell and Telus then upped the ante by offering a new 20GB shared data plan for $95/month—with a bonus 20GB. That's right, 40GB/month for $95 CAD, or $2.375 per gigabyte, along with Canada-wide calling and (probably international) SMS.

    What's different this time around is that there's actually no local carrier in this market; Bell acquired MTS last year. So what exactly is going on here?

    Daniel Bader, alumnus of Mobile Syrup and currently the managing editor at Android Central, told the CBC that these deals might simply be due to "a legacy of competition" in the province. In other words, it doesn't matter that there's no local competitor now—the mere fact that there used to be one is enough for the Big Three to offer palatable plans to the local public.

    And here I was, secretly hoping that Manitoba was being used as a testbed for more reasonable data buckets for the rest of us...

    Source: CBC

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    by Published on 05-24-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    For Moto fans, the wait is over. Kinda.

    First leaked back in January, the G6 family—that is, the G6, G6 Play and G6 Plus—were finally made official last month. But no one in North America has been able to buy one. Until today.

    The G6 is now available from Verizon, for $240 USD or $10/month.
    The G6 Play is now available from Boost Mobile, for $129.99 USD.

    As for other U.S. carriers, the G6 is coming soon to Tracfone, while the G6 Play will eventually be offered by AT&T, Cricket and Virgin Mobile—the Cricket version will be re-branded the G6 Forge for some reason. Ting and Republic Wireless will carry both the G6 and G6 Play, as will the usual big box electronics retailers that sell unlocked phones. Apparently Walmart will only carry the G6 Play.

    In Canada a carrier-branded G6 will only be available from Vidéotron, but you'll be able to score a G6 Play from Bell, Freedom Mobile, SaskTel, Virgin Mobile and Vidéotron as well. Unlocked Moto devices have traditionally been harder to find in this country, but come 2020 I'm sure there will be some refurbs available at your local Staples.

    Happy hunting!

    Sources: Android Central, Android Police

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    by Published on 05-11-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    The bad news? Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile have all raised their rates on BYOD plans—as I understand it, the new pricing applies everywhere except Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Québec. The good news? Rates have only gone up by $5/month, and the old rates are still available without unlimited calls.

    After going back to the dark side last month, securing an acceptable phone plan ($60 for 6GB), I was thinking about bumping my monthly data bucket up to 8GB before the prices went up. I paid a visit to my local Virgin Mobile kiosk where, sure enough, the prices have gone up.

    Here's a sample of the current BYOD plans:



    What's changed is that you'll have to pay an additional $5/month if you want unlimited minutes. I can't help but be reminded of Freedom Mobile's "Big Gig" plans here—to be fair, though, those Freedom plans include zero free minutes, while Fido, Koodo and Virgin will at least give you 500. Remember too that Koodo's bonus data is only good for 24 months.

    Choose your poison at Fido, Koodo or Virgin Mobile.

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    by Published on 05-08-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers,
    4. Apps



    To be fair, I don't think that my current carrier (Virgin Mobile) is even participating. I did receive an alert about the alert from Rogers, as did my neighbour on Freedom Mobile. It doesn't look like I missed much, however; by all accounts the first big tests of Alert Ready, Canada's new wireless alerting system, were a big fail.

    In Québec a typo prevented the test from being executed properly, which isn't exactly encouraging. One thing I didn't know about Alert Ready is that it's run by Pelmorex, who own and operate Météomédia and The Weather Network. If you have either of these apps installed on your phone then you should receive any emergency alert through that, even if your phone isn't Alert Ready-ready.

    In Ontario it quickly became apparent just how many phones aren't yet compatible with the technology; in my girlfriend's office exactly one phone received the test alert. My advice? Install The Weather Network app on your phone. Better to risk duplicate alerts than to get none at all.

    If you need it, carrier-specific information about Alert Ready is available for Bell, Rogers and Telus.

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    by Published on 04-30-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Yesterday Sprint and T-Mobile announced a friendly merger, more accurately a friendly acquisition of the former by the latter. The $26 billion USD all-stock deal would give T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom a 42% stake in the new venture and Sprint's majority shareholder Softbank a 27% stake, with the remainder for investors on publicly-traded markets.

    The new entity—still called T-Mobile and with John Legere as CEO—will have upwards of 125 million customers, bringing its combined subscriber base much closer to larger rivals AT&T and Verizon. That's one troubling aspect of this proposed deal, as the number of nationwide carriers would shrink from four to three. We Canadians often lament the increased competition that a fourth national player would provide.

    According to Sprint and T-Mobile, however, the deal would "spark the 5G economy", creating jobs and economic growth through investment and innovation in this nascent wireless standard. For the more immediate matter of current spectrum redeployment, someone on the T-Mobile reddit wrote a lengthy post on how carrier aggregation might work under the new venture.

    Finally, it's important to note that this deal is subject to regulatory approval. Last November the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block the proposed acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T.

    Sources: 5G For All, reddit, The Verge

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    by Published on 04-27-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Tips,
    3. Carriers



    If you need a data SIM while visiting Copenhagen, this is the one to get.

    Lebara Mobile is an MVNO that uses the Telenor and Telia networks in Denmark. It's not to be confused with Lycamobile, another MVNO that has more aggressive marketing but offers a less-generous data bucket. You'll see Lycamobile being advertised on billboards and in shop windows—you might even see staff selling them at Kastrup International Airport. But if you can resist the temptation until you get to the city centre, you'll be rewarded with 30GB of fast LTE data for a quite reasonable 149 DKK, the equivalent of about $32 CAD or $25 USD.

    The SIM is valid for 50 days and also includes 10 hours of local calls.



    I used OpenSignal to do some random speed testing when I remembered to; here's my best recorded download speed, at the Fisketorvet shopping mall. During my 10-day visit I ended up using less than 6GB, which included a whack of last-minute podcast and YouTube downloads for the flight home. I never had to rely on hotel or restaurant WiFi, either, which is always a plus.



    So where do you find yourself one of these Lebara SIMs? Any supermarket or convenience store should stock them. If you're staying at Ibsens Hotel, you can buy them one street over at this Døgn Kiosken. Remember, ignore the Lycamobile ads!

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    by Published on 04-26-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers



    The CRTC wants affordable data-only plans for Canadians, and now have proposals in-hand from this country's Big Three carriers. Here are the numbers, courtesy of Mobile Syrup:

    Rogers: $25/400MB
    BYOD
    No extended domestic coverage
    No Roam Like Home

    Bell: $30/500MB
    Available through Virgin Mobile for postpaid and prepaid (BYOD)

    Telus: $30/500MB
    Available through Koodo for postpaid (BYOD and Tab Small)
    Available through Public Mobile for prepaid (BYOD)

    This is some kind of joke, right?

    I mean, the pricing is not entirely unreasonable—that is if you put aside the connection fees that are fast becoming the new norm for getting wireless service in Canada. But for the life of me I can't fathom how 400-500 megabytes of data per month would be useful for anyone who doesn't already have a broadband connection at home.

    The plans make even less sense when you compare them to what Bell, Rogers and Telus already offer through their deep discount brands. Again, from Mobile Syrup, you can get a gigabyte of 3G data from Chatr or Lucky Mobile for only $10 more per month.

    Instead of responding to what I thought was the spirit of the CRTC mandate—to get more Canadians connected for less—it seems to me that the Big Three are just trolling them at this point. And us.

    Links: Mobile Syrup (1) (2) (3)

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    by Published on 04-12-2018 05:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Some news items of note related to Canada's last-standing upstart carrier (because Vidéotron is only available in Québec):

    iPhone 8 Promotion

    Freedom is once again offering the iPhone 8 for $0 down with their 10GB monthly plan. To be clear, this is a hardware deal only; you can get the 10GB data-only plan (plus unlimited global SMS) with any phone, including your own. What you also get with this deal is a $929 CAD 64GB iPhone 8 for only $360—that is, $15/month for 24 months. Not bad.

    Freedom Coming Soon to The Mobile Shop

    A pilot project will see Freedom plans and devices available at 13 Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore and T&T locations, through existing kiosks branded as The Mobile Shop. I had always assumed that these kiosks were owned and operated directly by the Big Three; in this case I'm happy to have been proven wrong.

    Shaw Earnings Call

    Shaw Communications, FM's parent company, will be holding their quarterly earnings call today at 9am Eastern. If there's anything newsworthy to report I'll do just that via the Howard Forums news round-up later this afternoon.

    And Finally...

    Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything but I feel obliged to disclose that I'm no longer a Freedom Mobile customer. Along with the expected issues pertaining to signal penetration into the back rooms of restaurants and basements, my girlfriend and I have been noticing increasingly bad latency even where the signal is strong.

    Here's the part where you say: "I told you so..."

    Sources: iPhone in Canada (1) (2), Shaw Newsroom

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    by Published on 04-10-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    ... Either that, or the Koodo rep I spoke to made a big mistake.

    I guess everyone reading this is sitting pretty on their 10GBs from last December's holiday miracle; nobody on Howard Forums seems to be talking about a spring promotion being offered by Canada's Big Three flanker brands. I first heard about it at my local Best Buy, and confirmed it with a visit to both Koodo and Virgin Mobile kiosks yesterday. It might only apply to Ontario.

    The current rate cards for BYOD plans are still identical for Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile, but... if you take a plan with 1GB or more of data they will add an additional 3GB to your plan. In other words:

    1GB becomes 4GB for $50/month
    3GB becomes 6GB for $60/month
    5GB becomes 8GB for $70/month
    8GB becomes 11GB for $85/month

    The 10GB plans probably get an extra 3GB as well, but nobody should have to pay over a hundred bucks for their cell phone plan. Come on...

    For me Fido wasn't really in the running, only because the Bell/Telus network has proven to be significantly faster in downtown Toronto. So my first stop at the mall was at a Virgin Mobile kiosk. Everything was as expected, including the egregious data overage rate of $7 per 100MB that has apparently become the new standard. But there's one peculiar aspect to Virgin's Roam Sweet Roam service—for the daily roaming fee you don't actually get access to your data bucket, but instead an allowance of a mere 100MB. Despite being a big fan of local SIM cards while travelling this didn't sit well with me, so on I went to Koodo.

    I'll cut to the chase: the big difference with Koodo's promotion is that the 3GB data bonus is only good for 24 months, whereas with Virgin it will remain on your account until you change your plan. So even with the meager data bucket while roaming, Virgin Mobile is definitely the better choice. I hope this helps anyone in the market for a new plan. I haven't seen these bonus data promos advertised anywhere, even on the carriers' websites, but for Ontarians they are definitely available, so grab one while you can.

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    by Published on 03-26-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    I can still remember the early 2000s, those dark days before the arrival of the modern smartphone, when I could visit the magazine section of my local book shop and more often than not find some sort of buyer's guide for mobile phones. Some of these guides where imported from the UK, others from the US. And most of them are by now long gone.

    So it's with a bit of nostalgia that I present to you today the winners of a recent readers' choice survey conducted by PCMag. It's not a dedicated-to-mobile publication like the titles of old, but it's a buyer's guide nonetheless (for whatever that's worth). Here then, are the PCMag Readers' Choice Smartphone and Carrier Awards for 2018:

    Winner, Mobile Operating System: Google Android
    Available as the platform for nearly every non-Apple phone on the market, Android again earns the Readers' Choice Award, as it's done every year since 2014. Android users are more satisfied than their iOS counterparts with their platform's reliability as well as many other key measures of smartphone use.

    Winner, Smartphone: OnePlus
    Before you make your next phone purchase, you owe it to yourself to check out OnePlus. The company's phones may not have the most cutting-edge features, but they're solid, affordable phones that, according to our survey respondents, do one thing better than any other phone brand – thrill their customers.

    Winners, Mobile Carriers: Consumer Cellular
    This year marks the fifth straight year that Consumer Cellular has won the Readers' Choice Award. While the company targets its advertising towards seniors, anyone can take advantage of Consumer Cellular's competitively priced service.

    Winners, Mobile Carriers: Google Project Fi
    Project Fi's unique approach of taking advantage of multiple carriers' networks continues to resonate with its customers, allowing it to deliver excellent coverage and speed at competitive prices. If you enjoy using Android phones, you should definitely give Project Fi a close look.

    For more information, including the most popular devices for each American carrier, see the link immediately below.

    Source: PCMag

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    by Published on 03-20-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Yesterday the governments of Canada, Ontario and Québec announced a public-private partnership to accelerate the development of 5G services in this part of the country.

    The project is called ENCQOR, an acronym for "Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation", and will see an investment of $200 million CAD in public funds, matched by private sector partners CGI, Ciena, Ericsson, IBM and Thales. In return, our government is promising the creation of some 4,000 new jobs, with half of those permanent. Here's their millennial-friendly YouTube pitch:



    Read more at the links directly below.

    Sources: Mobile Syrup (1) (2)

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    by Published on 03-14-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    This past January saw two potential emergencies; one of them turned out to be a false alarm and the other never came to pass. And how the public was alerted about each one was very different.

    The threat of a tsunami to coastal areas of B.C. was real, but as the CBC reported, getting the word out to residents was a challenge, with authorities relying on a "patchwork" of local alert systems. In stark contrast, the missile alert warning pushed to mobile phones of Hawaiian Islands residents a week earlier was both efficient and effective. And also, thankfully, a mistake.

    A more efficient and effective alert system will soon be available to Canadians, hopefully without the human error. It's called Alert Ready and is powered by a technology called WPA—not the WiFi encryption standard but Wireless Public Alerting. This type of WPA is not just branding for text messages sent to your phone from a central authority; they are actually push notifications sent to devices in a specific area using cell broadcast distribution. For a device to be compatible it must meet three requirements:

    Compatible with 4G LTE networks;
    compatible with Wireless Public Alerting (WPA);
    connected to an 4G LTE network when the emergency alert is issued.

    Bell, Rogers and Telus have all begun notifying customers about the new service, which is expected to start rolling out across their networks starting April 6th. More details at the links directly below.

    Sources: Alert Ready, iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup

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    by Published on 02-22-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Phillip Huang, an analyst from Barclays Investment Bank, recently took some meetings with the CEO from Bell. That's actually not Huang in the photo (at least I don't think it is), but it's the closest thing I could find—the image appears alongside his name and phone number on this Telus investor relations page.

    Anyway, Huang's thoughts about the carrier racket in Canada are covered in this article on the Financial Post. Mobile Syrup has a post of their own about Huang's meetings, but they don't cite a source. I can only assume that they obtained their own copy of the analyst's actual notes to his clients.

    According to Huang, the holiday price war between carriers last December was more costly than anticipated, due to high churn and what he calls "a repricing of the base". He goes on to write that any future growth of Freedom Mobile is“unlikely to impact any of the major markets to warrant such a costly competitive response.”

    His advice for Bell—which would also apply to Rogers and Telus—is to "maintain pricing discipline" rather than responding directly to any specific Freedom promotion. TL;DR don't expect another holiday miracle anytime soon.

    Source: Mobile Syrup

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    by Published on 02-20-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    OpenSignal has just released a new report on LTE networks around the world. Data was gathered in Q4 of 2017 but was just published this week, using more than 50 billion measurements from some 3.8 million smartphones and tablets in 88 countries. Notably absent is any data from the People's Republic of China. Anyway, you probably want to know which of the included countries has the fastest download speeds, so here are the top ten, plus a few more:

    01. Singapore - 44.31 Mbps
    02. Netherlands - 42.12
    03. Norway - 41.20
    04. South Korea - 40.44
    05. Hungary - 39.18
    06. Belgium - 36.13
    07. Australia - 36.08
    08. New Zealand - 33.52
    09. Bulgaria - 33.34
    10. Denmark - 33.09

    11. Canada - 32.90 Mbps
    34. Japan - 25.39
    41. United Kingdom - 23.11
    62. USA - 16.31
    88. India - 6.07

    According to OpenSignal's analysis, global LTE speeds seem to have plateaued. The bigger story is improved LTE availability, so here are those rankings:

    01. South Korea - 97.49% availability
    02. Japan - 94.70%
    03. Norway - 92.16%
    04. Hong Kong - 90.34%
    05. USA - 90.32%
    06. Netherlands - 89.64%
    07. Hungary - 89.26%
    08. Kuwait - 88.40%
    09. Lithuania - 88.40%
    10. Czech Republic - 87.37%

    13. Australia - 86.48% availability
    14. India - 86.26%
    19. Singapore - 84.43%
    26. Canada - 82.38%
    36. United Kingdom - 77.28%

    You can read the full report at the first link directly below. And if you want your device added to the test pool for the next report, be sure to download the OpenSignal app for either Android or iOS.

    Source: OpenSignal via XDA

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    by Published on 02-19-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Last week a Red Flag Deals user obtained this flyer at the Freedom Mobile outlet in the Aberdeen Centre, a Chinese shopping mall in Richmond, BC. The store was offering a lifetime discount of 25% on all plans priced at $40/month or more. For example, a user on the Big Gig + Everywhere Canada 60 plan could save $15/month, forever.

    Apparently this store (and possibly others) hands out codes with new activations; the user can have their unique code applied to their account by calling customer service. The availability of these codes, and whether or not stores are willing to give them out to existing customers, isn't 100% clear in the fourteen pages of replies to the OP. Some RFDers have reported success mentioning an ad on Fairchild Radio, but many more are reporting that their local store has no idea that the promotion even exists.

    At this point it might be too late, but if you were going to activate a line on FM anyway, it couldn't hurt to ask. Let us know what they say...!

    Sources: iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup via Red Flag Deals

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    by Published on 02-16-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Probably the worst news this week for mobile users in Canada comes from Public Mobile. iPhone in Canada is confirming what subscribers here already know—the once-upstart carrier (now owned by Telus) is raising the rate of its most popular deal. Here is the text of the offer that PM subscribers are receiving by SMS:

    Starting March 20th, 2018 your rate plan price will increase by $10 per 30 days, making your plan $150 for 90 days. But don't worry! Our sister brand, Koodo, has a way for you to keep your $40 price point. Until March 15th, 2018, join Koodo and get 4GB of data, unlimited text and now additionally get UNLIMITED CANADA-WIDE minutes for $40/month PLUS get a one-time $100 bill credit! Offer valid for xxx-xxx-xxxx. Redeem at your nearest Koodo location or London Drugs or online at https://koo.do/gocustomer-service. Show this msg and use promo code GOKOODO404GB to redeem along with 2 pieces of ID. Your phone number is your validation code.
    Hang on, though... aren't plans like this generally grandfathered? Didn't PM once say that rates on this plan were locked in? You bet they did. Here's the proof, and here's the relevant text:

    If you have signed up for the promotional plan, you will be able to keep it after the promo period, as long as you are an active customer. This means that, as long as you are an active customer on this plan, your plan price will remain at $120, even after your initial 90 days. No surprises.
    Surprise!

    Customers calling out the carrier on social media are being directed to the terms of service document, which grants Public Mobile the right to change anything at any time. So much for empty promises, but why the sudden and arbitrary push to move customers from one Telus-owned carrier to another? Data overages is the likely answer; Public Mobile doesn't have them by design, but Koodo certainly does.

    Source: iPhone in Canada

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    by Published on 02-08-2018 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Yesterday OpenSignal released a new State of Mobile Networks Report: Canada, for the testing period from October 1st to December 30th, 2017. Telus is the big winner overall, with the best scores in three of OpenSignal's six categories, and tying the other Big Three carriers in the remaining three.

    Telus users are welcome to gloat in this thread. What I'd like to draw your attention to are some regional results, where you'll find the only mention of this country's upstart operators:

    Canada's operators large and small also made impressive showings in our Montreal and Toronto speed tests. Bell's 4G speed score in both cities topped 45 Mbps. Meanwhile in Montreal, Rogers and regional operator Vidéotron both averaged LTE downloads of about 30 Mbps in our measurements. In Toronto we found Freedom Mobile's new 4G service averaged speeds of 35.5 Mbps, while Rogers's average download was 27.2 Mbps.
    In my own informal testing using my dual-SIM phone I've come to the same conclusion. There are, of course, some caveats with Freedom's service (like the outage earlier this week), but I don't think FM could have bested Rogers in anything a year or two ago; I say we take whatever small victories we can get!

    Source: OpenSignal

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    by Published on 02-05-2018 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers



    The CBC reported yesterday that Bell has officially expanded its phone unlocking policy to include devices not currently associated with an active account—in other words, second-hand phones intended for use on another network.

    A CRTC mandate had ordered all carriers in Canada to drop unlocking fees as of December 1st, 2017; Bell apparently decided that this ruling didn't apply to non-customer hardware, which non-customers only found out when they tried to get their used phones unlocked:

    In December, Dean Belanger contacted the telecom to get a second-hand Bell-locked phone unlocked for free. But when he called Bell, he says he was turned down because he had never had an account with the telecom.

    Belanger says he ended up getting the device unlocked by calling Virgin Mobile — which is owned by Bell — and pretending that a past Virgin account he had was tied to his Bell-locked phone.
    "I was quite surprised that they wouldn't do it unless I had an account," said Sophia Irons, who tried in December to get Bell to unlock a Bell-locked phone she had bought on Kijiji.

    She ended up requesting help from friends on Facebook, and managed to find a Bell customer willing to call the telecom and get her phone unlocked.
    A representative from Bell told the CBC that the carrier has implemented a system of further checks to ensure that any non-customer device was not stolen or linked to a delinquent account. This was their previous justification for refusing to unlock their phones for other networks.

    Source: CBC

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    by Published on 01-31-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Scumbag Samsung is at it again...

    If you're financing your ultra-premium Samsung flagship through your carrier, as most folks in North America do, it's entirely understandable that you'd want to de-bloat your phone—see this post from 2013 for some examples of Canadian carrier bloat on a Galaxy S4. One of the easier ways to do this has been to flash a different firmware onto your device; though Samsung phones are region-locked it's been possible to flash an in-region but non-carrier version of your device's firmware using tools and guides from XDA.

    Until now, that is: XDA reported yesterday that the January security update for the S8, S8+ and Note8 also includes a new bootloader, one that prevents the flashing of unlocked firmware on carrier-branded phones. If you try to change the firmware on your carrier-branded device you will hard-brick that device. Unlocked hardware purchased from Samsung or third parties seems unaffected.

    Though not explicitly stated by anyone on XDA or the cross-post to r/Android, it sounds to me like this "update" would also prevent users from flashing custom ROMs onto late model carrier-branded Samsungs.

    Remember that time when Samsung gave free phones to the CyanogenMod team? Those days are clearly gone.

    Source: XDA via r/Android

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