The first wireless code, which came into effect in December 2013, allowed customers to ditch their providers without cancellation fees after two years, required providers to unlock smartphones and put a cap on charges for data overage and roaming.

Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
The first wireless code, which came into effect in December 2013, allowed customers to ditch their providers without cancellation fees after two years, required providers to unlock smartphones and put a cap on charges for data overage and roaming.

In a country with notoriously expensive wireless data, 46 per cent of Canadians had to pay extra fees for exceeding their data limits last year, according to newly released data from the federal telecom regulator.

The survey, commissioned by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, precedes the regulator’s review of the wireless code early next year.

The findings come as no surprise given only 16 per cent of mobile plans include unlimited data (SaskTel and MTS offer such plans in the prairies, and Freedom Mobile offers unlimited data but throttles the speed after a certain point), said the report by TNS Canada based on a fall survey of 1,483 adults.

“Managing data overages in a way that prevents additional fees continues to be a struggle for many Canadians,” the report stated.

It called on the CRTC to ensure the wireless code reflects the fact that data is “increasingly essential” for Canadians when the regulator considers updates to the code at a public hearing in February.

“Initiatives that address managing or reducing overages may be of particular relevance and interest to Canadians,” it stated.

Source: Financial Post

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