Regulator begins a week of public hearings on proposed wireless code

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GATINEAU, Que. - The national telecom regulator has begun a week of public hearings on its proposed wireless code.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission is aiming for a set of national standards for the content and clarity of cellphone contracts.

The CRTC says it heard a lot of angry comments about three-year contracts offered by wireless carriers when it was putting together a draft version of the national code for wireless services.

So far, the commission hasn't taken up the idea of banning such contracts and has instead dealt with such issues as early termination fees, allowing the consumer to cancel service at any time.

On the CRTC's online forum about the draft wireless code, participants also complained about locked cellphones and roaming fees.

The draft code says the carrier must provide the consumer with the means to unlock the device after no more than 30 days of service, at the rate specified in the contract.

And the CRTC says in the proposed code that consumers can set a cap for additional fees that can occur, which would including text messaging, data and roaming charges, for example.

The federal Competition Bureau said it supports measures to limit contract length.

Organizations: CRTC, Canadian Radio, Telecommunication Commission Competition Bureau

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