Inderscience Publishers

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

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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.

Keywords: network locks, GSM, global systems, mobile communications, digital cellular networks, unlocking, jailbreaking, telecommunications, mobile phones, cell phones, cell phone freedom, statutes, legislative acts, legislation, Canada, SIM locks, subscriber identity modules, subscriber identification modules, policy making, SIM cards, wireless freedom, PUK, personal unblocking key, consumers, carriers, telecom companies, profit margins, developed world, market regulation, competition, restrictive practices, consumer choice, government regulation, liability, scientific enquiry

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