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Canada ranks toward the very bottom among developed countries for cellphone penetration as the lack of competition leaves Canadians with some of the highest prices for wireless services in the world. Indeed, Rogers has a monopoly on the iPhone since it is the only Canadian carrier currently capable of carrying the device.
Most of the public criticism has focused on the uncompetitive data rates that render it difficult to maximize the iPhone’s potential. Yet the bigger story is how the Canadian version of the device features a triple lock that is the result of onerous contracts, technological locks, and a legislative proposal from Industry Minister Jim Prentice that simultaneously locks consumers in, while locking the competition out.
The first lock on the iPhone is the contractual lock-in that comes from a mandatory three-year contract. This is the longest mandatory contract for the iPhone in the world and it comes with huge penalties for consumers that seek early termination. [snip..]
The second lock is a technological lock that restricts the device to the Rogers network (and Rogers approved roaming partners). This provides Rogers with another guaranteed revenue stream for consumers who wish to use their device in other countries and effectively locks consumers out of wireless number portability should a GSM competitor enter the Canadian market. [snip...]
The third lock involves a legal lock against unlocking cellphones. Ironically, while other countries use laws to unlock consumers, Prentice has proposed locking them in. Bill C-61, tabled just prior to the summer recess, would make it a violation for Canadians to unlock their cellphones and bans the distribution of software programs that could be used to do so. [snip...]