When the first worm affecting the iPhone was revealed, my initial reaction was that unlocking cell phones can be dangerous. Although the first worm was not malicious I knew others would follow that wouldn’t be as kind. I then downplayed the worm as it only affects iPhone jailbreakers that choose to install SSH.
On second thought, analysts estimate 30% of iPhones are purchased with the intent to unlock and we now have malicious iPhone worms. Considering 17 million iPhones sold worldwide, that suggest up to 5.1 million vulnerable iPhones.
As promised O2 is now providing unlocked iPhones. Bell, Fido, Rogers and Telus, how hard is that for you to do for Canadians?
Bell, Fido, Rogers and Telus make a lot of money[Bell][Rogers][Telus] by locking your cell phone and preventing you from re-using your existing cell phone when switching wireless carriers. They rely on the high costs of switching wireless carriers to lock in customers.
Here are some tips on how an unlocked cell phone can save you money.
Bell, Rogers, Fido and Telus engage in “freebie marketing” which is sometimes referred to as the razor and blades business model. Wireless carriers know that if they can entice Canadians into signing a long-term service agreement they can also provide heavy discounts or subsidies on the purchase of a new phone because they make this money back over the term of your contract or by charging expensive early cancellation fees.
At first glance this sounds like a good thing for Canadians, who doesn’t want a sweet deal on the latest iPhone, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile or Android smartphone? Unfortunately, even at the end of your contract or after paying expensive early cancellation fees, you continue to pay for that phone over and above it’s original cost.
It’s time to demand more transparency and full disclosure by Bell, Fido, Rogers and Telus. In addition to coverage and rate-plan information, carriers must fully disclose any limits placed on devices, limits on bandwidth usage, if devices are locked to a single network and information regarding discounts and subsidies applied to the purchase of devices that are part of a service agreement.
Without Fair Wireless for Canada, Bell, Rogers, Fido and Telus will continue to lock in Canadians and prevent you from re-using your existing phone when switching wireless carriers.
Like Canada (before Bell and Telus HSPA+ wireless networks), the iPhone in UK is only available from one wireless carrier (O2). In a recent interview with the Times, O2 chairman and CEO Matthew Key had the following to say:
Once the iPhone becomes available on other UK networks, we will allow O2 customers to unlock their iPhones, although of course they will still need to honor any outstanding contract period they have. At the end of their contract period, they are entirely free to move to another operator.
Now that Rogers/Fido is no longer the only wireless carrier to offer the iPhone in Canada, is it too much to expect the same choices in Canada? At Fair Wireless for Canada we don’t think this is too much to ask. This is exactly what were asking for!
We commend O2 for their forward thinking, consumer and environmentally friendly policies and challenge Bell, Fido, Rogers and Telus to provide Fair Wireless for Canada.
Our friends over at iPhone in Canada have been writing about early cancellation fees and we summarize them here. If you plan to switch from Bell, Fido, Rogers or Telus be aware of these likely early cancellation fees. Oh…. and your cell phone is still unnecessarily locked so you cannot re-use it when switching to a new service provider.
The cost to switch represents the combined early cancellation fees for a voice and data plan (if applicable).
|Wireless Carrier||Cost to Switch|
|up to $600 plus taxes and a new phone
|up to $500 plus taxes and a new phone
|up to $500 plus taxes and a new phone
|up to $820 plus taxes and a new phone