Three-year wireless contracts are on their way out in Canada thanks to new provisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). While the commission has stopped short of banning the long-term commitments altogether, it's giving consumers the option to cancel service with Canadian providers after two years — a scenario that more closely resembles mobile subscription models in the United States. The changes won't be immediate, however; the new code will affect all contracts involving subsidies signed beginning December 2nd.
To lessen the burden of three-year service agreements, the CRTC is requiring providers to decrease the cost of early termination fees (ETFs) by an equal amount monthly until the cost reaches $0 after 24 months. They may still be under contract after two years, but Canadians will now be able to walk away freely and explore better deals at competing wireless carriers. "The wireless code will contribute to a more dynamic marketplace by making it possible for Canadians to discuss their needs with service providers at least every two years," said CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais.