Choosing a Cellphone Service

Selecting a wireless service can be tricky. To help you avoid bill shock and take advantage of advances in wireless technology and new competitive offers at least every two years, the CRTC has released a mandatory code of conduct called the Wireless Code.

The CRTC also requires all service providers to cooperate with the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), an independent organization dedicated to working with consumers and telecommunications service providers to resolve complaints.

Know your rights

The Wireless Code explains your rights as a consumer, and your service provider’s responsibilities. Among other things, it requires providers to:

  • Limit cancellation fees
  • Unlock wireless devices, so they can be used with other service providers
  • Offer a trial period for contracts, so you can try out a service without having to commit to it right away
  • Set default caps on data overage charges and data roaming charges

The Wireless Code makes it easier for you, as an individual or small business owner, to understand the contract between you and your wireless service provider.

How to make a complaint

If you have a complaint about your wireless service, the first thing to do is contact your provider. It’s in their best interest to make you a satisfied customer, and problems can often be settled very quickly.

If you and your provider can’t solve the complaint, then you can contact the CCTS using:

  • email:
  • mail: P.O. Box 56067 – Minto Place RO, Ottawa, Ontario  K1R 7Z1
  • fax: 1-877-782-2924
  • toll-free telephone: 1-888-221-1687
  • toll free TTY: 1-877-782-2384

More facts about wireless services

Here’s some additional information about wireless services that you might find helpful.

  • 911 service charges. The CRTC requires wireless service providers to give customers 911 services wherever they are available. The services are run by municipalities or other local governments in conjunction with telephone companies. Although the CRTC has approved the rates that telephone companies may charge wireless service providers for 911 network access, providers may incur additional costs for 911 calls, and are free to determine how to recover these costs.
  • Accessible mobile wireless handsets. Your wireless service provider should offer at least one accessible mobile wireless handset. To learn what handsets are offered, contact your provider. To help determine what handset best meets your needs, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association has created a web resource.
  • Health and safety issues. For information about health and safety issues related to wireless communications, see Health Canada’s Radiofrequency Fields, and the Health and Safety Page of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
  • Rates for wireless services. The CRTC does not intervene in setting the rates that your service provider charges. As a consumer, you have a choice of providers in a competitive market, where you can select from a range of rates and payment options. For more information, see Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs Cellphone Choices for Canadians Checklist and Practical Guide.
  • Wireless coverage areas. (Roaming charges) Industry Canada assigns frequencies for wireless services and approves communications towers. Learn more about coverage areas.
  • Wireless number portability. Typically, when you switch phone companies, you can keep your phone number. Learn more about wireless number portability.