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Canadians pressure CRTC to end three-year phone contracts

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By Erica Lenti     Dec 10, 2012 in Technology
In a bid against long-term financial commitment and outdated technology, Canadians are urging the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to shorten three-year mobile phone contracts.
Hundreds of Canadians voiced their thoughts against the 36-month contracts typical of the "Big Three" Canadian mobile phone carriers – Bell, Telus and Rogers – in a two-week online consultation, the Canadian Press reported. The results, released Friday, will be taken in account for a newly proposed national code of conduct for wireless services.
Some respondents said being locked into contract was akin to being "held hostage."
"Get rid of the 36 months contract!!!," one respondent wrote. "It first started with 12 months, then 24 months, now the standard is 36 months, which is ridiculous!"
More than 500 Canadians participated in the consultation, which was open to the public beginning in November.
Critics says the 36-month contracts pose many problems for Canadians. Consumers are forced to pay higher-than-average costs for plans, "upgrades" and new phones to replace their outdated ones.
Canada is one of few countries to offer three-year phone contracts. In the U.S. and most European countries, mobile phone contracts typically last 24 months or less.
The online consultation is the one of the first changes made under the CRTC code of conduct under the new leadership of chairman Jean-Pierre Blais. Blais was appointed chair in June.
"By sharing their views, Canadians can help us shape a clear list of terms and conditions that wireless companies will need to include in their contracts," Blais said in November.
Canadians will have the opportunity to comment on the first draft of the code on January 28.
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