The independent governing body of UK telecom, Ofcom, recently ruled that wireless contracts longer than 24 months are illegal, and that there has to be an option for 12 months or less. Ofcom says “shorter contracts are likely to promote competition and enable consumers to switch providers more easily and benefit from better prices and services”. In the same breath, new regulations are being enacted to ensure service providers include emergency SMS capabilities, and port phone numbers to other carriers within one working day or have to pay compensation to the customer.
This is awesome news for mobile owners in the UK, but what really grates me is that even with the added competition from Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, three-year contracts are not only legal, but they are the industry standard over here. Even the new entrants do little more than offer something decent on the usually-neglected unsubsidized revenue model. I realize that things are different here in Canada than they are in Europe (or even down in the United States), but it’s not that crazy to ask for a drop down to two-year contracts without having to pay $400 and up. Hell, I paid $400 for the Bold 9000 on launch day with a three-year contract. C’mon CRTC, if the Queen’s face is still good enough to put on our money, surely we can try to emulate her cell phone bill too.