Telus to unlock phones. Why should you care?

Telus Mobility has announced that effective February 15 unlocking will be available for most SIM based devices for Telus postpaid customers.

“Wireless devices are far more sophisticated and powerful than they were even five years ago and our customers are asking us now to give them the freedom and flexibility to use these devices as they wish. We are listening and responding to their needs, through services like device unlocking,” said David Fuller, Chief Marketing Officer at TELUS. “It’s all part of our commitment to continue to drive flexibility, simplicity and transparency within our offerings. Over the last few years, we’ve eliminated system access and carrier 911 fees, designed simpler family plans, created proactive alerts that notify customers going over their data allotments, and created options for our customers to upgrade to a new device faster. Helping our customers to unlock their device is just one more step in this overall service evolution.”

Telus users with a postpaid contract who have owned their phone for more than 90 days will be able to get their phones unlocked for a fee of $50.

So, why should you care?

An unlocked phone can be used on any compatible network simply by inserting the appropriate SIM card. Not a big deal for most, but for the traveller who needs to keep in touch it can mean freedom from exorbitant roaming and data charges.

For example on a recent visit to the Dominican Republic I bought a SIM card with 12 minutes of calling time from a Claro store for $10..there is one on practically every street corner in the DR. That’s a per minute rate of $0.21 and the card can be recharged on the web or in any Claro store. Combined with  a prepaid long distance calling card it would cost me $0.25 per minute to call home instead of the roaming fee of $3.00 per minute.

I used a voice card but if you need data, Claro charges $32 for 3Gb of data for one month. That compares pretty favourably to the $25 per Mb for Data Roaming. A quick check of rates around the Caribbean indicates similar rates in most popular vacation spots.

In reality Telus is merely officializing a practice that has been going on for some time. Last month I surveyed Bell, Telus and Rogers and all said they would unlock a phone for $50.

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