Telus will unlock any of its phones for $50 fee

By: Ted Kritsonis

February 8, 2011

By Ted Kritsonis

Telus announced that, starting February 15, it will unlock any phone it offers for a flat fee of $50. The caveat to all this is that you need to be a Telus customer with a monthly plan.

Customer options growing

The gist of it is this: if you’re a Telus subscriber with a monthly plan, and your phone has been hooked up to their network for at least 90 days, then you qualify to have your phone unlocked. This applies even in cases where you’re not under contract and you paid the full, unsubsidized cost for your phone.

Telus’s reasoning behind the move was to make it easier for its customers when they travel, so they can just slide in a SIM card from a local carrier to save money. Additionally, Telus acknowledged that phone resale value is directly tied to whether a phone is locked or unlocked.

But the timing is also two months after Rogers and Fido initiated the option to unlock phones for a $50 fee. The key difference is that Rogers and Fido will only do that for those who paid the no-contract price for the phone, or completed the full term of a contract.

All phones are to be covered, including Koodo and Mike handsets, plus popular models like the iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S and BlackBerry Torch.

Another caveat is that the $50 can essentially represent a “get-out” fee in that Telus customers can pay to have their phones unlocked in order to leave and join another carrier. Add in the $35 activation fee that is universal when joining any one of the carriers, and the overall cost of unlocking a phone can be higher than just the initial $50.

The tech rumour mill has postulated that more manufacturers may choose to sell their phones unlocked directly to consumers, much like Apple did in Canada with the iPhone 4, and Google did with the Nexus One in the U.S. Time will tell if that actually happens though.

With Telus and Rogers now offering this service, the ball is in Bell’s court to follow suit, if they choose to.


18 comments

  1. ted@byteddyk.com'
    Ted Kritsonis
    Author

    Greetings readers,

    We received a question from a reader who suggested that Telus customer service had no knowledge of the unlocking service the carrier now offers:

    “I read your article, 08Feb/2011, reporting on Telus’ announcement that they would be unlocking ALL there phone (including the iphone 4_) as of the 15Feb/2011 for $50.

    I contacted Telus and they did not have any knowledge of this announcement.”

    It’s possible that Telus customer service over the phone may be lost on what the service is since it only pertains to actual Telus retail locations and kiosks. As far as we’ve been told by Telus, the service is still active — $50 to unlock any phone, provided you’re a Telus monthly subscriber for at least 90 days.

    Hope that helps clarify things a bit.

  2. young71@telus.net'
    Jeremy

    I spoke to a telus rep both in store and on the phone I also had them speak to each other to try and clarify this. The official word that I received is that telus will unlock phones for $50. However they have a list of the phones that they will unlock and the Iphone is NOT on that list.

  3. jon.dst@gmail.com'
    Jonathan

    I bought an Iphone 3GS with a 3 years plan with Telus on June 2010 and moved back to Europe in July 2011. I thus had to cancel my plan after 1 year and pay around 2/3 of the Iphone value (around CAD 450$)… Then I called Telus to unlock my device, in order to use it in Europe with another carrier. Telus answered they could not unlock it. I’m very disappointed since I paid a lot to get an Iphone that I can’t use !!!

    Does anyone know how I could put some pressure on Telus ?

    I think it is not fair to pay for a device that you cannot use…

  4. Silent_sunchild@hotmail.com'
    Chantal

    Jonathan: I’ve just experienced the same problem as you – and unfortunately still haven’t found a way out. I bought my IPhone 3Gs from an electronics store like Best Buy and used it on my existing Telus account. Now that I have cancelled my contract with them, they tell me they cannot release my iPhone, which they now have tethered to their service. I think the only option left is to have it illegally unlocked… Did you find another solution?

  5. john@hotmail.com'
    John

    I called just today, and same thing – they can’t or won’t unlock the iPhone 4 – this is ludicrous! I am not a happy customer to be sure.

  6. danwitthoeft@gmail.com'
    Dan Witthoeft

    Hi Guys
    My son has just been exchange student in Canada, where he bought an iPhone 4s, now he is back in Denmark, but he can’t use the iPhone, as it is locked to Telus.
    We have called and written to Telus, but they say that they can’t unlock the phone.
    Is is amasing, that a company can get away with that. We have called several danish telephonecompanies and they all say, that it is a simple procedure, that Telus needs to do.
    In Denmark we would just have to write the Imei number at the phonecompanys website to get the phone unlocked, but Telus say they can’t do it. I just think that they won’t do it.

    A frustrated custumer. Apple ought to contact Telus and force them to make unlocking possible for their cutomers. I don’t mind that they take money fore it.

  7. ted@byteddyk.com'
    Ted Kritsonis
    Author

    Thanks for your comment, Dan. In looking into this for you, and the others who posted comments for this story, I wrote an updated article on this issue that was posted today:

    http://whatsyourtech.ca/2012/01/27/unlocking-phones-what-the-carriers-will-and-wont-do/#.TyMGP0rGJgC

    The gist of it is that Telus has exempted the iPhone from its unlocking policy because of “technical limitations”, though they tell me that they’re working on making it happen. Rogers and Fido are the only two carriers in all of North America that offer iPhone unlocking.

    While we at WhatsYourTech don’t openly advocate for unlocking services, there are third-party ones online that do offer iPhone unlocking, regardless of the carrier, for a fee.

    Hope this helps you all.

  8. gruff@shaw.ca'
    Grant

    Telus did unlock my phone for me while I was standing at the Mall of America in Minneapolis. It allowed me to throw in a $50 AT&T paid SIM so I could avoid the roaming fees I was incurring. HTC Surround 7 – Windows Phone.

  9. t_wai_keat@hotmail.com'
    Wai

    FYI to your guy, I used to work for Bb Mobile….

    The reason why Telus or any other carriers can’t unlock your iPhone for you is because they are not authorized to do so… so no matter what u say to them or how many times u ask them, they can’t (that the fact) not they don’t want to 🙂

    Rogers and Fido (while they are the same company) are the ONLY carrier in North America allow by Apple to unlock iPhones

    O!! and by the way the phone have to be off contract in order for them to unlock it

  10. jmbfit@gmail.com'
    Jane

    I have a telus Iphone 4 and my husband has an Iphone 4S we are heading to the states for a month, if I purchase the software to unlock my Iphone so that I am able to use an America companies sim card how will that affect me using my telus sim or will there be any issues.

    Thanks

    Jane

  11. ted@byteddyk.com'
    Ted Kritsonis
    Author

    @Jane
    Thanks for your comment, Jane. As you may already be in the U.S., you may have realized that a locked Telus iPhone can’t be used with a non-Telus SIM card. If you’re husband’s iPhone 4S was purchased unlocked, then any other SIM card will work with it.

  12. brushncut@gmail.com'
    linden grandcourt

    my girlfriend has moved to australia from bc canada and telus say they do not unlock phones .but we will see if thats true.we are now in court proceedings as far as im concerned its their duty.people NEVER!!! give up

  13. brushncut@gmail.com'
    linden grandcourt

    WAI!!! what you said is a load of garbage section 12 of the ownership of company property proves they have the authority to unlock the phone,maybe you should do your homework chap

  14. brushncut@gmail.com'
    linden grandcourt

    ted kritsonis,sorry but the information you have gathered is totally false.Telus will not unlock any phones for a fee and never have..Thankyou

  15. ted@byteddyk.com'
    Ted Kritsonis
    Author

    @Linden
    Thanks for your feedback. I’ve confirmed with Telus multiple times about this and they do, in fact, unlock any of their phones (except the iPhone) for a $50 fee.

    The key is that you either need to have been under contract for at least 90 days or your contract needs to be finished in order for them to do it. I have gone to a Telus kiosk myself pretending to be a customer and they confirmed the unlocking policy.

    Which phone are you looking to unlock?

  16. baskaran715@gmail.com'
    Andy

    I mentioned it to Telus saying rogers and Fido are providing the unlock codes by paying 50 dollars .Telus says hooo we don’t know that we can unlock I phone’s is Rogers doing it!. Telus customer service is dumest one i have seen so far

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