In case of emergency, who do you call?

Yet another device is having problems making emergency calls in Canada.

Last week, Bell warned its customers that the new Apple Watch Series 3 may not provide location information to the public safety bureaus when calling 9-1-1. Bell says that it is working with its technology partners to resolve the issue.

Who should take responsibility for devices that weren’t sold by the service provider? In July, we learned that certain Asus Zenphone devices were unable to complete emergency calls at all until the operating system was updated. The Asus issue raises the question of who consumers should approach for a remedy when buying a phone from an independent electronics retailer. Will they return to the store for technical support or call their service provider? Who tests and certifies compatibility for these devices?

In its Wireless Code update this past June, the CRTC implemented measures to make it even easier for consumers to get their devices unlocked and move them from one service provider to another. Although the CRTC Chair at the time said that “The changes and clarifications we are announcing today will give Canadians additional tools to make informed choices about their wireless services and take advantage of competitive offers in the marketplace”, I am unable to see any information provided by the CRTC about compatibility of unlocked devices on various networks.

Did the CRTC even hear evidence about the ability for advanced features to operate correctly on devices moved from one service provider to another? Do consumers know that not all devices work on all networks? Are service providers expected to provide support for devices that have not been purchased from their stores?

As an example, the new iPhone 8 was reported to be able to operate on Band 66, frequencies used by Freedom Mobile, but some users observed difficulties. Freedom Mobile told MobileSyrup that it “can only confirm that LTE-Ready devices sold by Freedom Mobile are guaranteed to function with our network on Band 66 spectrum. We cannot guarantee the compatibility of any iPhones brought to our network.”

Has the CRTC created unrealistic user expectations? In case of trouble with their phones, who should users call?

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