• Carriers

    by Published on 04-05-2024 06:20 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    When you can't even record a speed test, you know you're in for a bad time...

    If you plan to visit Taiwan don't bother with an eSIM; I tried one from Nomad but I imagine all other options are the same — that is, they get their data routed through Hong Kong. This results in latency that ranges from okay to unacceptable, as was the case above.



    Ah, that's better!

    This was recorded with a physical SIM from Chunghwa Telecom, obtained at the airport. You have to register your passport and endure the extra bother of swapping SIMs after a long international flight, but for the inconvenience you get fast, cheap and unlimited 4G or 5G data — plus a local number for calling and texting.

    I first published this review on the eSIMDB, but it's since been deleted by the site owner. Now you know why!

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 03-14-2024 02:09 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. From The Forums,
    4. Carriers

    Saw this on BestMVNO today:

    BestMVNO has learned that Boost stores will soon begin activating all Boost 5G Network-capable phones with Rainbow SIMs. This applies to all markets, even those where the Boost 5G network hasn't been built or activated yet.

    Rainbow SIMs enable phones with the appropriate radio bands in them to connect to the Boost 5G Network currently being developed by DISH/Echostar. In areas where there is no Boost 5G Network, customers can expect their phones to roam on AT&T or T-Mobile.

    DISH/Echostar might be accelerating Rainbow SIM activations to reduce costs by transferring customers to their network as soon as it's available, instead of paying for network access from T-Mobile or AT&T.
    Full article in link above.
    by Published on 01-15-2024 01:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    What we're looking at here is the Inseego MiFi X PRO, a mobile hotspot on offer through T-Mobile and Verizon in the US, and in Canada on Bell and Rogers, where I got mine.

    It has a touch screen, a large removable battery and is otherwise entirely unremarkable — the way a good hotspot should be. What is rather remarkable is what I paid for the device, and the plan that came with it.

    My prior humble hotspot was on a Rogers Mobile Internet Flex Rate Plan, with tiered usage as follows:

    $5/month up to 10MB;
    $10/month up to 100MB;
    $20/month up to 500MB;
    $40/month up to 5GB;
    $10.00/GB thereafter.

    So I've paid $5 CAD/month for it to be on standby, but upwards of $150/month when extended family visiting from overseas have asked for mobile data. Good times, but thankfully no more! Just before Christmas I got this email from Rogers:



    So that same $5/month covers what would have cost $90 under my old plan, a pretty incredible (for Canada) rate of 50¢/GB. And the cost of the hotspot itself? Zero dollars. It seems too good to be true (especially for Canada), but until the other shoe drops I'm pretty happy with my new device and plan!

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 12-19-2023 02:30 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    It seems only fair to follow up the review of my new carrier with a critique of my old one. If nothing else it will hopefully serve as a cautionary tale of limited time discounts.

    Background

    My condo negotiated a deal with Bell for a Fibe Internet & TV bundle for all residents — $50/month, payable with our monthly condo fees. Though I didn't need to I signed up on the Bell portal anyway and saw this exclusive deal for Fibe customers:



    Why three lines? One for me, one for the girlfriend and a third for her mom.

    Securing this plan proved to be quite the challenge; Bell's phone agents wanted very badly to sign us up, but couldn't see this plan on their screens. Finally, a week after emailing someone a screenshot I was contacted with approval for an even better plan: 50GB of shareable data for each of our three lines for the same price.

    Billing

    The details on our first invoice were needlessly convoluted, but the numbers did add up as expected:

    Line #1
    +$90 Share Essential BYOD 50
    -$10 promotional discount
    -$15 exclusive offer discount
    -$05 BYOD bill credit
    -$05 price protection discount (??)
    = $55/month

    Line #2
    +$90 Share Essential BYOD 50
    -$20 promotional discount
    -$10 BYOD bill credit
    -$15 additional line discount
    -$05 additional line discount
    -$05 price protection discount
    = $35/month

    Line #3
    +$90 Share Essential BYOD 50
    -$20 promotional discount
    -$10 BYOD bill credit
    -$15 additional line discount
    -$05 additional line discount
    -$05 price protection discount
    = $35/month

    With tax the grand total was $141.25 — as an added bonus I could help myself to more than my fair share of our shared 150GBs of data if needed.

    Pros



    I was under the impression that when The Big Three carriers mark a plan "Essential" they actually mean throttled, but this didn't seem to be the case. It was very nice being a priority customer at whichever tower I was connected to.

    Another handy feature of Bell's service is that they can send you your voicemail messages as audio files via MMS, which you can then archive on your phone or desktop computer. For some this could be a killer feature. Me? I despise voicemail, and as neat as this idea is I still have to dial in to clear the stupid icon off of my phone.

    Cons

    My god, the spam...!

    It started as a trickle and very quickly, on all three of our lines, increased to a sore point. Texts at any time of day or night, calls usually around dinnertime. It wasn't unmanageable but it sure did seem like Bell had sold our numbers on the dark web or something. I can't prove this, of course, but it made us miss the Call Control feature with Telus, where someone calling has to enter an extra digit to prove that they're not an autodialer.

    All else being equal, I would recommend going with Telus or Koodo based on this feature alone. Sadly, Public Mobile doesn't offer it.

    Billing Redux

    December brought some unexpected changes to our monthly bill:

    Line #1
    +$90 Share Essential BYOD 50
    -$15 exclusive offer discount
    -$05 BYOD bill credit
    -$05 price protection discount (didn't do much, did it?)
    = $65/month

    Line #2
    +$90 Share Essential BYOD 50
    -$10 BYOD bill credit
    -$15 additional line discount
    -$05 additional line discount
    -$05 price protection discount
    = $55/month

    Line #3
    +$90 Share Essential BYOD 50
    -$10 BYOD bill credit
    -$15 additional line discount
    -$05 additional line discount
    -$05 price protection discount
    = $55/month

    With the promotional discount gone our bill with tax had jumped by more than $50 to $197.75! Literally the same day I had caught wind of Public Mobile's Black Friday deal, which put the wheels in motion for the switch.

    Retention Offer



    This is what Bell's offering if we come back to them by January 12th — more GBs, but also more money. It's decent but we're not going to take them up on it, because (1) the spam, and (2) the very real possibility of another nasty bill surprise somewhere down the road. Again, if you're in the market for a Big Three plan choose Telus if you can. They use the same towers as Bell, and their Call Control effectively kills unsolicited calls.

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 12-18-2023 02:30 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    If you're considering switching to one of Public Mobile's holiday deals, perhaps the following will be of some use to you.

    Background

    I got a nasty surprise with my December bill from Bell Mobility — a 12-month promotional discount expired, and suddenly the the three lines on our account were a lot more expensive. Fortunately, that very same day I heard about a Black Friday deal from Public: 40 GB of 5G service for $34 CAD per month per line. How could I say no?

    Getting Started

    The first step was signing up for an account — or rather, three of them. If you didn't already know multi-user accounts aren't possible with Public, but you can sign up for three separate accounts using the same password and this handy Gmail modifier:

    User #1: [email protected]
    User #2: [email protected]
    User #3: [email protected]

    This way all correspondence will be delivered to the first user (me). And obviously, you can put whatever you like between the '+' and '@' symbols. If a shared data bucket is a must-have then Public Mobile isn't for you.

    The next step was ordering SIM cards. If you go the eSIM route you'll pay $0 and get an instant download, but because I have multiple family members to move over I wanted to test out the data speeds first. I paid $5 each for three SIMs direct from Public... and then started reading about slow deliveries from Canada Post and panicked, buying three more from Amazon with Prime Delivery. Both sets arrived the same day; lesson learned.



    The speed tests above were all captured in downtown Toronto, between Chinatown and Trinity Bellwoods park. Download speeds are throttled to 250 Mbps, which is enough for 4K video streaming. Uploads seem to be capped at 25 Mbps, acceptable for me and the others I've signed up. If your usage involves a lot of tethering and/or video calling, Public Mobile may not be for you.

    For me, apart from being kicked down to LTE at Toronto's Pearson airport I've noticed nothing lacking in the service so far.

    Number Porting

    As with everything else Public Mobile, number porting is a self-serve affair. I used Public's Android app and a second phone, porting each of our three numbers over three consecutive days — hoping that my credit card company won't think that PM is triple-charging me for the same service. Everything went smoothly; if I had one piece of advice to offer it would be to leave your old SIM active until you get a confirmation text from your old carrier. Also, be aware that it may take a couple of days for validation texts from banks, etc. to forge the new path to your number.

    Usage



    Here's my usage so far, and honestly most of this is speed tests. My typical usage with Bell, where I used WiFi at home and mobile data for transferring mostly photos and podcasts when out, would be more like 4.5 GB per month.

    Billing

    Public is a prepaid provider, so on your billing date you will pay in full for the next month of service. There are no refunds if you cancel said service before the end of your billing cycle. There's a points-based loyalty system wherein you get 5% of your monthly spend back in points. Fifteen such points will get you a $15 credit on your bill; using my $34/month plan as an example I'll be eligible for that $15 credit every nine months or so. It's not much but it's something.

    Early Verdict

    With a cost of 85¢ per gigabyte I'm entirely fine with Public's throttled 5G service. In fact, I don't think I've ever paid so little for a phone plan, even back in the heady days of Mobilicity and WIND. If you need device financing then this carrier is definitely not for you — they don't sell phones at all. As a proponent of unlocked phones I especially like this about them — I've more than a few friends who are interested in Public's plans but are unable to switch because they're still paying off phones with other carriers.

    More 5G provisioning for me, I guess!

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 12-14-2023 02:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers,
    3. Apps



    There's a lot of sponsored content out there singing the praises of eSIM reseller Airalo, which would have you believe that its mobile apps are a one-stop shop for all the travel eSIMs you'll ever need. While that's technically true I think there's a better way.

    I say you're far better off visiting esimdb.com and searching for deals specific to the country that you're planning to visit. It just so happened that the best available deal for Portugal — a whopping 30GB of data for only $19 USD — was offered through Airalo.



    The actual carrier providing said data was MEO, and I found their 5G data speeds to be very acceptable:



    The one downside to the experience was that I couldn't track my usage through the Airalo app; I was supposed to text a shortcode to MEO... on my data-only eSIM... which didn't offer texting... which therefore didn't work. Fortunately with 30 GBs I didn't need to stress about my usage, which is the way it should be, right?

    So one point for Airalo, two points and counting for the esimdb!

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
    ---------
    by Published on 12-04-2023 11:09 AM
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    I have to admit I’m surprised to see them dropping Nokia, but can’t say I’m not thrilled to see Ericsson taking their place from a network performance perspective. This full-on plunge into ORAN is going to be interesting, particularly since AT&T has tended to be the slower, more conservative operator in recent years.

    https://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/...ing-blow-nokia
    by Published on 11-23-2023 02:09 PM
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    2. From The Forums,
    3. Carriers

    https://bestmvno.com/daily-deals/vis...0-off-iphones/

    On Monday the 27th 35FLASH gets you the Visible+ plan for $35 for life.

    ...there will be a special offer available exclusively on Cyber Monday, 11/27/23. The Cyber Monday featured offer will be that Visible by Verizon will offer you their flagship unlimited plan, Visible+ for $35/month for life. The plan is normally priced at $45/month. A promo code will be required to get the offer, and that code is 35FLASH.
    by Published on 10-24-2023 07:39 PM
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    Lost 51K consumer side, made up for it on business side:

    Verizon continued to emphasize improvements in its overall financial performance as it once again lost customers in its Consumer group in Q3 2023, which were offset by gains in the Business group.

    Granted, the loss of 51,000 subscribers in the Consumer group was not as bad as the year-ago quarter, when it lost 189,000, or even the prior quarter, when it lost 136,000.

    In the Business segment, Verizon added 151,000 in Q3, which was an improvement over the 144,000 net adds in Q2. That also gave Verizon the bragging rights to 100,000 total postpaid phone net additions for Q3 2023 when combining Consumer and Business segments.
    More...
    by Published on 10-04-2023 04:20 PM
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    From Fierce Wireless:

    Metro by T-Mobile’s “Nada Yada Yada” campaign, unveiled August 22, was primarily aimed at big cable providers like Comcast and Charter Communications for smacking wireless customers with “exploding bills” after their promotions are over.

    But Verizon’s Visible prepaid brand is the one that's striking back, calling out Metro by T-Mobile for “glossing over the disclaimer details” and making claims about selling wireless without the “gotchas.”

    According to Visible, Metro by T-Mobile is the one doling out the “gotchas.” The spot is viewable here.

    "Visible has nothing to hide," said Verizon Value President Angie Klein in a statement. "When we see other brands claim they have no 'yada, yada, yada' – but we know they do – we have to call BS on their 'BS-Free Promise.' If you want real transparency, simplicity, and honesty from your wireless carrier, Visible is the only choice. And who better to help tell that story than Jason Alexander, someone who made 'yada, yada, yada' famous."
    More...


    by Published on 05-01-2023 10:31 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Not today, Bell!

    I'm back from 9 days in Tokyo, and can report great success with a pair of Ubigi eSIMs, installed on an unlocked Pixel 4a and 6a.

    I set up both phones before we left, and switched the APN info right before we took off from Toronto. When we landed, my girlfriend's 4a connected almost immediately, and my 6a quickly followed after a restart. By the time our plane reached its arrival gate we were both good to go.

    One added perk that I didn't realize about eSIMs is that you can use them simultaneously with your home network. Since incoming texts are free even while roaming, I was able to see a message from a family member and respond by email — using the much cheaper data provided by Ubigi.



    Some random speed tests conducted during my trip. Service was 4G rather than 5G but speeds were perfectly fine, even for real-time navigation. The few low numbers above were almost all recorded at Narita Airport.



    Our 10 GB each turned out to be plenty for 9 days abroad. We did connect our phones to the hotel's WiFi but probably didn't need to.

    I chose Ubigi for this trip based on recommendations from reddit. For other destinations you can consult the esimdb and get the best/cheapest data for where you want to go. Another perk of eSIMs is that you can install multiple profiles (depending on your device), even if only one can be active at a time.

    My brother's family also visited Japan earlier this year, and paid their provider's "roam like home" rate of $16 CAD per device per day — almost ten times what we paid per device with an eSIM. It was pretty great to not be ripped off by a Canadian carrier for once!

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 01-11-2023 04:08 PM
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    2. News,
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    Mint Mobile, which is partly owned by Ryan Reynolds, might be acquired by T-Mobile.

    The two companies are apparently in talks about a potential acquisition, according to Bloomberg.
    https://www.theverge.com/2023/1/11/2...ed-by-t-mobile
    by Published on 10-29-2021 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Some breaking news of interest from Android Police this morning:

    The company has limited most customers' LTE download speeds to just 8Mbps for the longest time. Now, that speed cap has been lifted for those on the 2GB ($30/mo. for a single line), 10GB ($40), and Unlimited ($55) tiers. Furthermore, these customers will also now be able to access AT&T's 5G network — nationwide low-band and "5G+" millimeter wave in limited locations — bringing these plans in line with the Unlimited + 15GB Mobile Hotspot ($60/mo.) selection. This does mean that most of them will need to purchase a new device to take advantage of the next-gen grid, but at least there will be 13 phones to choose from unlike just the one that was available when the Unlimited + 15GB Mobile Hotspot plan was updated last year to include 5G access.
    AP also notes that speeds are subject to traffic management at any time.

    Source: Android Police

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 07-20-2021 02:35 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    I feel like this is more of a PSA than actual news. Nevertheless... Bell's Virgin Mobile has officially re-branded to Virgin Plus. Why? Well, it makes sense to ditch the 'Mobile', as the sub-brand now offers broadband internet and — I didn't actually know this — TV services in Ontario and Québec. As for the rest of Canada:

    Virgin Plus Members across the country will continue [to] enjoy offerings like Sweet Pay, a payment program that allows Members to pay for their phones over the course of 24 low monthly payments. They will also experience easy account management by using the company's award-winning app, which allows Members to easily pay bills, track data usage, and seamlessly manage add-ons. And of course, Virgin Plus will also continue to provide Members with new and hot Member Benefits like food, fashion and entertainment deals; and VIP money-can't-buy experiences.
    There really isn't anything more to this, but for the words of others on the exact same subject see immediately below:

    Source: CNW Release via iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 05-13-2021 05:19 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. From The Forums,
    5. Carriers



    Nokia is bringing the 2720 V Flip to the US via Verizon. The "smart feature phone" running KaiOS comes with 4G and Google Assistant and will be available on May 20th for $79.99.



    Info and full specs at Nokia

    Via: Nokiamob.net
    by Published on 04-18-2021 07:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Canada's largest mobile network has, for many, been down for most of the day. Now we finally know why. Here's Jorge Fernandes, Rogers CTO, to explain what happened:

    We have identified the root cause of the service issues and pinpointed a recent Ericsson software update that affected a piece of equipment in the central part of our wireless network. That led to intermittent congestion and service impacts for many customers across the country.
    When his post was published, Fernandes said it would take "several hours" to get the network back to full service. Hopefully by the time you read this all will be well.

    Source: Rogers via iPhone in Canada

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 04-15-2021 04:40 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Breaking news from the CRTC:

    The CRTC today announced that certain telecommunications providers will be able to access the wireless networks of Canada’s dominant providers to offer Canadians more choice and affordable options.

    As a result, regional providers that invest in network infrastructure and spectrum will be able to offer competitive services to millions of Canadians as mobile virtual network operators in areas where competition is limited. These companies have already been contributing to greater competition and helping to lower prices.
    Bell, Rogers, SaskTel and Telus have been asked to file proposed terms and conditions for access within 90 days. This is going to be interesting...

    via Mobile Syrup

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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    by Published on 02-02-2021 02:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Koodo has fallen in line with fellow Big Three second-stringers Fido and Virgin—each is now offering a monthly data bucket of 10GB for a very reasonable (for Canada) $50. And as an added bonus you also get phone service and texting, too!

    Virgin Mobile kicked things off over the weekend, with Fido joining in yesterday and Koodo today. It's all to mark the Lunar New Year (Year of the Ox), which begins this Friday, February 12th. Hopefully these offers will stay on the table until then.

    Some specifics: Fido is offering up to $188 in bill credits and additional savings, Koodo will give you 888 free long distance minutes to select Asian countries and Virgin bumps up those long distance minutes to an even thousand.

    I myself have enjoyed service on all three of these carriers, with cost being my only complaint. When you consider that Bell, Rogers and Telus proper are all now charging $80/month for only 15GB of data (previously $75/month for 20GB), these new year promotions are pretty decent in comparison.

    Sources: Fido, Koodo, Virgin Mobile via Mobile Syrup (1) (2) (3) (4)
    by Published on 09-21-2020 12:53 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. From The Forums,
    4. Carriers

    ... Still, while AT&T is positioning its company around wireless and high-speed broadband, Apple’s 5G iPhones, expected to be announced in October, may not be the major event many are expecting. Economic challenges during Covid-19 quarantines may cause fewer people to upgrade immediately, said McElfresh. If you’re not in a hurry to upgrade to 5G, McElfresh shared some additional news -- AT&T engineers are already working on 6G.
    More at CNBC (paywall) and MacRumors
    by Published on 09-14-2020 12:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    NEW YORK – Verizon (NYSE: VZ) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with America Movil to acquire Tracfone, the leading pre-paid and value mobile provider in the U.S. The acquisition expands Verizon’s portfolio into the value segment, bringing enhanced access to its industry-leading wireless network and comprehensive suite of mobility products and services to a new customer base [...] The consideration for the transaction will include $3.125 billion in cash and $3.125 billion in Verizon common stock, subject to customary adjustments, at closing.
    Discuss the news on the Tracfone forum here, or the Verizon forum here.

    Source: Verizon Press Release via The Verge

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    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
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