• Carriers

    by Published on 02-05-2018 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers

    The CBC reported yesterday that Bell has officially expanded its phone unlocking policy to include devices not currently associated with an active account—in other words, second-hand phones intended for use on another network.

    A CRTC mandate had ordered all carriers in Canada to drop unlocking fees as of December 1st, 2017; Bell apparently decided that this ruling didn't apply to non-customer hardware, which non-customers only found out when they tried to get their used phones unlocked:

    In December, Dean Belanger contacted the telecom to get a second-hand Bell-locked phone unlocked for free. But when he called Bell, he says he was turned down because he had never had an account with the telecom.

    Belanger says he ended up getting the device unlocked by calling Virgin Mobile — which is owned by Bell — and pretending that a past Virgin account he had was tied to his Bell-locked phone.
    "I was quite surprised that they wouldn't do it unless I had an account," said Sophia Irons, who tried in December to get Bell to unlock a Bell-locked phone she had bought on Kijiji.

    She ended up requesting help from friends on Facebook, and managed to find a Bell customer willing to call the telecom and get her phone unlocked.
    A representative from Bell told the CBC that the carrier has implemented a system of further checks to ensure that any non-customer device was not stolen or linked to a delinquent account. This was their previous justification for refusing to unlock their phones for other networks.

    Source: CBC

    by Published on 01-31-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    Scumbag Samsung is at it again...

    If you're financing your ultra-premium Samsung flagship through your carrier, as most folks in North America do, it's entirely understandable that you'd want to de-bloat your phone—see this post from 2013 for some examples of Canadian carrier bloat on a Galaxy S4. One of the easier ways to do this has been to flash a different firmware onto your device; though Samsung phones are region-locked it's been possible to flash an in-region but non-carrier version of your device's firmware using tools and guides from XDA.

    Until now, that is: XDA reported yesterday that the January security update for the S8, S8+ and Note8 also includes a new bootloader, one that prevents the flashing of unlocked firmware on carrier-branded phones. If you try to change the firmware on your carrier-branded device you will hard-brick that device. Unlocked hardware purchased from Samsung or third parties seems unaffected.

    Though not explicitly stated by anyone on XDA or the cross-post to r/Android, it sounds to me like this "update" would also prevent users from flashing custom ROMs onto late model carrier-branded Samsungs.

    Remember that time when Samsung gave free phones to the CyanogenMod team? Those days are clearly gone.

    Source: XDA via r/Android

    by Published on 01-22-2018 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    OpenSignal has just published their bi-annual State of Mobile Networks Report for the USA. T-Mobile seems to have done pretty well, ranking first in five out of six metrics nationwide:

    4G download speed - T-Mobile
    3G download speed - T-Mobile
    Overall download speed - T-Mobile
    4G latency - AT&T
    3G latency - T-Mobile
    4G availability - T-Mobile

    AT&T took the crown for best average 4G latency at 58.3 ms—which actually sounds pretty terrible until you take into consideration the huge reporting area. Some more details on OpenSignal's testing:

    Reporting period: October 1st to December 30th, 2017
    Devices included in test: 237,213
    Total measurements: 5,928,296,946

    To find the best-performing carrier for your area you can see a list of 33 regional results at the first link directly below. And remember, any suspicions of these findings can be addressed by downloading the app for Android or iOS and joining the pool of test devices for the next report!

    Source: OpenSignal via Android Police

    by Published on 01-18-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers,
    3. Apps

    Researchers at Northeastern University have developed an app that can tell you which services are being throttled by your wireless carrier, and by how much. It's called Wehe, and it's only available for Android. Find out why below.

    How it works is fairly ingenious. Using YouTube as an example, Wehe spoofs that app for a random download, then repeats the download but with different metadata, fooling your carrier into thinking it's from another source. By comparing speeds you can determine if and by how much your YouTube videos are being throttled. In the case of BingeOn it's been shown that T-Mobile indiscriminately throttles all video to 1.5 Mbps, and with YouTube specifically limits video resolution to 360p.

    Wehe is currently able to test the following services via their apps:

    NBC Sports

    And what about iOS? Well, according to Motherboard Apple won't approve it. An App Store reviewer told the developers that Wehe "has no direct benefits to the user". Because carriers, I guess...

    Hopefully Wehe will find its way to APKMirror and/or F-Droid should Google ever come to a similar determination; in the meantime you can grab it on Google Play at the first link directly below.

    Links: Google Play, Motherboard, Wehe

    by Published on 12-27-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    As you can probably guess, there's a more accurate means to determine your strength of your phone's cellular radio than that icon in your status bar. On Android you can find numerical values, measured in dBM and asu as in the grabbed screen above, by navigating through your phone as follows:

    Settings > About phone > Status > SIM status

    While you could make the argument that Google is already doing a pretty good job of hiding this information from the user, a curious new commit to Android P discovered by XDA would suggest that it could be removed altogether. The reason for doing so can be found in a comment on the commit:

    Hide signal strength when told by carrier
    Ok Google, you suck.

    The good news is that the relevant APIs are unaffected—meaning that third-party Android apps like LTE Discovery and Signal Strength can still retrieve this data for the user.

    At best, carriers might simply wish for their Android offerings to be less geeky and intimidating for new users; at worse they don't want any attention drawn to their sub-par networks. For me, it's yet another reason to steer well clear of carrier-branded hardware.

    Source: XDA via Android Police

    by Published on 12-22-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    I'll never forget this one telephone exchange I had with Rogers. It was the mid-2000s and I was calling to cancel my cable package; after several minutes on hold with retentions, a rep came on the line to make me a final offer:

    "Listen, you've been a loyal customer for over a decade, and you've never made a late payment. What would you say if I told you I could knock a full third off of your cable bill?"

    My reflexive response: "I'd say you've been overcharging me for ten years."

    In the aftermath of this week's 10GB bonanza, Canadian wireless subscribers might rightfully be asking themselves: Why are plans that regularly go for $125/month or more suddenly only $60?

    We all know it's the one-two punch of Freedom Mobile and the CRTC mandate for unlocked phones; The Globe and Mail's telecom reporter, Christine Dobby, asked each of the incumbents for their take. The bad news is that her article is locked behind a paywall; the good news is that some thoughtful person on reddit copied and pasted the text of that article for everyone to enjoy. Here then, is how The Big Three justified the events of the past week:

    BCE spokesman Mark Langton pointed to the busy shopping season and said, "We respond to promotional action in the market and have our own holiday offers at Bell Mobility and Virgin, now and during Boxing Week. We have other offers on now and there will be more through the rest of the season."

    Rogers also cited the holidays, and spokeswoman Sarah Schmidt added: "We'll continue to offer time-limited promotions to meet the different needs of our customers."

    Telus did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
    I was sure that I'd read somewhere about someone from Telus saying that they were responding to a regional offer by a competitor, which is actually closer to the truth than anything above. Unfortunately I can't find a citation for that. But the important thing is that Canada has a new benchmark for smartphone plans and what they should cost. To borrow a slogan from WIND Mobile, that's a holiday miracle!

    Source: Globe and Mail via r/canada

    by Published on 12-19-2017 06:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    Here's hoping that every Canadian reading this was able to jump onto a 10GB/month plan yesterday; if not, I've been hearing that some carriers are extending their promos until end of day today. I actually joined in on the fun myself, and am now the proud owner of two Rogers SIMs—one each for the girlfriend and I.

    Why, as a Freedom Mobile customer, would I even want to admit this? Because the Rogers SIMs are going to be used only as backups in the second SIM slots of our two OnePlus phones; our primary voice, text and data service will be with Freedom Mobile. I'll be sealing the deal by porting out our numbers from Koodo later today.

    Some Howard Forums members seem to have a hard time believing this, but Freedom's service in downtown Toronto has, in more than a month's worth of use, been surprisingly good. I can think of only two places where I've not had a reliable signal—in the basement of The Bay's Queen Street store and a lawyer's office where there weren't any nearby windows.

    For scenarios like these getting back online will be as simple as switching our data connection to Rogers. Those lines were activated on the same $5/month tablet flex plan; they're ready if we need them, but the cost of keeping them on standby is low. In fact, for the next twenty months they're basically free, since Freedom is giving each of our lines a $10 credit per month.

    Back in the summer of 2014 when FM was still WIND Mobile I wrote that I wouldn't fault anyone for voting with their wallet—that is, paying for service with an upstart carrier to divert money that would otherwise go to The Big Three. Today, with a dual-SIM phone you can finally have the best of both worlds. And if that dual-SIM device is a OnePlus 5 or 5T you get a pretty fantastic Android smartphone as well!

    by Published on 12-18-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    Oh, it's a gold rush, all right... in this country, a 10GB data bucket has never been so cheap!

    In the absence of any other data, here's a poll that iPhone in Canada ran over the weekend, asking its community which carrier, if any, was chosen for a new 10GB $60/month plan. Here are the results, as of 7:30am Eastern Time this morning:

    Koodo Mobile - 21.98% (826 votes)
    Fido - 19.13% (719 votes)
    Rogers - 16.05% (603 votes)
    Telus - 13.97% (525 votes)
    Bell - 11.68% (439 votes)
    Freedom Mobile - 6.6% (248 votes)
    Virgin Mobile - 5.27% (198 votes)

    None—I live outside Alberta, BC or Ontario - 5.32% (200 votes)
    Total Votes - 3,758

    Not an exhaustive data set, to be sure, but it's something at least. And the most heartening thing for me here is that Freedom Mobile didn't score last. Remember, the only reason why Alberta, BC and Ontario are suddenly seeing big data buckets at reasonable rates is because Freedom is finally selling the iPhone on a halfway decent 4G network...

    Source: iPhone in Canada

    by Published on 12-15-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    Something rather unusual is going on with Canada's Big Three carriers: in select markets they're starting to offer big monthly data buckets at reasonable prices.

    iPhone in Canada ran three separate stories on this yesterday. First was the news of a Fido and Rogers promo for Alberta and BC, offering 5GB and Canada-wide calling for $60/month, with an extra 5GB for 24 months. Later in the day there was another scoop about a targeted offer for Rogers and Chatr prepaid customers, 4GB of data for $40/month or 6GB for $60 if they switched to Rogers BYOD postpaid. Finally, there was a report that Bell would be offering a 10GB $60/month plan of its own.

    And where is TELUS in all of this? Apparently its flanker brand Koodo will be announcing something similar today. That's especially good news for Big Three subscribers in Ontario, as Koodo's out-of-province plans have historically been fairly easy to get.

    The reason for this sudden surge in affordable data plans has got to be the one-two punch of Freedom Mobile's cheap 4G offerings and the fact that they're now an official vendor/subsidizer of Apple's iPhone. Even if you think their network sucks—and my experience with a Band 66-compatible phone in downtown Toronto would suggest that it doesn't—you potentially stand to gain from their affordable data, improved network and available handsets.

    If only The Big Three were competitive across the entire country, then we'd really have something to celebrate...

    Source: iPhone in Canada (1) (2) (3)

    by Published on 12-14-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    Apologies for the Toronto-centric news (how Canadian of me!) but a bunch of new subway stations are opening in the GTA this weekend, and for people who live here it's a pretty big deal.

    As Mobile Syrup reports, every one of these new stations will have free T-Connect WiFi available, but for Freedom Mobile subscribers there's even better news: the carrier's band 66 LTE will be available not only on the extension's subterranean platforms, but throughout the 9 kilometers of tunnel as well.

    BAI Canada, who won the contract to provide WiFi and cellular service to the TTC's underground in 2013, has now wired all 75 subway stations for service. They expect to have all tunnels in the downtown core connected by next summer.

    Yes, this means that you may have to endure one side of your fellow commuters' inane phone conversations, but if you're the more considerate type you'll also be able to message your friends and loved ones in silence.

    I don't use the TTC every day but when I do Freedom's underground connectivity has been fantastic, with a strong signal already following me halfway through the tunnel to the next station. And soon it will be even better!

    Source: Mobile Syrup

    by Published on 12-12-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers

    In this unfortunate era of fake news I've made it a daily habit to visit Snopes. In a more innocent time one might go there to fact-check an urban myth; these days the site's scope has expanded to include other types of misinformation, like misleading tweets from members of Congress.

    This past October 26th Representative Ro Khanna of California tweeted a screen grab of the Portuguese carrier MEO, presenting it as the dystopian future that awaits an America without net neutrality protections. His heart's in the right place, but according to Snopes that's not what's actually going on here.

    Hey, not everybody speaks Portuguese, right?

    So, first of all, as a member of the European Union, Portugal enjoys net neutrality protections set by the EU regulator BEREC. What we're actually looking at in this MEO screen shot is a selection of zero-rated data bundles—apps and services that, for an additional fee, won't be subject to the user's monthly data cap. The idea, if not the execution, is similar to T-Mobile's Binge On.

    In the EU, as in Canada, zero-rated data offerings come under scrutiny if they are suspected of disadvantaging similar services. For example, Bell Canada's mobile TV offering was disallowed by our CRTC because it was not subject to data caps, and was therefore anti-competitive against other video services, like Netflix and YouTube, that were.

    It's difficult to pitch zero-rated data as a net neutrality issue because everybody wants free stuff—or, in the case of MEO subscribers, unlimited access to the services they use most. But don't be fooled by tweets; Portugal does have a zero-rated data problem, but also strong net neutrality protections.

    Sources: @RoKhanna on Twitter, Snopes

    by Published on 12-07-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Carriers

    If you were planning a visit to your local Verizon outlet today, there's something you should know: "Team Internet", a coalition of the activist groups Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press, is planning a national day of action at Verizon stores around the country. Participants will be protesting the FCC's planned repeal of net neutrality protections in the United States.

    On November 21st FCC Chief Ajit Pai formally revealed plans to reverse the commission's 2015 net neutrality order, more specifically the Title II protections for broadband and mobile Internet traffic. The worry is that without Title II there will be nothing to stop Internet service providers from prioritizing, for example, their own video streaming services over Netflix or YouTube. Pai, on the other hand, claims that Title II has stifled innovation and investment in network infrastructure.

    The FCC will vote on Pai's plan on December 14th; the repeal is expected to go through with commissioners voting 3 for and 2 against, along party lines. What today's protests are expected to accomplish beyond raising awareness is unclear. Depending on where you stand on this issue it could be either a minor annoyance or something you'll very much want to be a part of.

    Link: VerizonProtests.com

    by Published on 11-24-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips,
    4. Carriers,
    5. Apps

    Too late for the midnight stampedes, but I'm hoping this will at least serve as a starting point for your mobile-centric Black Friday shopping. It's not exhaustive by any means; you'll notice that Android Police and Mobile Syrup are responsible for a few links each. Kudos to them for doing the grunt work so that I didn't have to.


    Amazon Canada’s Black Friday tech deals are now live!

    Best Buy VIP Black Friday sale now live with discounts on smartphones, tablets, smart home devices

    Freedom Mobile offers up to $450 in MyTab savings for Black Friday

    Here are Canadian carriers' 2017 Black Friday deals

    Rogers and Fido launch Black Friday iPhone deals


    2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals roundup [Updated continuously]

    Deal: Get 3 months of unlimited data for $99 from Rok Mobile

    Fossil smartwatch Black Friday sale: 30% reduction on Android Wear

    Free iPhone 8: The Best Black Friday Deal Is From T-Mobile

    Here are Google Play's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals

    Feel free to add any deals not mentioned above, for the benefit of anyone else reading this. Happy bargain hunting, and stay safe out there!

    by Published on 11-23-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers

    This is what it's been like to be a Canadian on the Internet this week...

    In the United States Ajit Pai's FCC is moving forward on plans to remove Title II protections for home and mobile Internet users; meanwhile, in Canada, such protections have arguably never been stronger. When it comes to wireless, net neutrality inevitably ends up focusing on zero-rated data. Fellow Canadian forum readers may remember your very own Ben Klass who, in a 26-page complaint to our CRTC, convinced our regulator that Bell's zero-rated mobile television offering was in violation of this country's Telecommunications Act.

    Earlier this week Ars Technica posted a deep dive into exactly how the CRTC deals with zero-rated data offerings. Ben Klass already knows that the regulator has a complaints-based rather than blanket policy in such matters; there are, in fact, four criteria considered with every complaint:

    1. The degree to which the treatment of data is agnostic (i.e., data is treated equally regardless of its source or nature);
    2. Whether the offering is exclusive to certain customers or certain content providers;
    3. The impact on Internet openness and innovation;
    4. Whether there is financial compensation involved.

    For more insights into net neutrality in Canada vs. the USA, plus zero-rated data as treated by the CRTC vs. FCC, see the link immediately below.

    Link: Ars Technica

    by Published on 11-22-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    Mobile Syrup has a pretty big scoop this morning: they've been able to confirm that Freedom Mobile will start carrying the iPhone in-store as of December 8th. And not cast-off refurbished hardware, either—the carrier will offer new stock and the full complement of 2017's iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.

    In Western Canada there will be even more Apple product to choose from; because FM is already running their 2500MHz spectrum in that part of the country the iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7 and 7 Plus will be available on the same date. Those same devices will be available in Eastern Canada once that spectrum gets lit up in early 2018.

    Canadians who finance their smartphone purchases (ie. most of us) stand to reap some considerable savings over 24 months, as all iPhones will be $0 down. Check the link below for details on that.

    It will be interesting to see what Apple's iconic smartphone can do for Freedom's subscriber numbers and, if there ends up being a big influx of new users, whether or not FM's young LTE network can handle it.

    Source: Mobile Syrup

    by Published on 11-03-2017 06:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    Mobile Syrup has confirmed what I myself tested yesterday, that the upstart Android smartphone-maker OnePlus now has much better support for LTE Band 66 on Canada's upstart carrier, Freedom Mobile.

    Here's the changelog from the official announcement on the OnePlus Forums:

    Supported Airtel VoLTE in India
    Supported Band 66 of Freedom in Canada
    Fixed Wi-Fi WPA2 security issue
    Optimized battery usage in some cases
    Optimized GPS accuracy
    General bug fixes
    After flashing the update I went for an mid-afternoon stroll through several neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto: Baldwin Village, the U of T campus, The Annex, Kensington Market and Chinatown. Everywhere I checked I had a solid 4G signal, and every time I ran a speed test I got the same results that were so elusive to my device just a week before.

    Building penetration is still an issue, of course. In certain places, like the bathrooms at the back of restaurants, the best available data signal is still HSPA+ or worse. But the software update is enough of an improvement that I can now recommend the OnePlus 5 to anyone on the Freedom network—more than any other phone, in fact, since you can test a Freedom SIM in either of the phone's dual SIM slots while keeping your current SIM in the other one!

    Links: OnePlus Forums, Mobile Syrup, XDA

    by Published on 10-31-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    Thanks to the CRTC, come this December 1st your Canadian carrier will no longer be able to sell phones locked to its own network. It's great news for consumers in this country; even better, some carriers are getting ahead of the deadline and have begun unlocking their hardware for free!

    I've cobbled together a quick list of who is currently selling unlocked smartphones (and also LTE-connected tablets). It's by no means complete, so please feel free to add to it. And it doesn't include your local Apple Store or pop-up Samsung shop—because we already knew about those, right?

    Bell and Virgin Mobile

    Both Bell and its subsidiary Virgin Mobile have begun selling a considerable portion of their device portfolios without any carrier locks:

    Alcatel GoFlip and Pixi 5
    All Google devices
    All iPhones and iPads
    BlackBerry KEYOne (requires software update)
    LG Q6
    Motorola Z2 Play
    Samsung Note 8
    ZTE Grand X View 2 Tablet

    Best Buy Canada

    All iPhones for all carriers are now sold unlocked, even the ones with subsidies.


    "Some" devices are now sold unlocked... That's super-helpful </s>.

    Freedom Mobile

    There are anecdotal reports of users getting unlocking fees waived. Your mileage may vary; I asked about unlocking a phone when activating a line on Freedom and was told I'd have to wait thirty days.

    Rogers and Fido

    Both are waiving unlocking fees, but only for devices bought outright.

    Staples Canada

    The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now available unlocked for outright purchase, and also on an in-house 24-month payment plan.

    TELUS and Koodo

    Again, anecdotal evidence of unlocking fees being waived. YMMV.

    If you've anything to add to this list, please help your fellow readers out!

    Sources: iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup (1), (2), (3)

    by Published on 10-23-2017 02:30 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    Here is Freedom Mobile's LTE network at its very best in downtown Toronto, observed by yours truly in the second SIM slot of his Band 66-compatible OnePlus 5. I've definitely recorded better download speeds on Bell/Koodo/TELUS in the same neighbourhood, but Freedom's speeds—and the low latency in particular—is perfectly acceptable for almost anything you'd ask a modern smartphone to do.

    But here's the thing: in my three days of informal testing across the GTA that LTE signal was pretty hard to come by. More often than not I was stuck on HSPA+, sometimes even on (gasp) 3G!

    Not only that, but I can recall two incidents in particular where Freedom let me down entirely: the first was in the parking lot at IKEA North York, where the latency was so bad that launching Google Maps yielded no traffic data; the second was in the basement of Hudson's Bay Company at Queen and Yonge, where I was surprised to suddenly find myself with no signal at all.

    The rest of the time data on Freedom was slow but serviceable. I did keep an eye on my phone's status bar, and when a rare 4G signal magically appeared I immediately did a speed test, with results similar to what you see above. This may, of course, be an issue unique to my unsupported hardware. But a chat with a rep at my local Freedom outlet gave me the impression that the phones sold by the carrier exhibit similar behaviour.

    I will never fault anyone for choosing Freedom Mobile to vote with their wallet; Canada's Big Three carriers have been ripping us off for far too long. But while I'd definitely recommend an LTE upgrade to an existing user, I also think that any Big Three customer looking to jump ship is in for a disappointing ride.

    by Published on 10-17-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers

    Well, this was unexpected...

    I was all set to activate a SIM and try out one of Freedom Mobile's impossibly good data plans today—that is until late last night, when I read news of even better plans on the way. iPhone in Canada reports that the new plans will make their début this Thursday, October 19th.

    Big Gig plans do not include calls from Canada to the USA, but for a limited time will offer free international SMS and MMS. Options are as follows:

    $50/month: 12GB data (8GB + 4GB bonus) within Home; 250MB within Away
    $70/month: 15GB data (8GB + 7GB bonus) within Home; 500MB within Away
    $90/month: 20GB data (12GB + 8GB bonus) within Home; 1GB within Away

    If you didn't know, the "Away" data allotments are for roaming within Canada outside of Freedom's limited Home network.

    Everywhere Canada plans add long distance to the USA (from within Freedom's Home zones) plus 2,400 minutes of in-Canada roaming. International SMS and MMS are also included:

    $50/month: 5GB (4GB + 1GB bonus) within Home; 250MB within Away
    $60/month: 10GB (6GB + 4GB bonus) within Home; 500MB within Away
    $75/month: 12GB (9GB + 3GB bonus) within Home; 1GB within Away
    $100/month: 20GB (15GB + 5GB bonus) within Home; 1GB within Away

    Note that neither of the new plans include any free data when in the United States. If that's important to you then you'll want to jump on the current $50/month plan, which includes 1 free gigabyte of data per month from within the USA.

    Freedom is definitely on a tear to get new customers, and I can't help but wonder if their current promotion isn't getting the activations they were hoping for. Their LTE network still seems plenty fast, even in downtown Toronto. And just last week there was a weird moment when the girlfriend and I walked by a Freedom outlet at Yorkdale Mall. Not only was the store empty, but the entire staff was assembled at the entrance, staring down passers-by as if trying to will them into entering.

    Has anyone here switched to Freedom from Koodo? I'm seriously considering it—once I do some further testing, of course...

    Source: iPhone in Canada

    by Published on 10-12-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers

    This week Koodo finally joined the ranks of other Canadian carriers in offering its own "roam like home" service; for a daily charge of either $7 or $10 CAD you can access your data bucket in the USA or the rest of the world. And while its uninspired moniker, Easy Roam, isn't so impressive, the list of supported countries definitely is. Plus you can sign up for the service via SMS, like I did above.

    I know what you're thinking: I must really feel like an loser owning this dog of a dual SIM phone, right? I mean, what a waste of money that thing turned out to be! Yeah, not so much...

    Let's do some math on my upcoming winter vacation, to (big surprise) Hong Kong and Japan. We'll be going to Osaka first and spending 9 nights there. Using Easy Roam for those 9 nights would cost my girlfriend and I $90 each, or $180 for the both of us. With local taxes that comes to a total of $203.40 CAD. But if we rent a WiFi hotspot like we've done in the past, we would instead pay only $134 USD, or about $167 CAD, with no additional taxes (see option 3 here). More importantly, that hotspot rental comes with an extra 9 GB of LTE data to share between us.

    Granted, there is the hassle of carrying an extra gadget around and keeping it charged, and also staying within range of it—if we split up on separate shopping trips then only the person with the hotspot will be connected. However, the numbers don't lie: for two people in this scenario, renting a hotspot is definitely cheaper.

    When it comes to Hong Kong there's no contest. For $118 HKD—the equivalent of just $19 CAD—what I believe to be the world's best tourist SIM gives each of us 5 GB of LTE data over 8 days. Using Easy Roam for those same 8 days would cost more than 4 times as much!

    So why did I even bother activating Easy Roam at all? Convenience, mostly. I can think of at least two additional scenarios where it would come in very handy. The first is transiting through an airport or a layover where there's no free WiFi. It happens, sometimes. And Easy Roam would come in very handy at a destination where there's no good local SIM solution—like if we don't feel like buying a pair of BlackBerries just to use in Bermuda, for example.

    It's great that all six brands of Canada's Big Three carriers now offer a more affordable way of roaming internationally. Just know that they're not necessarily the best value when travelling abroad.

    Source: Mobile Syrup

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    charmedangelina Today, 07:47 AM Go to last post

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    Quick update on Toggle: their website is still down, and emails to their CS address which worked a week ago are bouncing. Their phone number works but no one answered (though I only waited on hold 4...

    djphilosophy Today, 07:35 AM Go to last post