Monday, August 03, 2009

Seven point five months and ongoing with 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless Canada

If this post sounds familiar, its because I did a semi-review kind of thing last September 2008 for Virgin Mobile Canada, but I dumped them in December 2008 (roughly 3 months after my post, hardy har har) because my top-up expired, as well as I found a cheaper provider. Narf and zort!

Back in December 2008, I was quite fed up with the 30¢/minute rate and 15¢/sending text (free to receive) rate of Virgin's because that ate up money quick (and because of how they had kept increasing rates previously). A good friend told me about 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless Canada, which I initially thought was ridiculous at the time because one doesn’t usually think of mobile phones when one thinks of 7-Eleven. Anyways, after reading many websites, forums, and other reviews of other people, (mostly from the awesome: The Unofficial 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless Canada Consumer Page -- I decided to switch to them because they sounded quite legit and reasonable after all my research.

At the time, Speak Out was offering a wonderful incentive for me to switch: buy $100 worth of airtime (what Virgin calls “top-up”) and get a free phone! The super duper Nokia 1208! The worm danced in front of me and I bit the hook. It didn’t hurt. And the worm was delicious. Tasted like molded plastic and 96 x 68 pixels.

The cool thing about Speak Out is that their initial rates are 25¢/minute, but if you buy airtime worth $75 and up, they say that they’ll charge you 20¢/minute! Actually however, they just give 25% more airtime so when I bought my $100 airtime and free phone and activated everything, the system said I had $125 remaining (but the system would still charge me 25¢/minute). I was happy.

Actually I’m still happy.

I talked to Virgin Mobile reps before switching and of course they tried to get me to stay by offering me free top-up, but it wasn’t much. For the most part, Virgin’s customer service is good, but I haven’t had any problems with Speak Out’s. Actually, I think I’ve only called Speak Out’s reps once or twice when I was initially activating my phone and porting my number to my new Nokia 1208. Because my airtime expires after 365 days, I haven’t called since.

One bummer thing about Speak Out is that there is a monthly 911 fee where they subtract 99¢ each month from my airtime, so actually, if I were to buy $100 worth of airtime for one whole year, it’s actually about $113. Maybe another bummer thing is that it cost to receive text, but sending/receiving texts is just 5¢/each so that’s okay. But they don’t charge for voicemail and caller ID. Yay.

So what about the Nokia 1208?

It’s significantly smaller than my old hunkajunk Nokia 6015i and of course is lighter. It doesn’t have a camera or can play mp3s, video or fancy stuff like that, but it has a FLASHLIGHT! So cool! It also has neat converting stuff (weight, length, temperature, currency, etc) which apparently is standard on most phones… so actually, my new phone is still quite lacking and sort of outdated still, but the most important thing is that I’m happy with it, and it’s far unlikely to get stolen. I can even change the background colour and themes! It’s on a soothing blue now. Hmmm, one annoying thing I forgot to mention about this phone is that I can’t change the background text, as it constantly has the words “Speak Out” across it every time I look at it. It’s not life threatening though.

Here’s the only picture of my Nokia 1208. I was comparing it to a gigantic curry puff in Shah Alam, Malaysia during breakfast. Look how gigantic that thing is! It was mainly filled with potato but it did have some meat. It was reasonably spicy and the pastry part was great. Probably fried in dirty oil, but do I care? No. I think my aunt bought it for me from a street peddler. Mmmm. I like food.

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