Sunday, March 17, 2013

WIND Mobile: Pay for What You Get

Buyer beware for anyone shopping around for a mobile provider. Low monthly fees, all inclusive packages including unlimited data, sounds too good to be true? On some level WIND is providing "some" of the service they claim to offer, but there's a lot more going on that the average person isn't aware of.

Fundamentally I want to support WIND for what they've tried to do, which Koodo/Telus was suppose to do but didn't - that was to create competition and lower prices for the average consumer. Rogers and Bell have long since been accused of price fixing and creating a modern monopoly in Canada's telecommunications.

WIND is running on its own network, meaning that they have their own towers which their network is based off of. WIND is constantly adding new areas of service, as they are focused on continuously expanding their network. It's important to understand that there's only four companies who have their own network, which is Rogers, Bell, Telus, and most recently WIND. There's companies such as Mobilicity, Koodo, Virgin, and many others that run off of these networks. This is important to mention as their is many companies, and few service providers.

To make it simple, WIND is still in its infancy phase. The towers provide significantly less coverage than that of Rogers and Bell - and of course they would, Rogers and Bell have had a twenty year start on them. There's plenty of areas that are technically "covered" by the WIND network but are actually "dead zones", where there is little to no coverage. My house is technically a "dead zone", as I constantly lose connection to the network and have pretty much given up on the idea of using my phone at home. On the flip side, some of my friends and colleagues have no problem getting a signal at their places of residence. It's hit or miss, and that to me speaks volume about the inconsistency of being a customer of WIND. Walmart is another place that is an impregnable fortress when it comes to getting a signal on WIND. I've been in various Walmarts but I am always incapable of getting a signal. Usually this means I have to manually re-connect to the network, this happens on almost a daily basis where I lose signal and have to manually search for the network and reconnect to it.

My conception of wireless phone plans were staunchly negative until I realized what truly a "tab" meant. Being on a tab sounds great on paper, you don't have to stay with the company if you don't want to, the monthly fees are generally lower, etc. I ran into a situation where my mobile phone malfunctioned two months out of warranty, so I took it back to WIND. They told me they could send it to Samsung but since it was out of warranty they would likely charge me around $100 to fix the phone, and since WIND only guaranteed me a one year warranty they weren't going to do much more than that. Realizing my phone was still worth several hundred dollars, I agreed. I got a call about a month later from WIND letting me know that Samsung came back with an estimate of $240 to fix a malfunctioning button. If I was on a contract with Rogers or Bell, they would have most likely nullified the plan and gave me a new phone - as long as I agreed to sign up for another 2 or 3 year contract from the point of me getting a new phone. After years of fighting the concept of mobile phone plans, I am beginning to see less of a problem with them. That is as long as the monthly fees are not outrageous. It's not like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and decide I don't need a phone.

I don't want to see WIND fail, but I also can't continue to justify paying a company money for a sub-par service - mainly because I hate their competitors. Hopefully most Canadians realize that when it comes to telecommunications we're getting screwed, hard.


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