Review: WIND Mobile vs Mobilicity in Alberta

The two independent carriers in Alberta are WIND Mobile and Mobilicity. Here’s a first hand comparison of both carriers from a consumer’s point of view. Both carriers were evaluated using special deals for unlimited talk time, free Canada wide calling, unlimited texts to the US & Canada, and unlimited data at $32/mo each after taxes & fees.

In Canada, it’s very hard to get away from the Big Three if you want decent wireless service at a price that won’t run in to the hundreds of dollars per month. The only real options, especially if you’re bringing your own phone, are WIND and Mobilicity (Fido is also cheap, but owned by Rogers Telecommunications).

WIND Mobile

Mobilicity

Website

(using Firefox & Windows XP)

Broken, and has been for at least a year. Links in header navigation (Shop, Support, My Account) don’t work.
Even if you manually copy and paste links into your browser’s address bar, many pages don’t work properly – most notably, their technical & customer support requests!
Works well; very responsive and layout is easy to navigate.

Live Technical Support

Surprisingly good, although wait times are long. Very hit or miss, much like other outsourced technical support such as Dell. If you get someone who knows what they’re doing, great! If not, you’re going to spend a lot of time while they fumble through scripts and knowledge bases while totaling failing to even understand the issue, much less being able to help.

Customer Care / Billing

Abysmal in most cases. The most notable failure was a month’s service that was charged twice. After submitting bank statements to show that it had been paid, WIND has still not been in contact after four months, and it’s now been two months since service was terminated. Not evaluated – no problems encountered to date. If you have had any experiences with their customer care, please let us know about it in the comments!

Coverage

Good both in Edmonton & Calgary and along major highways. Usually get 3-4 bars. Good both in Edmonton & Calgary and along major highways. Usually get 1-2 bars and sometimes no signal.

Call Quality

Very poor. Calls regularly produced sounds like monkeys screeching while being eaten by lions. Calls drop more often than not. Mediocre. Calls occasionally drop.

Data

Excellent; speed and data caps are both high.
Tethering works well.
Good; speed is respectable and data caps is high.
Tethering works OK.

Phones Offered

Mediocre phones, usually underpowered.
However, you can bring your own phone and this is recommended. Score a cheap unlocked Android phone off of eBay or Craigslist to supercharge your experience with VOIP.
Good. Some really nice Android phones, including the Note 2!
You can also bring your own phone. Score a cheap unlocked Android phone off of eBay or Craigslist to take advantage of all that data available!

Other Notes

Voicemail interface is non-standard. Since when does pressing “3″ save a message? I find this regularly irritating.

Both carriers use the AWS 1700 MHz spectrum, which doesn’t offer as much bandwidth/penetration as other spectrums. However, there are tons of Android phones you can buy that use this spectrum (for instance, T Mobile branded phones). Mobilicity has also just introduced 4G coverage as well, for an extra $20/mo.

Overall, the winner is Mobilicity. WIND has better coverage is good, but what use is it if you can’t understand the caller or can’t keep the call from dropping? Go with Mobilicity if you want a budget plan without contract lock-in and OK service and coverage. 

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Posted in Cell Phones & Wireless Service
3 comments on “Review: WIND Mobile vs Mobilicity in Alberta
  1. xtachx says:

    I used to be a HUGE Mobilicity fanboy, but then I took an arrow to the knee… :(

    • Since writing this article, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. After experiencing Mobilicity’s customer service, wherein they refused to troubleshoot an issue at all because I was using a non-Mobilicity phone (their call in services, such as voicemail and their customer service hotline, were not properly recognizing phone pad keypresses). Since the phone transmitted phone pad keypresses on every other service I tried (such as telephone banking), the problem was obviously on their end, but regardless they refused to even discuss it if I wasn’t using one of their handsets. WIND, on the other hand, is much more reasonable, and their technical support will attempt to troubleshoot any Android handset with you (if that is *actually* the source of the issue, which wasn’t the case in this instance).

  2. nicole says:

    I bought my phone from a mobilicity kiosk. Trusting them, that this was their phone. I got a warranty in case something should happen. I noticed bad signals with them, which was frustrating. One day, my phone went flying and shattered the screen. I was told yes, my warranty that I had paid for three months would cover the damage. I called the warranty, gave them my info. The guy said. .. your not on here, are you sure you have a mobilicity phone. Well, I bought it from a mobilicity kiosk so yes, I am sure! I went to the kiosk and explained. The guy said the warranty does not cover my phone. My phone is a third party phone. Still confused on what he was saying because I bought it from them. I spoke to the manager and he called the center. He repeated what they said, my phone is a third party phone. Not a mobilicity phone. Therefore my warranty does not cover anything. The manager told me that mobilcity could not keep up with production of the samsung galaxy s3′s and was told to purchase elsewhere.. which was tmobile. Any s3s purchased around January 2013 until April 2013 or however long. Are third party phones that are not locked or covered by their company.
    I had to fight to get my money back for my warranty. A lady said I did not qualify, she hung up on me. I talked to man who did refund my money.
    I will never go to mobilicity again for services, nor recommend them.
    I’m currently with wind and have been with them for six months. I love it, and can’t wait to get a new phone to continue with wind!

    Stay away from mobilicity. Or check your phone and make sure its actually their phone. Especially if you want a warranty.

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