The Unofficial FAQ

Last updated December 2, 2014

What’s new

  • Get $25 bonus airtime and $50 off a phone with a $100 airtime purchase through December 31, 2014 — forum thread here
  • Ongoing promotion: $20 off any phone purchase with a $50 airtime purchase

If you see any errors or have any other questions, post a comment in the forum.

Please don’t blame me if any information is wrong. I’ll try my best to update it as things change (since I’m also a customer of the service…) but if they do something like change the voicemail fee from free to $10 a minute I would like to disclaim all liability for your charges. Call them up (see FAQ #2) if you’re unsure of anything!

Contact information

1. What’s the official website for 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless Canada?

Check it out at http://speakout7eleven.ca. It has quite a bit of good information now!

2. What’s the customer service number?

If you’re already a customer, dial 611 from your cell phone. If not, call 1-866-310-1023.

Phone calls

3. What are the per-minute calling rates?

Local outgoing calls and all incoming calls are 25 cents per minute (previously 20 cents per minute). Long distance calls within Canada and the US are 45 cents per minute (previously 30 cents per minute). Calls are charged by the minute, rounded up. For example, if you make a 1 minute and 1 second call, you are charged for 2 minutes.

Summary of rates

Voucher
$25, $35, $50, $100
Local call 0.25
Long distance or roaming CAN or US call 0.45
Receive txt Free
Send CAN txt 0.10
Send US txt 0.10
Send INTL txt 0.35
Monthly 911 1.25

* Note also that all prices are before tax, as you must pay tax when you purchase a voucher

Speak Out Wireless also has monthly (30-day) plans for $20, $25, or $30.

Note that Speak Out Wireless is unique in that calls within your area code are all local (even if you have an area code that is split across a large distance), in addition to some normal cross-area codes that would be considered local. For example:
604 can call 604 & 778 locally
250 can call 250 & 778 locally
778 can call all of BC locally: 778, 250 & 604
416/647, 905/289, 519/226 are all local to each other

4. Can you make “roaming” calls in Canada and the US?

If you are within Canada, all calls outside your local calling area are long distance calls, while all calls within your local calling area are local calls. This even applies when roaming (within Canada). For example, if your local calling area is Vancouver and you visit Toronto, all calls made back to Vancouver are considered local calls. Calls to Toronto, even while you are in Toronto, would be considered long distance calls.

You cannot make calls with your Canadian 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless phone if you are in the US.

4a. What if you call someone internationally outside of Canada and the US?

The international rate for outgoing calls is often a dollar or more per minute (the local airtime rate + the international rate depending on the country). It is often cheaper to call through a third-party service (even for long-distance calls within Canada and the US) such as yak.ca or justdial.ca. With these services, you call a local number and they route you through to the international number. Therefore, you are charged the local 7-Eleven rate (25 cents per minute) plus the third-party rate. You should choose a third-party provider that uses a TOLL FREE number. If you choose a local number to connect, you may be billed for both the local call and the long distance call as if they were conferenced.

Note that if someone calls you from an international location, you are only charged the normal local rate (25 cents per minute).

4b. What are the rates for toll-free calls?

They are billed at the local rate. The only so-called “free” calls are: a 911 emergency call; a 611 call to customer service; *777 (or one of the “on screen” options) to check your balance; and *888 to add airtime.

Text messaging

5. What are the text messaging rates?

Incoming messages from anywhere are free.

Outgoing messages to Canada are 10 cents each.
Outgoing messages to the United States are 10 cents each.
Outgoing messages outside of Canada and the US are 35 cents each.

There is a monthly (30-day) texting bundle that gives you unlimited outgoing messages (to Canada and the US) for $15 a month. (This is worth it if you send more than 150 outgoing messages in a month.)

6. Can I send text messages to a 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless phone via the Internet or via e-mail, like on other providers?

There is no official 7-Eleven form, but you can search for and use third-party SMS websites at your own risk. There is always a danger of the recipient’s number ending up on some sort of spam list.

Computer to phone text messaging is not officially supported, neither is cell to landline. Both have been known to work on occasion, but it is unpredictable and no support is available if it suddenly stops. You might be able to use the Rogers website for 2-way texting, although this is not officially supported.

6a. Can I send picture messages?

Multimedia and picture messages are not supported.

6b. Can I send texts to short codes?

Speak Out Wireless does not support short codes (like 33333) that are often used in promotions, transit services, and so on.

Other fees

7. What’s the 911 fee?

$1.25 per month (no tax will be applied as that was already included in the voucher fee). If funds are not available in your account when the fee is due, any outstanding 911 fees will be taken off immediately when the next voucher is added.

8. What’s the System Access Fee (SAF)

There isn’t one, nor should there be for any pay as you go plans (although Bell has recently implemented one).

9. What are the voicemail charges?

Retrieving messages are free if you check voicemail from a landline, but regular airtime charges apply if you check your voicemail using your Speak Out cell phone. You are not charged for the time that other callers spend leaving messages on your voicemail. Of course, they are charged regular airtime charges if they use a cell phone to leave a message.

Call customer service if you really don’t want voicemail.

10. How much are extra services such as caller ID?

Incoming caller ID is free (showing the caller’s number only) and is automatically included with the service. Outgoing caller ID (showing your number only) is also included. You cannot customize your outgoing caller ID to show your name.

11. Is there tax on the top ups?

Yes. So a $25 top up is not just $25 as you have to add on your regular sales tax. But this is the case with all providers.

Your account

12. What are the top-up denominations?

$25, $35, $50, $100. Every denomination lasts for 365 days. If you top up again, the expiry date will be 365 days from the latest top-up. Any existing balance you had at the time of the top up will also be carried forward to be valid for another 365 days.

13. How do I top up?
You can now buy vouchers online. See this forum thread.

or

Buy a voucher from a 7-Eleven store and activate it within 365 days. There will be instructions on the receipt on how to add the money to your account. Usually you just have to call 611 and press option 1. Then, you’ll have to punch in the number on your receipt. You can also activate your voucher on the Speak Out website.

13a. What happens if my airtime expires or my balance reaches $0?

If your balance reaches 0 but your expiry has not been reached, you cannot use the phone until airtime is added. If the expiry date is reached, any remaining balance is removed. You can call customer service to have the balance re-instated. If it is within 7 days they are required to do so by Canadian law (see http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/info_sht/t14.htm) even if Speak Out asserts that it is a one-time only favour.

You have 45 days to add airtime after the expiry date is reached; otherwise the SIM card will become void (and your phone number will be re-assigned) and you need to buy another Speak Out SIM card.

14. How do I check my balance?

Dial 611 from your 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless cell phone and choose option 2. Or, dial *777. Either option is a free call.

You can also check your balance online now at http://www.speakout7eleven.ca.

You can also dial the following to perform some account management tasks on your phone screen instead of via audio:

*777#
This will display the cash balance and expiry. Same as *777 but visual.

*777*1#
This will display the bundle minutes balance and expiry. Plus the cash balance and expiry.

*777*2#
This will display the bundle text balance and expiry. Plus the cash balance and expiry.

*888*pin_number#
This will add your airtime voucher and display a confirmation message, including new balance and expiry date.

15. How do I check my account history?

You cannot at the moment. It’s been “coming soon” for quite a while.

15a. How do I check my voicemail?

Either phone yourself from your cell phone or turn off your cell phone and call yourself from a landline, then press # when you hear your message. If you are in Vancouver, you can also call 604-762-9993 from a landline or from Toronto, call 647-278-9956 from a landline.

To set up your voicemail greeting and other options for the first time, press and hold 1 or call your own number from your cell phone. This will cost you air time.

To set up your voicemail greeting and other options after the initial setup, turn off your phone and call your number from a landline. Press # at the voicemail prompt. From there, you will be able to set up the voicemail options such as recording your name and greeting, setting up your password, and so on.

Voicemail options include: toggling the option to say what time the voice mail was received and from what phone number; toggling the message prompt “At the tone please leave your message. When you are finished [...] press # for more options…”; and, toggling auto play to make all your message play one right after the other. See the forum post on voicemail options for more details.

To have voicemail disabled, call customer service. This will lengthen the number of rings, although it will not cause it to ring indefinitely.

Wireless number portability

16. Can I port a number in from another provider such as Bell or Rogers (or TELUS or any other Canadian carrier)?

Yes. Call customer service. See FAQ #2. According to howardforums.com, you need to have an existing 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless account. When you port your number in from another provider, that number will take over your current 7-Eleven number. You cannot port pager numbers over.

Porting a number to 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless should be free.

Your source account (at, say, Rogers) loses all remaining balance and is closed. Your source SIM also becomes useless. If you are on a contract with your source provider, you are still liable to pay any applicable cancellation fees. Your destination account (7-Eleven) keeps its existing balance.

17. Can I port a number out from 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless to another provider such as Bell or Rogers?

Yes. Call customer service. See FAQ #2.

General information / how to purchase

18. What network is 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless on?

It is on the full Rogers footprint. Previously it was on a limited Fido footprint. See the Rogers coverage area maps.

19. Can I buy just a SIM card?

You can buy one directly from most 7-Eleven stores. You can also buy one online as well, and they will ship it to you. In both cases it will cost $10 and does not come with any airtime.

You can also buy one from an existing 7-Eleven customer; try the phone exchange forum.

20. Where can I buy a phone compatible with 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless?

At most 7-Eleven stores in Canada, on the Speak Out website, or in the forums. You can also use an unlocked GSM phone (see FAQ #22).

21. How much does a phone cost?

The cheapest one is about $39 (Nokia 1616). Usually they have a few more expensive Nokias. Wait for a promotion and you can get the cheapest phone at a discount. The airtime needs to be activated within 365 days and lasts for 365 days after activation.

The phone comes with $5 of airtime included. This airtime lasts for 30 days but can be extended for 365 days once you add more airtime.

22. Can I use my existing unlocked phone?

Yes. Just buy a 7-Eleven SIM and put the SIM card into your existing phone. Note that you need to have a GSM phone (one that takes a SIM card). If your phone was locked to the Rogers Wireless Canada network, then you should be able to use a 7-Eleven SIM card without even unlocking the Rogers phone.

The best way to tell whether a phone is unlocked is simply to swap in a SIM card from a different network. You will get a warning and not be able to make calls with the foreign SIM if the phone is locked.

23. How do I activate my account after buying the phone?

7-Eleven does not collect any of your personal information and there is no activation fee. However, the SIM cards do not come with a pre-assigned phone number. Inside each box, there should be a card listing a toll-free number to call (from another phone while your Speak Out phone is still off), and an activation code and store number to supply to the automated activation service. The activation service will then inform you of the phone number assigned to your SIM card.

Tip: You can enter any store code when activating your phone, not just the one that is printed in the box. The store code will determine the assigned area code, therefore if you bought the phone in Calgary and wanted a Vancouver phone number instead, you could look up the store code for a Vancouver store and use that when activating — forum thread here. Note that you can choose the city but not the specific area code if that city has multiple area codes.

24. Are the phones that you get from 7-Eleven unlocked?

In the past almost all of the phones sold with the Speak Out Wireless service were unlocked. In mid-2009 we started to see that new phones were locked, such as the Nokia 5130 and the Nokia 1661. However, you can now e-mail customer service to ask for an unlock code for your phone. See this forum thread for more information.

See the SIM card guide for information about the what “unlocked” means.

25. I am moving within Canada. Do I have to buy another phone?

You can keep your existing phone and SIM card. If you call customer service (see FAQ #2), they should be able to assign you a new number for your new location. In fact, you can switch to some area codes (such as 902 in Halifax) where there aren’t 7-Eleven stores.

E-mail and web access

26. How much is web browsing and e-mail on a 7-Eleven account?

Speak Out has a data plan offering 100MB for $10, expiring after 30 days. You can also purchase data as an add-on to a monthly (30-day) plan. See this forum thread and others to read about other people’s experiences. And be sure to share your experiences as well.

If you have trouble configuring the data settings for your phone, try searching the forums. There are various threads such as these:

http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/phone-features/data-settings-not-working-for-android/
http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/phone-features/iphone-settings-for-the-new-data-service/

26a. How do I send a text message to an e-mail address from my Speak Out GSM phone?

Send the message to this number: 0000000000 (that is 10 0’s).

Write the text message in the following format:

address@domain.com Here is the message

(in other words, first the intended recipient’s e-mail address, and then a space, and then the message)

It should cost 10 cents per message. The e-mail subject will automatically say “Rogers Wireless Message / Message de Rogers Sans-fil” and the From address will be [your10digitnumber]@pcs.rogers.com. If the recipient replies back to that e-mail address, it will not go through. In other words, you can send to e-mail via your phone via SMS, but people cannot e-mail your phone. This is an unpublicized feature, so use it at your own risk. See the forum thread.

Miscellaneous

27. Who runs 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless?

Ztar Mobile, which also runs Petro Canada Mobility and good2GO. You’ll notice that the CSRs are the same for all 3 services.

Ztar Mobile rents bandwidth on the Rogers Wireless network.

28. I don’t have 7-Eleven in my city. Can I still purchase a phone?

Yes. You have two choices:

You can go to a city that has a 7-Eleven retail location and purchase a phone there. Then, call customer service (see FAQ #2) and get them to change the number on your phone. Phone number changes are free except when they are done within the same location due to a dislike for the number itself (then the cost is $10); if you are changing your number because you’ve moved or you are being harassed by audio or text, then it is free.

You can also check out the phone exchange forum to find phones with SIM cards, phones on their own, SIM cards on their own, and airtime for sale by other consumers.

29. Can I use the phones from 7-Eleven when I travel in Europe?

Currently, none of the phones that 7-Eleven sells for use with Speak Out Wireless have the bands needed to work outside of North America (regardless of what SIM(s) you put in them.) For example, the Nokia 1600 phone is a dual-band phone on the 850 and 1900 bands, which means that it does not work in Europe. However, other phones might work depending on their technical specifications.

To use a phone in most overseas countries, it has to be a GSM phone that is at least tri-band. Ideally it should run on the 900 and 1800 bands, making it a quad-band phone. For example, 900 / 1800 are the European bands, while 850 / 1900 are the North American bands. Fido has a handy page outlining which bands are needed and where.

Even if you have a tri- or quad-band phone, you’ll also need to get a SIM that works in the country or countries you’ll be visiting. You can get either country-specific SIMs or so-called “Global” SIMs like Mobal or UM+. Country-specific SIMs usually offer the cheapest airtime but they’re a hassle to use if you visit several countries because of roaming charges. Global SIMs are more convenient but usually charge more for airtime.

30. Where can I find a 7-Eleven location near me?

Use the 7-Eleven store locator.

31. I’ve forgotten the PIN on my SIM and my phone has locked me out for too many invalid unlock attempts. What do I do?

Call customer support, explain the problem, and give them your cell phone number and SIM card number. They will supply you with the PUK code to remove the lock on the SIM card. See this thread.

32. Does Speak Out Wireless provide a call forwarding service?

No, call forwarding is not available, not even as an add-on.

33. Does Speak Out have a referral program?

Not anymore. Previously, if an existing Speak Out customer referred a new customer to sign up, both the existing and new customer could have gotten a $10 airtime bonus. The discontinued program is detailed in this thread.

34. Can I block spam text messages?
Text messaging as a whole cannot be turned off. You also cannot block specific numbers from sending you text messages, unless they specifically support unsubscribe actions (such as sending a reply with “STOP”). You can, however, ask Speak Out to change your phone number.

35. Is there 411 support?
Directory assistance is available for $1.99 per call plus the local airtime rate ($0.25 per minute).

All comments can now be made in the forum.