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My Experience with SO
October 14, 2010
5:20 pm
Nightshift
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June 20, 2010
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Almost 8 months ago I bought a phone at 7-11 and started using the SO pay as you go top ups. I used it mainly for texting and as my only phone. I was paying $200 per month! I would contact customer service and they would always state that there was no problem with the billing and suggested that I was using my phone too much. One of the reps even stated that the SO phones are really only for occasional users and/or emergency use. I did a lot of texting (later I tried the $10 text plan but it didn't help) but not much talking and let most of my calls go to voice mail. As it turns out every time I checked my voice mail it was a long distance call. At that time I was being charged .25/ min talk time and .40/min for long distance. No wonder my min would disappear so fast. I have since moved to Koodo (Telus), was able to upgrade my phone to an LG with a full qwerty keyboard and internet and am paying an average of $60 per month. I am still texting the same amount but am talking more. The customer service is very good and they go out of their way to correct anything that they can. I purchased it at London Drugs and they were able to port my number over in about 20 mins...SO took 5 days. I understand the desire for SO to be in the cell market, but I think they have a LOOOONG way to go to even come close to providing the service required. Personally, I don't see them being around for too long, or they may just cater to a market that uses phones intermittently .

October 14, 2010
7:04 pm
RonM
Victoria BC
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Hi I guess that it is really a moot point since you have already left SO, but I'm curious about your being charged long distance for picking up Voice Mail (VM).

That is totally contrary to my experience. If you can shop at London Drugs you are in or west of Winnipeg as there is one store in Winnipeg and 3 in Saskatchewan, and the bulk of the stores are in Alberta or BC so your experience should be similar to mine.

If you are using a SO phone when you activate your voice mail, my experience is that the system recognizes the SO phone and sets it to the appropriate VM number when you press and hold the 1 key for the first time. If you were using a non-SO phone like a Rogers phone or an unlocked phone from Fido or some other carrier, there is no promise that phone will dial the number for VM as toll free unless you set it up. Pressing and holding the 1 key on a Rogers phone will dial the Rogers VM that was programmed into the phone. Same if the phone was a Fido phone. You may get your SO VM there as SO and Fido use the Rogers VM servers — but with distinctive call in numbers. If you used a non-SO phone to set up and/or access the VM system, you would have needed to do some configuration.

SO don't charge for calling within the same area code as the phone. You can get voice mail by dialing your own SO phone number from your SO phone (call yourself) and pressing the # key when the system answers the phone. It is impossible for that call to be long distance. It is from your Area Code XXX phone to the same phone. You can call any phone including your own in your home area code as a local call no matter where in Canada you actually are when you make the call. As I said, it is impossible to turn that call into a long distance call.

If you set up your VM using a SO phone and then switched the SIM to a non-SO phone, you would have to change the speed dial on the non-SO phone for the 1 key to the correct SO pickup number for your area code — It will not do this automatically. SO Customer Service likely won't be much help here — after all they can't support phones they have nothing to do with.

If you did transfer the SIM to another phone FAQ 15a on this site lists several numbers for SO Voice Mail retrieval. There are others for other areas of Canada in this thread.

I have direct personal experience using both Area Code 250 and Area Code 204 phones where the SO VM servers are in different area codes than the phone. I have set up non-SO phones to access VM in both those area codes and verified by checking balances before and after calls that my call was charged as local. I can sit in my home in Victoria BC and call the pickup number for my SO voice mail for a Manitoba number and it is charges as a local call. I am physically in an area served by area code 250, using a SO phone with a 204 area code, calling a 403 number, and it is charged as a local call. I've proven that more than once by checking my account balance before and after picking up voice mail.

As far as the market SO cater to, this forum and 7-11 Speakout's own page make no bones about the fact that SO is best for intermittent and/or light cell phone users. There is no other service that gives 365 day top ups for $25.00. That only gives you 44 minutes after the 911 fee is paid but it gives you a year to use that time. There is a breaking point at which you are better buying a plan from another carrier — just remember to either tie the payment to a credit card a regular bill, and/or be prepared to buy monthly top ups.

October 15, 2010
12:54 pm
walter_wpg
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>>> Almost 8 months ago I bought a phone at 7-11 and started using the SO pay as you go top ups. I used it mainly for texting and as my only phone. I was paying $200 per month! I would contact customer service and they would always state that there was no problem with the billing and suggested that I was using my phone too much. One of the reps even stated that the SO phones are really only for occasional users and/or emergency use. <<<<

Just out of curiosity, when you went out shopping for a cell phone, did you have a feel for how many texts, and how many minutes of airtime you might be using each month? If this was your first cell phone, it might have been hard to guess at your future usage, but if you thought you might be using the phone many times per day, you could have done a rough estimate of costs using the airtime and text rates they publish.

SpeakOut, as well as the pay-as-you-go services offered by the other carriers are definitely aimed at low-usage users, who don't require or want monthly contract rates of $20/month or higher. As a previous poster stated, a SpeakOut user can have a working cell phone for as little as $25 PER YEAR. (In fact, that's all that I pay.)

As for SpeakOut "not being around for too long", I hope you're wrong. There is definitely a market for low-usage users. A small market, perhaps, and maybe not as lucritive as the one that desires shiny new smart phones with hefty monthly contracts.

October 15, 2010
2:06 pm
iamdrumming
Niagara Falls
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October 14, 2008
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I disagree with the OP. SpeakOut was designed for light users, not heavy uses like yourself. You are the one depleting your account quickly, by not keeping track on how much you really talk/text.
Have fun with Telus, I came from there before joining SpeakOut. SpeakOut is light years ahead as far as coverage/customer service/calling area etc. I could go on and on.

If you really did pay $200/month as you claim, that would have sent anyone red flags on why you are always at the store buying top-up vouchers. Common sense would say that there is a reason why you are going through your account balance very quickly. Frankly, I don't buy your claim that you used up $200 each month, and didn't know where all your money was going, or common sense didn't kick in.

Anyways, the nice ad you provided for Telus was not necessary. Just as I would never go to a Telus forum and brag about SpeakOut.

Good luck with Telus

October 15, 2010
2:10 pm
iamdrumming
Niagara Falls
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On the same note, you brought this up in July in this post (in a very similar thread), as well as your advertising for Telus:

https://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/reviews/250-and-counting/

If you are dissatisfied, and mentioned back in July you are leaving for Telus, why are you still here???