From Freedom to Public Mobile
I didn’t even last a year as a Freedom Mobile customer, but I have a feeling I’ll be back eventually. In June I put together a blog post on my experience on Freedom Mobile, and nothing I said there has changed. Freedom is still pretty good, just, slow. Today though, I made the switch and will now be using Public Mobile in Calgary for phone service.
Public Mobile came out with a smoking good deal, one that I could not let pass by. $40/mo for 4 gigs of LTE data, unlimited (provincial) talk, and unlimited global text. Here’s the info. This deal is only on until November 20th, so here’s an archive link if you’re reading this after that date (to see what you missed out on).
Sign up here: https://publicmobile.ca/en/ab/plans
To get the discount, you’ll need to select: 90-day, Province-wide talk, Global text, 12GB/90 days data.
In comparison, with Freedom Mobile I was paying $40/mo for 5 gigs of 3g data, unlimited (Canada-wide) talk, and unlimited global text. I realize I’m losing a gig of data in this switch, but checking my previous months of data, I barely even hit 3gb, nevermind 4.
Here’s my Freedom Mobile data usage:
Because I buy Internets from Shaw, I have access to Shaw Open wifi throughout the city, and that combined with my own wifi and the many forms of free wifi out there, I don’t REALLY need to use a lot of data. It was likely also in part because Freedom Mobile data is, well.. slow. It’s actually hard to use that much of it. Now on Public Mobile in Calgary with LTE… I’m sure it’ll be significantly easier to chew data up.
Pros and Cons of Wind and Public Mobile
Here are a few things that I like and dislike between the two companies and what they’re offering here.
Freedom Mobile Pros +
- Really decent customer service.
- Canada/USA talk.
- Cheap, compared to the ‘big 3’ providers.
- Pay upfront or choose to be billed afterwards.
- Can pay your bill with Interac online debit.
- 26 brick-and-mortar Wind stores in Calgary.
- Discounted phones with the Wind tab.
- Combine multiple lines on one account to save $ per month.
- First month of service is free.
Freedom Mobile Cons –
- Slow data, doesn’t work at all underground or inside large buildings.
- High latency (ping).
- You’re limited to “Wind Zones” for coverage, unless you’re paying for roaming.
- New offers/promos not available to existing customers.
- Only a $20 credit for referring someone. Max $120/year.
- SIM cards cost $25.
- A Shaw company.. if you hate Shaw, this is a big con.
Public Mobile Pros +
- Being a Telus company, they use the Telus network (it’s fast).
- New offers available to existing customers too.
- $5 SIM cards.
- Each referral credits you with $1/mo, with no limit you can bring your cost per month to $0.
- Every year you’re with them, you get more $ off per bill. See here.
- Add-ons roll over and do not expire.
- Save $2/mo by auto-paying with a credit card.
- Get up to $10/mo in credit by helping others in their Community forums.
- 10/30/90 day plans.
Public Mobile Cons –
- No Interac online debit or PayPal.
- No customer call center or social media customer service.
- They do not sell phones directly.
- Upfront payments required.
- No actual Public Mobile stores, just authorized retailers.
- A Telus company.. if you hate Telus, this is a big con.
- $30 per extra 1gb of data
Signing up with Public Mobile
Switching was pretty easy, I did it all online and didn’t have to talk to anybody!
I decided to sign up using Public Mobile credit vouchers, instead of a credit card. What are vouchers? You go to one of the retail locations and pay them, then use the pin codes for credit. I figured since I was going to make a blog post about Public Mobile in Calgary, I’d sign up using the more difficult of the two options, so others can see. You can find the list of retailers here that sell them.
The retailer I used was less than a block away from me (Daily King Convenience). There are 70+ of them in Calgary. Yes I counted.
I purchased these vouchers:
Total came to $136, after taxes. I should have only bought $120 worth of them as that would have covered the $120+tax for the 90 day plan (at $40/mo). Oh well, I have a $10 credit on there for next time.
My Public Mobile plan details
In addition, all of my APN/network settings switched over to Public Mobile as well. I didn’t have to mess with anything, just popped the SIM card in and everything was automatic. Sooooo much different than my experience switching to Mobilicity back in the day.. what a nightmare that was.
Public Mobile in Calgary: Thoughts So Far?
So far so good! Public Mobile in Calgary has been around for a while, and though I’ve considered switching before, their best offering was 2gb data for $40 per month. Kind of tempting but not enough to get me off the fence.
Here are some speed tests before/after. You can see where the switch happened..
The biggest difference I’ve noticed thus far is that I have service in our elevator!!! Holyshit! With Freedom Mobile service would essentially drop when getting into any elevators or stair wells or that kind of thing. I have not had a weak signal since jumping over to the Telus network. Living in a large apartment building, you spend a lot of time in the elevator. At least they have a landline in there if it ever gets stuck.
As I mentioned earlier, if Wind Mobile comes out with LTE next year, I’m betting they’ll come up with some pretty sweet deals, so perhaps one day I’ll switch back. Their customer service was great, though I only used twitter. Don’t think I even had to speak with them on the phone, other than when I had called to get some info before switching to them. Also, being a Shaw company, I know first hand the culture (used to work there, wish I still did) and how things work over there, so I fully trust them to do me right if any problems do come up.
I’ll update this post if any big problems or issues happen.
One last thing, referrals. You get $1 off your bill per month for anyone you refer to Public Mobile, as long as they have an active account. You need to give out your phone number to the person referring you.
I’d love to collect some referrals from anyone reading this – but, I’m not posting my phone number online. Madness. Hopefully they can someday do referrals by e-mail address.
TLDR; switched from Freedom Mobile to Public Mobile, it all went smoothly, Public Mobile is way faster, I’m paying the same amount, life is good so far.
- Update: September 2017. Still using Public Mobile, it’s still great. Have tried using Freedom Mobile again recently.. still slow.
- Update: November 2017. Freedom Mobile has introduced LTE in Calgary. See here for more information. I’m still happily using Public Mobile in Calgary, so I don’t have any first hand experience with this upgrade.