Arrow

Best prepaid cell phone plan in Canada: 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless

First published on January 6, 2008

Note: this review will slowly become out of date. Information on 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless is now maintained at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca

Because 7-Eleven doesn’t run annoying mass media ads, you might not have heard of its cell phone service. When I first learned about it, I thought: “7-Eleven? They sell Slurpees. I used to buy sports cards from there. And they sell long distance phone cards and lately they sell Virgin Mobile phones. But their own service? Really?”

In December 2006, I wrote about why I switched from Rogers Wireless Pay As You Go to 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless. To sum that article up, I don’t use my cell phone much — perhaps 100 minutes or less per month. If you have similar cell phone usage, consider a prepaid / pay as you go plan, and more specifically, 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless.

It’s been just over a year and I absolutely love Speak Out Wireless. In fact, I even started a website for its users (and no, I don’t work for 7-Eleven!). Here’s an outline as to why I think Speak Out Wireless is so good.

The cell phone scene in Canada

As a reference, here’s a list to the product pages of Canadian pay as you go services and Wikipedia has a list of Canadian mobile phone companies.

Surprisingly, there are more carriers than you might think. But when you look closer, cell-phone-wise, Canada is the land of three-year contracts, prepaid plans that charge system access fees (Bell charges you $3.95 per month… making it hardly “pay as you go” if you ask me), and the absence of off-the-shelf SIM cards (which is common in the US and many parts of Europe). Expectations are already low for the consumer. Speak Out Wireless is what I consider a no-nonsense service that eschews most of the things that I dislike about Canadian cell phone services providers.

A note before I continue: Petro Canada has a similar cell phone service to 7-Eleven (both services are run by the same company), so if those gas stations are more common in your area, you might want to check that out.

7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless features

I encourage you to check the front page of speakoutwireless.ca, which is an FAQ about its prepaid account features.

Pros

Here are the main reasons why I like 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless:

  • 20 cents per minute in Canada, 5 cents for incoming and outgoing text messages in Canada: Cheap, uncomplicated rates. Everybody gets the same rate at all times of the day. [Update: In July 2008, they upped the calling rate to 25 cents per minute] [Update: In October 2009, they changed the outgoing text message cost to 10 cents per message and made incoming texts free]
  • Airtime vouchers or $25, $50, $75 and $100 all last 365 days: Some months I might use $5 of airtime. In other months I might use $20 of airtime. One thing I never have to worry about is when the airtime is going to expire. No wasted “hey, I need to use up my minutes” calls or “I’m topping up not because I need the airtime but so that I can carry over previous airtime” situations.
  • Call display, call waiting, and voice mail are included: No hidden rates here. There’s a monthly $0.99 911 fee, and when you check voice mail from your cell phone, you are charged regular airtime minutes. You aren’t charged when people leave voice mail messages or when you check your voice mail from a landline.
  • Instantly activated: You don’t have to give them any personal information. The second you walk out of the store, the phone has a phone number and works.
  • 7-Eleven stores are quite common: It’s easy to buy phones and airtime when the store is just around the corner. I’ve even done phone and airtime transactions with fellow neighbours on the unofficial consumer website. While there are no 7-Elevens in Quebec, you can try Petro Canada Mobility, which is very similar to this service.
  • Runs on the Rogers footprint: You might think it’s a small-time operation, but it has the same coverage area in Canada as Rogers and Fido.
  • Uses GSM phones and SIM cards: GSM and CDMA are the two types of phone networks in Canada. You can tell them apart because only GSM phones use SIM cards. 7-Eleven (as well as Rogers and Fido) uses GSM phones, as well as most of the rest of the world. CDMA phones from Bell, Telus, and others are completely locked to the service provider. Generally, many GSM phones are locked to the service provider, but when you unlock the phones (sometimes for free), they can take any SIM card. Also, you can take a 7-Eleven SIM card and put it in any unlocked North American GSM phone. GSM generally means more freedom!
  • Simple account management: It’s a free call from your cell phone to 1) Check your balance; 2) Add money to your account; and 3) Talk to customer service (and there’s no annoying voice recognition menus).
  • Good customer service over the phone: The customer service reps over the phone are quite nice. Moving? Call up customer service to switch the phone number assigned to your 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless SIM card. Porting an existing number? They do this quite painlessly too.

Another thing I like is the lack of a commercial nature. There aren’t any Speak Out Wireless cute animals that have nothing to do with the service, nobody tempts you to buy ringtones, and they can’t even mail or e-mail you because you didn’t have to give any personal information to activate the account in the first place.

And as a bonus to the green movement, vouchers are printed on recyclable paper; there are no plastic Speak Out Wireless airtime cards. (Sorry, I had to add that one in.)

Cons

I feel that Speak Out Wireless has all of the basics. I never think “if only I could do this with the phone” but then again I have pretty simple needs. I use it as a portable pay phone, for peace of mind if there’s ever an emergency, and to be reachable when I’m off to meet people.

Limitations include:

  • No international roaming. This might be a good thing as it’s often cheaper to buy a SIM card for your destination than to pay roaming fees.
  • No call forwarding.
  • The choice of phones from 7-Eleven is rather limited, although since it uses SIM cards, you can put the SIM card in a different unlocked phone and then sell the phone you bought from 7-Eleven.
  • There is limited online account management service. Update: As of the end of 2010, you can now check your balance and activate (but not purchase) vouchers online.
  • You are charged for text messages received. Some carriers and plans give you free incoming text messages, although their rate for outgoing messages is often more than 5 cents. [Update: In October 2009, they changed the outgoing text message cost to 10 cents per message and made incoming texts free]
  • You don’t get to pick what phone number you get. (It’s within your local area, though!)
  • You generally cannot walk into a 7-Eleven store to nitpick about the service. The customer service reps there often don’t know much about the company’s cell phone service. You can only return or exchange the phone.

Conclusion

For light cell phone users, I am convinced that 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless is currently the best overall pay as you go cell phone service around. Not everybody will agree with me, as some might think that some of the above-mentioned unavailable features are absolutely necessary. If you have any questions, I encourage you to check out speakoutwireless.ca, which is run independently of 7-Eleven.

Arrow

139 Responses to “Best prepaid cell phone plan in Canada: 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless”


  1. Elman says:

    very well said !
    gone are the days that I have to refill every 30 days just to keep my balance ! $0.20/min is also very good and the best of all no more of that annoying voice recognition thing.
    excellent article.


  2. tige says:

    Hi Peter,
    Great site!! Will the sim card from the Nokia 1112 or 2610 be compatible/work with/ fit my Motorolla V-500? How/where can I take (if needed) my phone to be unlocked from the existing “Orange Network”??

    Many Thanks,
    T


  3. Peter says:

    Hi tige, I suggest you ask your question on the forum at speakoutwireless.ca.

    In short, I think the Motorola V500 is a quad-band phone, so it should be fine. The people on the forum should be able to give you suggestions about how and where to unlock the phone, if needed.


  4. mentaer says:

    Hei Peter,

    thank you very much. I arrived like 4 weeks ago and it is time to get a mobile. I was today just on the way to buy a rogers or virgin pay as you go phone – but then I realized that the vouchers expires after 30 days (except the 100 dollar ones). So as you conlcude I did as well: at the and I pay as much as for a normal contract.
    After browsing I obtained that the idea for the phone companies has been to offer mobile phone services to people without a well credit history – so they did not intend to provide people which use mobile rarely but need it .

    However, I was surprised about the 30 days issue as I am used from Germany and Switzerland, that the topup-amount lasts at least on year. Interestingly the companies tried to introduce expiry days as well and it came to a lawsuit on court. They lost, and they are not allowed to simply catch the money if not used (sorry for my weak english). However, what they do now is to limit phone access until one buys a new voucher (not sure if that is legal). Btw. Airtime is word completly unknown in Germany. I guess when the companies tried to introduce mobile phones on the north-american market, they tried to learn from the failurs done in europe from a providers and not customers perspective ;)

    Finally it still seems like German and Swiss companies do not ripp-off their customers in terms of voucher expiry. And.. thank you for the post. I did already wonder that nobody ever creates a website with an overview.
    Btw. In Switzerland exists a webpage called comparis.ch – in de/en/fr/it – which compares several services you need, ie. phone companies and insurances and banking, and… for Switzerland.
    If you ever find time.. make your own business with such a page! ;o)

    stefan


  5. Mark says:

    Hi.
    Thx for the great info.

    I am in school and very poor right now lol.

    I live in Ottawa Canada,and just want a voice mail box to check my messages once in awhile.
    Can you suggest the cheapest way to go.

    Thx


  6. Peter says:

    Sounds like you could use a pager :P

    Speak Out Wireless is also a good solution for this because you are not charged for airtime when people leave messages and also if you check your messages from a land line.


  7. Chris says:

    Peter i'm quite convinced you've found the best cellular provider for "light" cell phone use. Suffice to say that a years experation date on an air-time card is a deal unmatched by any other provider. That being said, the pay-as-you go system is the most abused method of cell phone use in Canada. Its simple for a person to misuse there phone and begin to pay double the cost of a monthly contract. These types of cell phones are not meant for heavy use. I met an individual who had a pay-as-you go phone he used for business purposes, he spent nearly $900 a month in aircards. These phones are practical for the "light" user as you mentioned. I don't see how 7-11 could be making much business profit by giving there cards a 1-year expiry, however i'd say jump on it while you can. Theres no profit for a mobility dealer if a client is only going to spend $25 bucks a year, its not even worth the headache!!!


  8. Tania says:

    If I purchase a 7-11 phone/plan in Ontario and bring it back to use in Quebec (in my unlocked, GSM Nokia 7370), would it work? Or will I be charged long distance?


  9. Peter says:

    You can call customer service and get them to change the number assigned to the SIM card to have a Quebec area code :D


  10. Trish says:

    I’m moving to Canada soon and want to know if you think I can use the SIM card in my English phone (its quad band and unlocked).
    Thanks


  11. Peter says:

    Yes, you should be able to use a 7-Eleven SIM card with a quad-band, unlocked GSM phone.


  12. jack says:

    hi ! saw your summary, good info. do they sell SIM card alone, or do you have to buy their phone to get the card?

    tks


  13. Peter says:

    Hi jack, all cell phone providers in Canada force you to buy one of their phones in order to get the SIM card. You could try buying a SIM card from another consumer at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  14. carrie says:

    Hi, can I convert my Bell mobility samsung m600 phone? or should I just through it out. I like the phone a lot but I can’t stand Bell.

    And is coverage any good for Vancouver BC with 7-11?


  15. Peter says:

    Unfortunately, Bell is on the CDMA network and you cannot use a Bell phone with any service but Bell. Make sure you recycle that phone at London Drugs or somewhere similar!

    The 7-Eleven coverage is the same as the Rogers coverage.


  16. jack says:

    thanks a lot, didn’t expect someone to answer so quickly, and correctly. another question, if i were to use the prepaid service, what are the ways to top up? do i have to go to the store to buy the top up voucher or are there any other ways(internet, and etc..)? I have a LG chocolate triband(900, 1800,1900), would that work with speak out?

    thanks a lot


  17. jack says:

    just to add to the reply above, the phone is unlocked


  18. Peter says:

    jack — be sure to check http://www.speakoutwireless.ca because your questions are answered there (store only top-up although you could try to buy vouchers from other consumers; yes you can use your unlocked phone with a 7-Eleven SIM).


  19. Jim says:

    Great info. I’m coming to Belleville, Ontario in late June to late July 2008, bringing an unlocked GSM cell phone from Australia. What’s the best prepaid SIM card to call Australia and Asia from Canada?


  20. Peter says:

    Hi Jim,

    There is no best prepaid SIM for calling internationally from Canada. What you should do is buy a long distance phone card at a 7-Eleven when you get here. Then, you can call the access number from your cell phone and pay local airtime + per-minute rates on the phone card. This is the cheapest solution.


  21. Scott says:

    This is such a valuable public service you are providing. Get the word out. Canadians are being fleeced by Telcos, Banks, and Cable companies just because they are not conscious consumers.


  22. Mighty Mica says:

    Sweet Jesus. Blows my mind!
    Been looking for a service that make sense for a long time and it is right around the corner.
    Great article. I will try it today! (or tomorrow)


  23. Paul says:

    Wow. That’s a great find for pre-paid wireless in Canada. I currently have Fido here and *really* dislike their "award-winning" customer service. This sounds like a pre-paid service with much better options. Soon as I use up my Fido minutes I’m switching.

    Let me return the favour and and point out that if you’re in the USA and looking for a great vendor to check out airvoicewireless.com. I bought a SIM card on eBay for my unlocked phone and called their customer service to activate it. Refill card expiry varies as low as $10 card 90 days, but a $100 card lasts a year. The first minute of the day is 30 cents, but each minute after that can be as low as 8 cents. On days you make no calls there are no charges. Includes voice mail and call forwarding (which I do to my CDN phone when I’m not it the USA.) You can re-charge minutes online using PayPal (caveat: you can’t recharge on weekend only during weekdays when their customer service is open.) You can get a US area code from most regions in the USA and there are no additional charge for US domestic long distance. Int’l rates are posted on their web site and are reasonable. No roaming in Canada or overseas.


  24. Steve says:

    I’m using a tracfone in the US but it does not get service in Cananda and I would like a pay as you go phone while I’m there for a few days.

    Can anyone recommend my best option.

    Thanks


  25. Alex says:

    Are calls to and from other SO users free?


  26. Peter says:

    No, calls between SO users are not free.


  27. Donna says:

    You CAN buy just a SIM card without buying a phone at Pacific Mall in Markham Ontario. I know this because I bought a phone while in Japan and needed a SIM card so I could use it here. It cost me $70


  28. Roman says:

    Hi all!

    Just wanted to say big thanks to Peter, who started this thread and site, I have landed in Canada this week and information provided influenced a lot my decision to buy SO.

    I have my European quadband GSM smartphone (with predatory prices on roaming from Rogers in Canada) but anyway decided to buy the most advanced SO phone with intention to use it apart. So, today, I have bought 7-eleven SO Nokia 5200 phone. It is unlocked, SIM card works in my smart, voicemail works fine as well. But there is one BUT:

    I have to say that Nokia 5200 out of the box experience was not
    so good as expected. It is not the same phone on sale in EU (which is really good and made in Finland) this one is made in Mexico, plastic is quite cheap and rubber cables (USB and hands-free) and charger smell like a cheap chinese materials from dollar store. Not sure about others, but this smell makes me throwing up.

    So I decided to hide this in the garage and sell to someone who does not care about the smell by occasion here or in Europe:)

    For future readers I would suggest – if you have your own phone and do not want to use the SO one, just buy the cheapest one and take the SIM out.


  29. Kev Orng says:

    Thanks Peter, I was considering Virgin but now I’m going to wait for the August promotion and go with this instead.

    To Donna, above: You can buy a lot of dubious things at Pacific Mall in Markham. An artist I know casually once discovered his own artwork plaque-mounted and screen-printed onto collectors plates for sale in a booth in Pacific Mall.


  30. pj says:

    Hi Peter. I don’t suppose the "speak out" sim will work in a Mike phone. Will It?


  31. Peter says:

    Hi pj, according to this thread, Mike phones are unfortunately not compatible with GMS SIM cards.


  32. pj says:

    Thanks for the (unfortunate) verification on Mike phones. Great site for info


  33. Denis says:

    Are incoming calls free?

    Answer: No. Regular 25 cents per minute charge.


  34. Amy says:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the great information on the 7-11 Speakout phones! I was with Fido for the last 4 years and got a pretty sweet deal for $22/month total for 150 anytime minutes/voice mail/caller ID; however, I found that I’m a light user – on average just 20 minutes per month.

    Would you know if my Nokia 6020 handset would be compatible with the Speakout SIM card?

    Many thanks for your informative site :)


  35. Peter says:

    Hi Amy, it is probably not compatible because it is probably locked to Fido. However, you might be able to unlock it for free according to this thread.


  36. Abigail says:

    Hi Peter,
    Sorry to bother but I’ve read all the posts and can’t seem to find an answer to my question–I’m moving to Toronto from Australia in a week with an unlocked Nokia phone and a Virgin Australia SIM card. Will I be able to use my current handset and/or SIM card? I will probably be a heavy user for the first month I’m here and then a light user after that–should I get prepaid or a contract? And finally, you mentioned that 7-Eleven don’t offer global roaming–can you advise on a company that does offer this but who don’t have monthly expiry on airtime (if there is such a company)? If not, who would I be best to go with if I need roaming?

    Sorry for the complicated questions–wonderful site and really useful info–thanks so much!

    Cheers,
    Abigail


  37. Peter says:

    Hi Abigail,

    I do not have the answer to all of your questions (nor am I sure of the answers that I do know), so I suggest that you post them at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak

    Here are my uneducated thoughts:

    Current handset: must support the 850 / 1900 bands to work in North America.

    Current SIM card: probably not. Even if you can, the cost would be quite outrageous.

    Prepaid vs contract: it really depends on your specific usage. In most cases if you will be averaging less than 100 minutes a month and minimal text messaging, prepaid is best.

    Global roaming: I don’t know. Best to ask in the forum that I linked to above. Rogers might work, but for more than very occasional use, you’re often better off buying a SIM card for each international location you go to. The answer will also depend on your specific usage.


  38. chris says:

    hey peter,
    ive been checking out all the pay as you go companies and cant find the rite one im looking for, i was thinking to go with rogers or virgin mobile but after reading some of your posts my mind is still undecided, this will be my first cell phone and i dont kno if i am a heavy user or a light user and also does the 7-11 pay as you go have text?

    thanks!!


  39. Peter says:

    Hi chris, yes the 7-Eleven plan has text (see the first "Pros" bullet point in this article). Unfortunately I cannot make the decision as to which plan to go with as you have to compare the facts that are out there as well as some intangibles like customer service (if needed) and other people’s experiences. The good news is that if you turn out to be a heavy user, you can "get out" of a pay as you go plan pretty easily.


  40. chris says:

    how does the 7-11 pay as you go rate charge you for text, like does the text fee come out of when you buy like a 25$ refill card?

    Answer: When you put $25 on your account, $25 goes to the account. Then, if you make a call, $0.25 is deducted for each minute. If you send or receive a text message, $0.05 is deducted. Please ask further questions at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak where there are a lot more users available to answer you :D


  41. jp says:

    hi, how is the coverage of the speak out? is it as good as rogers or telus?

    Answer: Speak Out is on the full Rogers footprint, meaning that it should have the same coverage as Rogers.


  42. Junia says:

    I need more information on 7-11 I am a student and I need to make calls sometimes to the caribbean and the plan I have with rogers seems to be costing me more than an arm and a leg.
    I would appreciate any advice you would give.

    Thanks

    Answer: I would suggest 1) Looking into a third-party long distance provider such as justdial.ca and 2) Asking specific questions about the 7-Eleven service at speakoutwireless.ca.


  43. Donna Roy says:

    The wording on the speakout wireless site is confusing to me because it makes it sound that long distances are applied only if OUTSIDE your area code. However when we asked at the store before purchasing, they told us we would be charged long distance even within the same area code…. meaning any number you would normally be charged long distance from. eg, Welland to Niagara Falls is considered long distance, but is within the same 905 area code. Can you help clarify this descrepancy?


  44. Peter says:

    Hi Donna,

    Take a look at this thread. My understanding is that calls within the same area code are all local.


  45. Lisa says:

    As my cell phone usage declined, I decided to switch from a monthly plan with Fido to Speak Out’s pay-as-you-go service. I have had to call customer service 4 times in the last 8 days and am still waiting for them to port my old number over. I can’t close my Fido account until they do, so I’m paying for an account I no longer want. I asked Speak Out for compensation in the form of some free minutes, and their only response was "We’re sorry." As a new customer, I’m quite unimpressed!


  46. Peter says:

    Hi Lisa, sorry to hear about that. Try telling your story on this forum and maybe some other Speak Out users can offer some suggestions. I’ve read some good porting experiences and some bad ones.


  47. Ted Bland says:

    These phones sound very good. As we go to Texas for the winter could I buy a US sim card and put it in my canadian 7-eleven phone so I could use it in the States ?


  48. Peter says:

    Hi Ted, yes you should be able to use a 7-Eleven Canada phone with a US SIM card as long as the phone is unlocked. All current 7-Eleven phones should be unlocked, but you should double-check or search http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  49. Mike says:

    Hi Peter, great info. One question, how do I know which phones from 7-Eleven are unlocked? Is there a way to tell by looking at the phone, or do I have to trust the seller’s word?

    Thanks


  50. Peter says:

    Hi Mike, from what I know, every phone that Speak Out currently offers should be unlocked. The only sure way to know is to bring in a SIM card from a different carrier, such as Fido, and test it out in the store. Otherwise, figure out which phone you want and then ask the people at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak as there are many current Speak Out customers there, some of which undoubtedly use the phone you want.


  51. Joseph says:

    Hi Peter,
    I would like to know if there are other canadian’s providers such as 7-Eleven that but who provide call forwarding or free incomming text messages ?


  52. Peter says:

    Hi Joseph, I believe that Virgin Mobile offers call forwarding and free incoming texts on a prepaid plan. You should check all of the providers listed on this page.


  53. Carl Stix says:

    As a retired senior, I seldom use my cell phone. Presently, I use the Bell network, but must top up every 30 or 60 days or lose my remaining balance…what a rip off. What a great deal! Just wanted to sincerely thank those providing the above info…I would never have found it on my own…I’m sure many other seniors value this kind of site as I do…MANY THANKS.


  54. Sonia says:

    Hi Peter, I live in Toronto and bought a pay as you go Orange phone in London England (because I go there a lot and want to be available to be reached there at anytime). It’s a Samsung SGH-C300 and I got it unlocked right away. Do you know if I can use it here by changing the sim card? My Telus contract is finished and I don’t really want to renew it. I would love it if I could use my English phone here so that I don’t have to buy another one for Canada. Thanks so much.

    You can do so provided that you use Rogers, Fido, 7-Eleven, or some other provider that uses SIM cards AND provided that the phone is a tri-band or quad-band phone, meaning that it also runs on the North American bands (850 / 1900). I did a quick search and it looks like the Samsung SGH-C300 DOES NOT meet this requirement. You should double-check this.


  55. mike says:

    Thanks, Peter!

    btw, do you know if there is any way to change my CITY FIDO account to the different name who need it (I don’t anymore).
    You sound a very informed in cell phones and services, thank you very much!


  56. Peter says:

    Hi mike, I can’t really offer much advice on that other than "call Fido" :P If you’re stuck in a contract and need to find someone to take it over, you can check sites similar to cellclients.com.


  57. Emelia says:

    Hi mike,

    I very much want to take over your cityfido plan. Send me a email at emelia.gunnarsson[at]gmail.com . Transfering would only take a moment.

    Emelia


  58. Wayne says:

    Having had a BIG Telco phone im really happy now to have a 7-11 speakout phone ,I agree it is the best little phone for urban centres in canada the only short fall is when youre out in the bush hundreds of miles from a major city. The phone is good though from Vancouver to Miami to Toronto and beyond. In the four years ive had my phone i have paid out maybe 325.00 dollars total for minutes , its great and no monthly bill when i run out i just go and buy some minutes. . I doubt i will ever again just give away money to the big telcos for poor service and bad billing anymore . I think the bottom line will be cost and the old dinosaur telcos are just too expensive.If you want to throw your money away just keep trading up your phone and keep the CEO’s of the Big Telcos in cigars and cessna jets. While they laugh at you playing with their overpriced phones.


  59. Le Xu says:

    Hi Peter,
    I just got my Cell form 7-11. Bought a 100 prepaid card – got a free Nokia1028/and 30$ phone credit.
    Rate still 20 cents for 75/100$ prepaid. Set up quick and easy.
    The phone is a bit small.
    Thanks for the advice.

    (Checked with plans from other providers..7/11 is still the best. Simple/no attached/throw away phone..:)
    LX


  60. Faty says:

    Am a light cell phone user,all I need is a 911 feature and International text messaging, would this be the right choice for me?

    Reply from Peter: I can’t say unequivocally whether this is the right choice for anybody. Supposing the following: you make 30 minutes of local calls per month ($7.50) and you make and receive a total of 30 international text messages ($7.50) then you total cost per month would be about $16. That’s hard to beat, along with the 365 expiry on airtime so that even if your usage fluctuates a lot from month to month, you don’t lose any of that airtime you paid for.


  61. Faty says:

    Thanks for the reply. So if i buy, lets say $25 credit, can that be used for both talking and text messaging, or txt messaging is a different bundle? Please forgive my ignorance.

    Reply from Peter: Yes, the $25 credit is applied to anything you use on the service. There are no text-specific or talk-specific plans. You can check http://www.speakoutwireless.ca for the answers to many common questions.


  62. mwasi says:

    i text more than i talk is this a good plan for me

    Reply from Peter: It really depends on your usage. You should do the calculations at 5 cents for each incoming and outgoing message.


  63. Shari says:

    Hi, I’m a little confused on a couple of things after reading all of the above… you know, sometimes too much information can be a bad thing! What is the difference between a locked and unlocked phone and how do I know the difference for mine? And how will I know when it is time to top up if the only communication (from what I can see) regarding top up is me going to 7-11 to buy new top up card? Thankx, glad I found you!! :-)

    Reply from Peter: for the answers to those questions, please read this page (note FAQ #14) and this page


  64. Mike says:

    Hi there,

    My cell was damaged by my dog recently. I bought a Motorola Krzr w/o realizing that the sim card is different. I still have $85 on my sim and a phone that uses a different size sim. What are my options now? I like 7-11 service but also like my Moto

    -SOL

    Reply from Peter: I’m having trouble understanding your issue. SIM cards should all be the same size — they’re just tied to different carriers. Please ask your question at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  65. katiyani says:

    i have nokia n96 quad band phone.can i have the 7-11 sim card without needing to buy a phone from them?and will that phone work in USA?

    Reply from Peter: Please see this page and this page.


  66. Bill Ross says:

    I have a "Rogers" pay as you go phone and I am a very light user to the extent I have $163 in credit.
    Is it worth my while to get the 7/11 phone ???

    Reply from Peter: Considering that all airtime with 7-Eleven currently (as of March 2009) lasts 365 days, it could be worth it in the long run. However, I can’t make that decision for you as there are many factors that you should consider!


  67. Pearl says:

    Hi. My little Nokia 1208 S.O. phone was perfect for my needs but I lost it yesterday.

    Does anyone have a sim card for S.O.which I could put into my daughters unlocked travel phone so I can use up my money credit?

    Do you know when they will have the special again for $100. that gives you a new phone and a year to use up the minutes. I am very happy with their service..and the screen was big enough for me to read..even if it isn’t that loud. Thanks

    Reply from Peter: If you lost the phone and SIM, you might have a harder time recovering the minutes that were attached to the SIM. Check out http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak — someone might have experienced the same thing. As for the $100 promotion, no one really knows, although there’s typically something in the summer for back-to-school and something at the end of the year for Christmas.


  68. Pamela says:

    Hi Peter. I chose Speak Out and a Nokia 1208 based on your excellent advice and am very happy. However, I can’t find a more detailed user manual for the Nokia 1208. I thought I found one on your blog when I was doing my research but I can’t find it anymore. Any suggestions?

    Reply from Peter: Is this what you are looking for?


  69. Bob says:

    Can I buy an Iphone and use it on the SO network?

    Reply from Peter: Yes, although you won’t be able to use the 2g/3g features since Speak Out doesn’t have a data plan. There are several threads about this on speakoutwireless.ca, such as this one.


  70. flower says:

    I must say peter its a great work, i am so confused about the cell phone plans. I have fido 200 airtime minute with no incoming outgoing or text. and i am paying close to 35 $ a month currently in Ontario.
    Can u pls help me in finding the best option. I will be receiving at least 30-45 minutes of international calls daily, so any plan with free incoming on calls from Asia (international calls).
    Also if i can get a international text message option at the lowest rate.

    Reply from Peter: Try calling Fido and explaining your situation. You might be able to negotiate a plan that works well for you, like the stories on this post.


  71. Ben says:

    I’v just moved from england, phone plans seem ridiculously expensive over here. Do you have to pay for incoming calls on the pay as you go 7-11 thing? And where can i get one?i’m living in richmond/vancouver.

    Reply from Peter: Yes, you have to pay for incoming calls. This is currently the case for any prepaid phone in Canada. You can buy a 7-Eleven phone at 7-Eleven stores (which are quite common).


  72. Raj says:

    Hi Peter:

    I am from Ottawa. I have been subscribing Rogers wireless phone service for about 3 years and paying $32/month. But I rarely use over 30 minutes per month (the plan stipulated 150 minute day time and weekend/evening free). So I am looking for prepaid phone services. Which one should I go? I have a cell phone MOTOROLA V551 model, is it compatible to use in Pre-paid services? I am soon travelling in Quebec and US, Can I take same phone number (if I buy pre-paid service) or Have to but separate SIM card ? Thanks Raj

    Reply from Peter: I would strongly suggest asking your questions on http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak as there are probably people there who are in very similar situations. Your phone should work with Speak Out. One downside to Speak Out is that it does not offer roaming when you’re in the US. If that’s a big requirement for you, Rogers *might* be better. Then again, you could buy a cheap prepaid plan when you’re in the US.


  73. Perry says:

    I have some friends coming to Canada for a 3-4 week stay.
    I’m lending them my GSM Nokia and charger, for the trip.
    The SIM is long dead, as we were last there in 2005.

    Given your favourable comments on 7-eleven, would you suggest that buying a SIM from 7-eleven or Petro Canada
    for their visit, was the best option? SMS back to Australia
    is likely the larger use requirement. How much airtime is pre-
    loaded to their SIMs?

    Ooops – belay that. Just caught up with some other info
    indicating no SIM-only purchase option, except for the phone
    exchange forums. Maybe Rogers would be best, after all?
    BC and Toronto seems to be where they’ll be, most of the
    time.

    Also, in 2005, we had one helluva job finding out the correct
    syntax for international SMS. We were using Rogers and it
    turned out to be +11[country code][cellular network prefix][cell phone number] but the plus sign HAD to be keyed!

    What’s the keying prefix/syntax for international SMS for 7-11 or Petro? Anyone know? If you need a test number,
    try this: [64][21][1287798]. The square brackets relate to
    the example given in the last paragraph.

    Perry
    Long-gone boyhood Canuck

    Reply from Peter: Regarding international SMS, I’d ask at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak. Also, I wrote down almost all I know about SIM cards for travellers here: http://www.theblog.ca/canadian-sim-traveller


  74. Charlie says:

    Hi , do you know where can i can find a prepaid card or sim in US that has voice coverage in vancouver canada, i need to my son that will be 3 weeks there Im from mexico and Just find prepaid card and on the go phone with no coverage there, thanks
    Charlie

    Reply from Peter: I don’t know the US options that well, but you could ask in this forum. If his usage in Canada will be high enough, he could also get a Canadian SIM.


  75. Dave says:

    Hey Peter, thanks for the review! I never ever considered 7-11 phones, but am now thanks to your review.

    Have a great day!


  76. Peter Too says:

    does the 7-11 sim card come with a phone number? is anything else needed besides putting a sim card in a cell phone? we don’t know anything about them but were given a US AT&T phone, good one, down in the states by my mother in law – and would like to have it for use here at home in Canada.

    please help – we’re trying to get into this century!!!

    thanks so much, Peter Too

    Reply from Peter: I’d suggest reading the Unofficial Speak Out Wireless site, especially the SIM card guide and the forum.


  77. frank says:

    Hi,
    If I buy a speakout phone and take a picture or a video with the built in camera, how does one get that picture/video either on to a computer harddrive or, by sending the picture to a friend? I couldn’t find any mention of this on the web.
    Thanks,
    Frank

    Reply from Peter: I’d suggest asking the people on the Speak Out Wireless forum.


  78. kenny says:

    Hello,

    I was wondering about any change in rates. Are the sim cards compatible with Samsung models? It seems 25 cents per minute is a good deal!!

    Reply from Peter: I have not heard about any change in rates, but you can always check the unofficial and official sites. You can use a 7-Eleven SIM card in any unlocked GSM phone that runs on the North American bands. For some more reading, see the SIM card guide.


  79. lulz says:

    i went to fido’s useless little kiosk in pacific center to pay off my monthly bill (which was $90, they always tack on ridiculous charges for extra txt msgs/everything) and the clownshoes CSR told me I had to bring in my account# they couldn’t just type in your number and find out the account, even though they used to do this for years.

    yeah canceled that crap and went with 7/11 speakout fon. my phone bill is now $10/mth, and that includes sending a flood of email msgs to my server from the phone for remote maint (i have php script to process the email commands).

    win/win


  80. Paulette Tripp says:

    Hello Peter
    Thanks and praises for your research. I am wondering if there is a place on line I can see this deal or do I have to go to a store. I was going to go straight there and purchase online, but the links I looked at did not have the promotion maybe just not up todate.

    Reply from Peter: Unfortunately, your only retail option is to go to a 7-Eleven (or Petro Canada if you prefer their service). You can also try to buy airtime, SIM cards, and phones from other individuals at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/phone-exchange


  81. Leo says:

    Hi, Peter:

    I am going to buy a "7-11" cellphone with $75 airtimes, do I get this phone free? Beacause it is now the promotion time. Also, I would like to get a referral code for $10 credit, where can I get it from? Please give me a email. Thanks!

    Leo

    Reply from Peter: Please see this post about the details of the current promotion (you need to buy $100 of airtime). Also, see this forum for referral codes.


  82. Maurice says:

    Hi,

    We are Canadian retirees who travel in an RV in the US for half the year and Canada for half the year. We don’t stay in one state/province. In the USA we use TracFone, as we can roam anywhere without additional charge. We can also call international numbers in many countries for no extra charge, via TracFone’s 1800 long distance service. We can set up a Canadian number via another TracFone feature so that our Canadian friends do not have to call long distance to the USA to talk to us on TracFone. So far, we have not seen a down-side to TracFone, other than it does not work in Canada.

    Is the 7/11 phone service the best we can do in Canada to get similar features? In Canada we have our monthly-billed Rogers phone with Canada one rate for all of Canada. We don’t much care for Rogers and would drop them in a heartbeat if we could get a phone in Canada that works more or less like the TracPhone does in the USA. Help!

    In closing, thanks for the wonderful forum…just stumbled across it by accident when looking for a new Canadian cell phone service.

    Reply from Peter: Sadly, the options in Canada are limited. Roaming rates with the Speak Out service — 36 – 45 cents per minute — are good compared to other Canadian providers, but rather mediocre when compared to other countries. I’d recommend posting at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak, as there might be some unique solutions that others have come up with.


  83. Sam says:

    Hi,
    I want to call from Toronto to Sri lanka, is it the right phone ? thank you.

    Reply from Peter: Making long distance calls with cell phones is often best used in combination with phone cards or online phone cards such as http://www.justdial.ca. Even so, this is expensive and the cheapest solution is to use an online service (such as Skype) or a landline + phone card.


  84. John says:

    Hi … Fantastic web-site

    All of my cell calls would be from either Toronto or Ottawa to a land line in Newmarket … I assume long-distance and roaming fees would by required … Any idea about costs?? … Should by cell number be a Newmarket number?? … and would they then be local to my land line from wherever??

    Reply from Peter: I’d suggest posting at and searching http://www.speakoutwireless.ca and the forums therein. With Speak Out Wireless, calls are local or long distance depending on the area code. It sounds like if you get a Newmarket number, calls back to there would be local no matter where you are in Canada.


  85. Dave T says:

    Just picked up a free Nokia phone with $100 airtime as a Christmas gift for my sister. I don’t think she can be bothered with pre-paid plans that expire minutes after 30 days.

    I am currently with Rogers and I am a light user. This 711 has the same coverage, less money and the prepaid amounts don’t expire after 30 days. I am thinking I might just switch also. I always forget to charge-up my minutes before the 30 days. Thanks for the info.


  86. Lou VG says:

    We are traveling to LA, California this January and we would like to ask on what is the best option for calling from LA to Canada (using a cell phone). We don’t want to use our cell phone (Telus is our provider) as we don’t want to be charged the exorbitant fees (like roaming, long distance charges, etc.). Thank you for your help.

    I’m not that familiar with the US market but prepaid phones and/or SIM cards are a lot cheaper and easier to get there as compared to in Canada. I’d suggest asking at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak.


  87. johnny says:

    I just unlocked my Rogers Nokia N86 at www.VancityUnlocking.com

    bought a speakout sim card today and will be using speakout prepaid from now on, they really do have the best rates.


  88. Aman says:

    Hi,
    I know I can port my number to speakout but then later will it be a problem to port it out to a different cell phone provider as I am plannig to get windmobile service once launched in vancouver.
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply from Peter: You shouldn’t have a problem porting out.


  89. Nigel Parish says:

    I have a Rogers SIM card which I beleive will work on the speakout network as its Rogers anyway. The question is can I buy a Phone from 7-11 use my Rogers SIM card and keep it on their pay as you go plan?

    Reply from Peter: SIM cards are what connect your phone to a network. Therefore, no matter what phone you’re using, if you have a Rogers SIM card, you would be using the Rogers network. For more information, see this guide.


  90. Colin says:

    why us users pay 15C/min, while Canadian pay 25C/min?


  91. A. Pantos says:

    Ideal solution for me is an iphone 3GS with 7/11 SIM when in Canada. For most of the calls I use the iphone Skype out when WiFi is available. You can’t beat 2 cents per minute calling most of the countries and the sound is perfect. Also connection to any computer through Skype is free. Adding the Fring app allows to receive video as well, however the voice deteriorates a little. When in Europe I use a local SIM in the iphone which as the 7/11 last one year without adding funds.


  92. MSL25 says:

    For small talk and small budget….

    i just arrived here in canada 4 months ago. i didn’t needed a mobile phone then but now it is very needed as i need it for my job search. i use the landline number at my apartment as my contact number but i found it not very accessible during my job hunt. i got to have a mobile phone that’s why i did a little research about prepaids. i bought a mobile back in Taiwan, used it there for a while and when I went to Phils, i bought a Philippine SIM and the darn phone works without a glitch. I did insert a Fido SIM (borrowed from a relative) and it works. Now, I would assume this phone will work here in Canada as well without problem. I dont want to buy a new phone. My phone is as good as it can be. Why does all Canadian phone companies forces us to buy their crappy phones? And at such $$$ outrageous prices? This phone of mine is still the one i would want to use. To think that this was even a 2007 model it still beats a lot of crap of these phones canadian companies offer. It’s 2010 already and they [canadian telcos] still have the face to sell phones that have 1.3megapixel camera? I MEAN, what the heck? Hello? Canada??? Are you kidding me? 1.3megapixel!!! Wow!!!…Enggg…Fail.

    Am I in planet yesterday? That 70s show? hahaha.

    The irony is ALL canadian telephone companies sell phones. Freakin monopoly. My guess, all these companies are actually owned by just one person. Now, in my research, it is this 7-11 speakout seems the cheapest of them all, but still, WE have to buy their crappy phones. Nokia models? Hahaha. This is so 1999. Give me a break. Who uses Nokia phones nowadays. Titttt-titttitttt! I used to. But Nokia is already done. Bring on the Samsungs or the LGs please!!!!

    (I wont mention iphone as it is not covered on my i-budget)

    Hay sablay.

    Reply from Peter: Check the forum at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak and look for other people selling just the SIM


  93. Tariq says:

    I have a brand new SIM from Rogers. Can I Activate it for speakout?

    Reply from Peter: In short, no. The SIM card is tied to the provider. For more information, see this SIM card guide.


  94. Rob says:

    Hi folks…speakout sounds like the way to go for prepaid…I was convinced…and the 7-11 site showed a store in my city….except when I checked I found it’s not there any more. I called their help line and was told there are no 7-11s east of Toronto! So anyone else in the Maritimes is out of luck too, unless you happen to be going to TO soon. I’m in Fredericton. Next try was Petro-Can and their Fredericton outlets don’t stock any phones either. We are neglected here in the East. Nothing else seems as good as these two deals.
    Rob

    Reply from Peter: If you can get your hands on a SIM card (and phone, if needed) then you can still get a local number and use the service. Try looking in the phone exchange forum here: http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak.


  95. Darryl says:

    I agree that these are good phones for light use. If you get an insecure girlfriend or one who texts constantly, forget it. They will cost you 50 to 100 dollars a week.

    Just be careful who you give your number to.


  96. Sahar says:

    so what you’re saying is that if i do this…i buy a phone from 7-11 and then i can get another phone and still have this pay as you go plan? cause if i can get another phone with this PAYG i’m 100% sold.

    Reply from Peter: Yes. This SIM card guide might be useful.


  97. Jen says:

    Hi guys!

    Well, im considering buying a new cell phone without contract, it really gives a hard time…

    My question is, Can anyone from outside of north america(international countries) calls you to a 7 – 11 phone??????

    Thanks for your answer! I appreciate that!

    Reply from Peter: Yes, there’s no reason why international people couldn’t call your 7-Eleven number when you are in Canada. The limitation is if you’re travelling outside of Canada — then a 7-Eleven SIM card simply doesn’t work for either incoming or outgoing calls.


  98. DF says:

    Just switched to 711 Speakout from Roger pay-go. There was a trick where you could put $1 into the Rogers account from your bank and get 15 days, but they just blocked that.
    http://howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1616977&page=3&pp=15
    Roger pay-go is a rip-off if you don’t use the phone much.
    With Speakout, if you need to use more time, you just buy it.

    One trick, is you can copy your contacts onto your old Rogers SIM card, and then put it into the Speakout phone, and COPY them to the new phone! So transfering the contacts is easy.
    Then just put the Speakout SIM card back in.

    Hopefully Speakout will keep it the same, and not spoil the plan, like Bell did with Virgin.
    Rogers rates are evil for the $10 plan, over .40 a call.


  99. DF says:

    Also, you can donate your balance to Haiti from the cell phone, before you close it down. Better than giving it to Rogers.

    Speakout is the perfect cell plan, you pay for what you use! Duh.


  100. Peter K. says:

    Hello!

    Okay, so I need a new cell phone. It needs to be pay as you go/prepaid and it needs to be like a smartphone. (Bell has some right now, Samsung Impact, Lg Bliss Etc.) But no company besides them has any and from what I heard its not where I need to be. Does Rogers let you take any phone and make it pay as you go/prepaid? Does any company do that? and so i was thinking getting a cool phone and putting it on 7-11′s Network. What’s the best thing to do in my situation?

    Thanks So Much!
    Peter

    Reply from Peter: I’d suggest asking at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak — I don’t follow the phones themselves much, but the more passionate users on that forum are likely to give you their opinions. Some Rogers locations will sell you a SIM card on its own if you ask. You can also check eBay or that forum link to buy SIM cards from others.


  101. Helmut says:

    Hello Peter,
    Thanks for this amazing information you provide.
    I need to get an emergency mobile phone and the Speakout seems to fit my needs except for usage in a couple of areas in the US where we go on vacations.
    Do you have any suggestions how to get the Speakout units to work in the US?

    Thanks,

    H.

    Reply from Peter: I’d suggest asking at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca. You cannot roam outside of Canada with Speak Out SIM cards, but the phone itself should be compatible with most US SIM cards.


  102. Teresa says:

    Hi Peter. My husband and I don’t use cell phones regularly, but he’s going into the hospital for 2-3 weeks and we were thinking a pre-paid cell phone would be the ticket. He probably wouldn’t be using the texting feature (although might have incoming texts from one or two people), but would have heavy use for those two/three weeks. What do you think? Will this plan work for us in these circumstances — or should I keep looking?

    Reply from Peter: Seeing if the hospital has some sort of landline phone service would be my first recommendation. A prepaid plan would get really expensive (imagine, 400 minutes of talking costs $100), although the good news is that after it’s over you’re not stuck in a monthly contract. Maybe also ask the monthly providers whether there are any suitable plans that would commit you for only 1 month.


  103. Frank says:

    According to the website you can not buy a sim card separately. In order to get a sim card you need to purchase a phone. That is unfortunate.

    Reply from Peter: Another option is to buy a used SIM card from someone else, such as at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  104. David says:

    This is the best site I’ve seen for this basic info. Thanks Peter. I’m off to 7/11 to buy their phone and plan.
    One question, I am going to the States and want to buy an unlocked Apple iPhone. I assume I can put the 7/11 SIM card in that too.
    Can I buy unlocked iPhones online or are they hard to find in the U.S?

    Reply from Peter: I’m not an expert on that, but you can ask at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak; I know that some of the regular visitors to that site have iPhones.


  105. Piya says:

    Hi There,
    I didn’t read all comment, I try to but my English skills not so good. I have a question about 7-11 phone, I have Blackbery can I use Speak out wireless from 7-11 and register to use Blackbery massenger service? are they have internet service on paid phone? If they have will be great I will go and get it soon

    Thanks a lot
    Piya.

    Reply from Peter: If it’s unlocked and runs on the North American bands, the BlackBerry can use a 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless SIM card. However, according to this thread, BlackBerry Messenger would not work on Speak Out.


  106. frankie says:

    whats the best option for prepaid data? im traveling to canada and would like to use my nokia n86 to chat, check my email, etc

    Reply from Peter: I’m not sure about which is the best, but I think that most prepaid carriers have a data plan add-on for about $10 a month.


  107. greg says:

    Is your webpage down for good or just for now?
    The connection has timed out

    The server at www.speakoutwireless.ca is taking too long to respond.

    * The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few
    moments.

    * If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer’s network
    connection.

    * If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure
    that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

    Reply from Peter: The hosting company said that there was a hardware failure. They’re replacing some hard drives, and it should be back up soon (I hope)!


  108. Pat says:

    The speakout7eleven.ca says you can only use their phones – you cannot get just a SIM card for your phone. Making do with Wi-Fi until I find voice/data for an unlocked smart phone — no-contract, low-volume and cheap. (Ottawa)

    Reply from Peter: You cannot buy just a SIM card directly from them, but you can from other people at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  109. Scott says:

    Thanks for this summary! I wish I’d found you two years ago. When I lived in the US, I used prepaid with a company I loved, but when I moved to Canada, in a moment of weakness I signed into a contract, and have wasted hundreds of dollars over the last two years. Now I’m going back to prepaid, and 7-11 sounds ideal.


  110. Cathy says:

    Thanks so much Peter !

    To make a long story short, I was screwed by Telus Pay as you go so I was looking at the reviews about other company to see which one I will go with and I stumble into your site.

    I just bought it today at the 7 Eleven with $20 dollars promotion on the phone. And it’s working right now !!!

    $59 – $ 20(promotion) = $ 39 for the phone. Only the problem was that many 7 Eleven store didn’t have the $ 59 phone left( alll they had was $99 and $139 phone left) so I had to call several locations to find one.

    It is perfect for an emergency phone for my young daughter. I just didn’t want to pay monthly fee which she is not a teenager yet so she is not on the phone regularly or anything so it’s perrrrfect for emergency use. I don’t have to remember expiery date since this gives you one year. I will get one for my mom too. Thanks Peter !!


  111. DDD says:

    Canada is the worst place for quick and easy mobile connection options. Places like US, Europe, Middle east, Sout east asia and asia are so easy to get a pre-paid mobile connection anywhere without any problem…they also have very easy to understand plans….canadian service providers are very confusing and don’t provide customer friendly solutions…


  112. Jaymz says:

    Hi Peter
    Excellent info! I am living in Canada for 2 years now and have refused to buy into their prepaid phone options since, simply because I found their monthly plans a rip-off.
    After all the great info on your website I am two minutes away from getting a 7-11 phone, but am wondering if it allows me to send text messages abroad (that’s the main purpose I would need a mobile phone for, plus the occasional call once or twice a month). Sorry if the answer to my question is already on your website and I have overseen it. Thanks a lot for your advice!
    Jmz

    Reply from Peter: Yes. I think the outgoing international text message rate is 25 cents / message.


  113. michele says:

    Hello,
    Great info.. Thank you for providing this site.
    Question as I am not completely understanding all of this, but I am traveling from Cali to Canada ( BC) this weekend, but I need to be reachable by my mom who will be staying with my child. I just found out that my cell phone company charges outrageous amounts on usage. I have a 7-11 store around the corner from me here in Ca. Can I purchase what I need for Canada before going, or do I have to wait until I get there?
    Thanks again!

    Reply from Peter: Unfortunately, Speak Out in the US is different from Speak Out in Canada. Even though the rates are outrageous, depending on your usage it might still be cheaper to just use your existing carrier, because when you buy the SIM card in store, you have to get it with the phone. If you have more questions, I’d suggest posting at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak.


  114. Vic says:

    Can I use my U.S. Net 10 LG phone in Canada by having it reflashed or any other method?

    Reply from Peter: It appears to be a CDMA phone, and thus not compatible no matter what. But I could be wrong.


  115. paul says:

    Peter… VERY helpful info, thanks!! I just moved to Manitoba from the US and was looking at MTS or Virgin or Rogers or Telus for a plan that caters to our light cell phone use. All of these carriers have the 30 day expiry thing, which, as we all agree is a supreme ripoff. As a last resort I googled prepaid cell phones in Canada. Your website is informative and to the point, and you even promptly answer questions posted in your comments list. Might just have to donate to you for all the money you just saved me! I see your paypal donation link… subtle touch, didn’t go unnoticed.

    So, thanks to you, we were able to get a free nokia phone valued at $59 (we only needed the SIM card) with the purchase of $100 airtime. We transferred the SIM to our old, much better phone, only to find that it was locked and needed a "subsidy code"… back to Peter’s helpful forums! Lots of places offer to send you your code at home for a price, but I didn’t trust them. I’m sure some of them are legit but I had my doubts. I still had AT&T from the United States so I simply called them and asked if they could unlock the phone for the purposes of international travel. They did so happily for no charge… AWESOME. Local Virgin reps told me there was no way to keep using my US phone in Canada unless I went with rogers and paid their fees for SIM/phone plan. Maybe I should call those virgin reps using my old phone on the speakout/rogers network!

    After all that, I can now sell these cheap nokia phones and get some of my $100 back. Thanks speakout and thanks Peter for pointing the way.

    Losing minutes you pay for should be illegal… just like gift certificates that expire!

    Keep up the good work Peter. Check out ClarkHoward.com … great site. You remind me of him… he’s a consumer advocate that started out in Radio and is now on HLN (TV) and quite popular. He could probably teach you how to take your useful crap show to the next level.

    Paul


  116. Tim says:

    I will be visiting Ontario and Quebec for three weeks driving around etc. I have a couple of cells from Africa and wonder can I go to 7 buy a sim and then use?

    Reply from Peter: They’ll have to be unlocked GSM phones and run on the North American 850 / 1900 bands.


  117. John A says:

    I have a samsung black jack unlocked will the sim card work in this type of phone

    Reply from Peter: If it run on the North American bands and takes a SIM card, then likely yes.


  118. davy says:

    Pete, I was under the impression that the 7-11 rate was 15 cents per minute if you purchased the $50 or $100 card. Are you charged for air time by the second or the minute

    Reply from Peter: In Canada, it’s 25 cents per minute, charged by the minute. Perhaps you are thinking of rates for the US service?


  119. Sawaran Singh says:

    I am emigrating from England. Currentely I am on t mobile Nokia (unlocked) Will I be able to use this in Vancouver.

    I understand that in Vancouver you have to pay for both making and receiving calls on the cell phones, Is this true?

    I will be interested in non contract pay as you go service

    Reply from Peter: The phone also needs to support the North American bands (850 and 1900). Yes, you have to pay for incoming calls.


  120. Tubby says:

    I have a blackberry tour 9630 unlocked from telus will i be able to buy a phone(nokia 1661) and take the sim from and put it in the blackberry and will it work?

    Reply from Peter: If it is a GSM phone (i.e. it takes a SIM card), then yes.


  121. Linda Ferguson says:

    Peter – you’re amazing! Thanks for doing such a thorough job. There’s a SpeakOut promo until Dec 31st with a free Nokia 1661 when you buy $100 airtime. I was so happy with the information you provided, that I got one for my niece for Christmas. Love that there’s no contract and no system access fees!


  122. John A says:

    Hello again peter .
    i just got a phone from 7-11 and how does one set this thing up i have put the sim card in my black jack and then what ? do i activate the 7-11 phone first or do i activate the blackjack with the sim card in it ?

    Lets just say i am haveing a Bonde moment LMAO!

    Reply from Peter: It’s the SIM card that technically get activated. To be safe, after activating the SIM card, you can make one call with it in the default phone before putting the SIM card in your other phone.


  123. Chris says:

    Hello Peter,

    Thanks a lot for the great info. I thought we either have no cell phone or accept being rid of by those big Canadian wireless companies. Too bad, I missed the $100 air time free phone, but the $20 promotion is good enough. With the one year expired on $20 voucher, and $10 unlimited browsing, cell phone bill starts make sense. Let hope someone can beat those in the future.

    I notice when they said unlimited browse, they mean normal web sites. I cannot browse secure web site "https:", (I cannot find the ports). Their proxy server opens only port 80. So no web mail, no online banking, or any apps …Only browse normal web. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good start for $10/month, and much cheaper than others.

    Great site, keep up the good works.


  124. John7 says:

    Peter

    Great site and great research.

    I have an older Samsung (2004?) phone (with SIM card) from Rogers and I believe its dual band. Anyway my contract expires in April and I am really interested in switching to Speak Out with that phone AND number if possible.

    I read Rogers HAS TO unlock your phone when your contract is over if you ask them to. Presumably I do this just after the contract expires but does that make sense relative to switching Speak Out?

    What steps should I take and at what time relative to the contract expiry? (I don’t care about being without a cellphone for a day or three.)

    I’d like to continue to use that phone and if possible that number. Is that possible?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    John7

    Reply from Peter: I’d suggest asking at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak for more details, but here are my thoughts: You’ll have to port your number before your Rogers contract expires. Otherwise, you will likely lose your number. As for Rogers having to unlock your phone, I don’t know about the rules there. Perhaps do some more Googling on that — you might even be able to unlock your particular Samsung model for free somewhere online. But you don’t have to unlock your Rogers phone if you’re going to use Speak Out.


  125. John7 says:

    "Port number before Rogers contract expires" – that’s really good to know.

    Upon rethinking it all I will probably get a new phone at 7-11 anyway.

    Thanks again for your great site and advice.

    John7


  126. Gary says:

    Hi Peter

    Great info. Just wondering how often they have the $100 dollar deal or if you think the current $20 off on the phone for a $50 airtime purchase is a good enough deal

    Thanks Gary

    Reply from Peter: Over the past few years, they’ve had the $100 deal in the summer and at the end of the year. Of course, I have no way to know whether they’ll start a surprise deal at a different time of the year :(


  127. willy hansen says:

    We are in fl right now. Went to walmart got a phe for $30.00 got a 750 minute card for #25.00.us to us 5cents extra to call canada.Gave us a number in canada so family can call us,no extra for us.What is going on in canada ???? P.S. go to verizon.com they have good deals,us to ca us to us ca to ca ca to us.Willy.


  128. Monica says:

    Hi there, excellent post. I myself use SpeakOut, and I find it very efficient for people who do not use their phones very much.

    However, I was wondering, as a continuation of the above Blackberry question- If I put a simcard from my old Nokia 7-11 phone into, say, a Blackberry Curve 9000, would all the features unique to Blackberries (BBM, AppWorld, etc) still function? Thank you!

    Reply from Peter: I think that Blackberry features require specific support for them, which I’m pretty sure Speak Out does NOT offer. To be sure, I’d check with other users at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  129. I want SpeakOut says:

    Does anyone know when the next free phone with a $100 voucher purchase promotion is from Speakout? I really need to get a phone. That promotion seems like a good plan.


  130. hm says:

    Do Speakout phone devices come locked to their network? What other networks can they readily work with besides Rogers? Would they work with Fido? Wind Mobile, Public Mobile, Mobilicity by simply swapping the SIM card?

    Reply from Peter: Unfortunately, they now come locked and only work on Speak Out and Rogers (and maybe Petro Canada). They would work on Fido if unlocked but not on Wind, Public, or Mobilicity because they run on different frequencies.


  131. sally Brooks says:

    I am not much of a cell phone user and was having the same problem with getting a cheap plan. I found Petro-Can Mobility. I pay $28 and the air time is good for 120 days, which if you haven’t used all your time, will carry over as long as you purchase before the expiry date. You can purchase time online, and get petro points when you purchase it. I was able to put the sim card into any Rogers cell phone. It still isn’t good for use in the US though. Petro can also has plans to choose from, which are fairly reasonable. http://mobility.petro-canada.ca/en/features/396.aspx


  132. James Taylor says:

    Can I use my own UK purchased unlocked Samsung to purchase a sim card from either 7 eleven or Petro Canada because I don’t want to buy another one for the few months I will be in BC>
    When I phoned petro canada yesterday they told me I had to pay $25 at the store and then order the sim card over the phone which could take 2 to 3 weeks.
    When I went in a Mobile phone store today who represent Telus they told me that the only provider I could use in british columbia was Rogers and that I would have to pay for incoming calls as well and that if I phoned long distance with Rogers it would cost 65 cents per minute. Can’t understand these charges.
    In the UK I buy every month from supermarket Tesco a card for 10 GBP and get an additional 20 GBP free and the 5 numbers I use most frequent are free and I pay 5 pence per minute for other calls and Texts are free.
    Why is it so expensive in british Columbia or am i not being told the truth
    Thanks
    James T

    Reply from Peter: If your phone runs on the North American frequency bands (850 and 1900Mhz) then yes you should be able to use it on 7-Eleven or Petro Canada, as they both run on the Rogers network. You might be able to buy a SIM card from someone else cheaper on this forum: http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak. You can also ask further questions there as well. Cell phone services in Canada are known to be expensive (pay as you go providers all charge for incoming calls), but there are ways around some of the charges such as long distance, where you can use a phone card.


  133. Carol says:

    We are from MI and have a cabin in Hawk Junction, ON. We need a cell phone that we can prepay and have for calling home and if need be emergency. What would you suggest?? None of our U.S. phones work there. Simple, just simple, that’s what I need. Thanks!!

    Reply from Peter: That’s probably on the edge of some of the carriers’ coverage maps. I suggest asking the community at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak for recommendations.


  134. Paul says:

    Newbie alert! Can you define "roaming" vs "long distance" for me? IOW, if I activate a phone in my home area code and then travel to a different one and make a "local" call there what would the cost/minute be? Is that roaming or long distance and how do the rates for each compare? And did I read that if I were to use my Rogers phone card (land line LD costs are billed to my credit card), I would only pay the airtime ($0.25/minute) plus my usual LD rate as incurred on my land line? Thanks!

    Reply from Peter: See FAQ #4 at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca — that example would be long distance, and there is no separate “roaming rate”. The answer to the second questions is yes, if they provide a toll-free number.


  135. Paul says:

    Newbie is back (still unable to post on speakout forum despite registration).

    Bought a Nokia C3. It comes with a slot for a micro SD card. What does adding one of those give me that I don’t get with the basic phone? I can’t find any mention of what it offers; only how to insert one (duh).

    Thanks.

    Paul

    Reply from Peter: Mostly likely this means you can load custom ringtones, images, songs, etc. On the forum, did you try logging in and/or using the “forgot password” feature to reset your password? I see a user account with the username “paul”.


  136. verypoorman says:

    Hi, i need a way so my boss can call me(probably once or twice a month). i saw a prepaid plan on bell. And maybe hell not i can afford it. I read the expiry thing. SO screw it if it only cost me at least $0.20 a month if i dont make any outcoming calls at all(just incoming calls suffice). My questions is ( for BELL) will incomings calls count as minutes too? what is the minimum recharges amount per month, expiry date?

    Reply from Peter: From what I know, all prepaid plans in Canada charge for incoming calls. You should contact Bell directly regarding your other questions.


  137. John says:

    Hi Peter
    My question is. I am coming to Canada from Hungary, have an unlocked gsm world phone from Hungary, can I place this Canadian SIM card into that phone, and get mobile service with it?
    I heard a roomer that European SIM card phones have a 6 leg reader, the North American ones have 5 leg readers. This is how many legs are inside the phone to read and connect to the SIM card. I could not confirm it, but it might be important.
    Thank you
    John

    Reply from Peter: Sorry, I have actually never heard of “leg readers” so I cannot say for sure. Other than that, everything else you say would suggest that it would work.


  138. Markus says:

    Hello,

    I’ll be travelling from Sweden to Canada for a two week vacation soon. I’m thinking about getting a prepaid phone card instead of using my swedish.

    Would you recommend SpeakOut as a mobile phone provider in that scenario?

    Thanks,
    Markus

    Reply from Peter: Yes. Have a good trip!


  139. Boss says:

    Does anyone if $10 unlimited browsing is valid for smartphones also, or only for the phones provided by 7-Eleven (which I assume are not "smart")? I have unlocked Sony Xperia X10i, and I was using it with GSM provider in USA (T-Mobile) and it’s a quad-band, so it should work on most GSM networks for data ("i" in X10i stands for international

    Reply from Peter: It should work on smartphones. I’d suggest double-checking at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/

Speak your mind

January 23rd, 2012 update: Comments are now closed on this post. Please ask any further questions on the Speak Out Wireless user forum from now on. Thanks!