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Why I switched from Rogers Wireless Pay As You Go to 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless (Canada!)

First published on December 23, 2006

Last year was my first foray into the cell phone market… and my needs were very minor. I needed a phone for emergency situations and as a sort of “convenient pay phone” for times like when I need to meet up with people. I cancelled voicemail (and didn’t give out my number), as most service providers charge you when someone calls in and when you retrieve your messages.

Therefore, monthly plans were out of the question (no system access fee, thank you very much).

There was a Rogers Wireless Pay As You Go promotion last year where $100 landed me the equivalent in airtime, and a Motorola v186m (v186 MuchMusic edition) phone.

Picture of the Motorola v186m phone

The airtime lasted for 365 days, and the basic rates (the All Day plan) were as follows: 25 cents per minute for the first 5 minutes of a day, then 15 cents per minute thereafter. Outgoing text messages were 15 cents per message and incoming messages were free.

So, the rates at Rogers were decent, the phone was easy-to-use, and I could conveniently check my balance online.

Now that my balance has expired, my options at Rogers are a bit limited. $100 cards are hard to find, and not even mentioned on the website. However, they do last for 365 days and I’ve seen them on the Costco website. The problem is, the All Day plan isn’t valid for the $100 cards anymore, and thus the rate is a flat 33 cents per minute (text messaging is still 15 cents outgoing, free incoming). Plans with lower top-ups (like $10 or $20 at a time) expire after 30 days, so that’s a real turn-off. Not only that, but the Rogers website seems to be always down, and after 4 attempts at topping up an extra $10, I gave up.

So off I went looking for new plan. See my other post with links to Canadian prepaid / pay as you go cell phone service providers. Most other providers have the same problem in that their balance expires too fast. I considered Virgin Mobile, as $100 of airtime is valid for a year, with a rate of 25 cents per minute, free incoming text messages, and 15 cents outgoing text messages (5 cents between Virgin Mobile customers). But of course, Virgin Mobile plans only work with Virgin Mobile phones — not the most flexible option.

Then I discovered that 7-Eleven has a service called Speak Out Wireless. All top-up denominations ($25 through to $100) last for an entire year. Calling rates are 20 cents per minute (both outgoing and incoming), and both outgoing and incoming text messages are 5 cents per minute. [Update: In October 2009, they changed the outgoing text message cost to 10 cents per message and made incoming texts free. Also, calling rates are now 25 cents per minute] But of course I still had to procure a phone!

7-Eleven has a promotion running until the end of 2006 (January 6th, 2007 update: apparently in BC they’re extending this until the end of January 2007, so go check out your local 7-Eleven store!) where $100 landed me the equivalent in airtime, and a Nokia 1112 phone with $10 bonus airtime already included.

Picture of the Nokia 1112 phone

Thankfully, 7-Eleven piggybacks onto the Rogers network, so once I bought the phone, I managed to switch the SIM card into my GSM v186 phone (locked to Rogers). It also came pre-activated with a 604 number, so I was making my first call two minutes after stepping out of the 7-Eleven store. I also called customer service at 1-866-310-1023 (or 611 from my cell phone) to de-activate voicemail.

January 1st, 2007 update: Apparently, Speak Out no longer charges customers for callers leaving voice messages, or to check voicemail from a landline, so I’ve re-activated voicemail. There is still a charge to check voicemail from your phone, but this is nevertheless a great development!

I suppose 7-Eleven has the location advantage of its convenience stores and thus doesn’t have to waste its time with glitzy, cute promotions (ahem, Bell, Telus, Rogers).

The verdict? 7-Eleven is cheaper, more straightforward, and the airtime doesn’t expire so fast (all denominations expire after 365 days). I’ll miss the ability to check my airtime online, but heck, the Rogers site was always down, so I’ll learn to dial *777 to check airtime! If no one spams my cell phone number with text messages, the 5 cents per incoming or outgoing message will end up cheaper than the free incoming, 15 cents outgoing plan with Rogers. Having an existing Rogers phone was handy to switch SIM cards, but I wouldn’t have minded using the Nokia 1112 either. January 13th, 2007 update: I’ve noticed that 7-Eleven correctly charges a 59-second call as one minute, whereas Rogers used to charge such a call as two minutes.

Extra notes:
– If you’re not from Canada, note that no prepaid cell phone service (Speak Out Wireless included) has free incoming calls.
-Petro Canada runs a very similar service to 7-Eleven and if you have Petro points, you might even be able to score a free phone or free airtime.
-Rogers Wireless has an “inactive period” of 12 months, which means that you can have a balance of zero and still keep your number and account for a whole year. This is handy if you are like me and want the option to switch back if a better deal comes along!

April 5th, 2007 update: I’ve started an unofficial 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless FAQ at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca.

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91 Responses to “Why I switched from Rogers Wireless Pay As You Go to 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless (Canada!)”


  1. Jason says:

    Did the same out here in Ontario. Picked up a phone from the local 7-11 and found that it was ready to go with a Toronto number ( we are local to Toronto).

    In fact, it was neat to find that the phone number was even real easy to remember – The last four digits were 0111 !!

    Cheers,
    J.


  2. Marty says:

    I also have a Rogers phone (Motorola V220), but I am on a contact which expires shortly. I am looking at getting the 7-11 Speak Out phone, and was interested in your comment about being able to switch the SIM card from your 7-11 Nokia phone to your Motorola. I am not a techie, so would you mind explaining what that accomplished? Does that in effect allow you to use your Motorola phone instead of the Nokia phone provided by 7-11 because they both on the Rogers system? If so, I wonder if that would work with my Rogers issued Motorola? Also, I assume that you can receive calls from anyone on your 7-11 phone, not just from other specific pay-as-you-go phones?

    Thanks for your comments!
    Marty


  3. Dizzy says:

    Hey man. Came across this in a web search. Very useful to know that 7-11 is using the rogers GSM network. The free voicemail is going to prove handy for me too…much appreciated… Have A Happy Day! :)

    Dizzy

    doyouthinkiam@hotmail.com


  4. Java says:

    Very handy. Lovely to know that there’s other options out there.

    Quick question, though, as a half-hour’s worth of Googling has not helped me much – does the 7-11 Speakout service sell their SIM cards alone, or do you have to buy the phone along with the SIM card?


  5. Peter says:

    Currently, you have to buy a phone to get the SIM card.


  6. mike says:

    Hey Peter….good info about the 7-11 SIM card. But lets say I got a SIM in BC…but then was going to be in alberta for 3 months…could i change the SIM card number so when Im in alberta my friends don’t have to call me long distance? And would there be a fee?


  7. Pogie says:

    I’m surprised that you weren’t able to able to get the cheaper plan from Rogers when purchasing another $100 card. I’m not doubting you tried, but the website clearly says that the minimum topup amount for the cheaper plans is $20…$100 is certainly more than that. Also the website says “Minimum topup” and not “Minimum monthly topup”.
    Another way around that problem would have been to purchase a $20 voucher, sign up for the cheaper plan, and then purchase a $100 voucher on the 30th day….in effect you would get 13 months of the cheaper plan for $120.


  8. Amy says:

    Hey Peter, Thanks so much for poasting all this great info! I live in the states but will be visiting vancouver for 5 weeks in May/June 07. Does any company there currently have a pay-as-you-go promotion that includes a free phone? I don’t really want to buy a whole new phone for just 5 weeks…


  9. geoff says:

    Does anyone know if 7-eleven has us Roaming like Rogers?

    Also how much is a USA to Canada call?

    And a USA to USA call?

    Thanks


  10. Michael Lowe says:

    This is a great information site regarding Speakout Wireless


  11. Helena says:

    Help!!!

    I got a virgin mobility to use as a pager and was told I could and even states that on page 24 of their book in with the phone.

    I got this service from the end of Jan 07 until about 4 days ago and now they’re saying they never did it ……..even though I got it!!!
    I’m now stuck with two phones and each has a 100 card with it!!!
    (For my daughter and I to connect.)

    Any suggestions appreciated!!!
    4 days of fighting with virgin and I’m ready to hit up Olsen on your side!!!

    thanks,
    Helena


  12. Peter says:

    Hi Helena,

    You should try posting in the forums here:

    http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/?page_id=10

    Other people might have similar experiences :D


  13. News About Rogers Cell Phones: Rogers Wireless.. Confessions of a cable.. » Mobile Phone Info . net says:

    [...] Peter’s Useful Crap " Why I switched from Rogers Wireless Pay As You Go to 7-Eleven Speak… " Why I switched from Rogers Wireless Pay As You Go to 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless (Canada!) [...]


  14. Steppy says:

    Great stuff Peter — If not already, let people know about Long Distance cards, too.

    – per minute rate for calls to Canada and US: 4-5.5 cents
    – cards I’ve checked out: Bell and PCPhones
    (many out there)
    – disadvantage: Two ten-digit steps
    – dialing an 800 number (use speed dial)
    – entering a pin number
    – initial phone call to activate card, get pin number
    – expiry after period of time, usually 6 months,
    with a rollover option if you buy another card

    – without getting commercial, there must be some way, including forums like yours, for people to pass along cards and phones if there’s money left and they won’t use it. Or trade phones and get the how-to’s to change sim cards

    – price guarantees are almost non-existent. Has 7-eleven given any? If the major providers bump their rates up, will everyone follow?

    Thanks again.
    st


  15. Don Joe says:

    Rogers blows chunks. I now have 2 7-11 cells and can’t get enough of this deal. I can’t say it enough, rogers blows shit. 7-11 rules


  16. Ki says:

    If anyone needs airtime for 7-11 speakout wireless email me at kimdo@email.com. $25.00 airtime for $23.00


  17. Glo says:

    Hey there, I have been reading everything you have been putting in here. Thank you, for taking the time to do this site. It is needed. In here some where, saved 2 of your sites to my fav it said the 7 Eleven phone cards are good for all year. Here In Regina, Sask. they are not. The only card that is, is the 100.00 card. all others expire in 6 weeks. To purchase the phone with the 100 phone card, was usless for me.. the phone is only good in Regina. How dumb is that. NO long distance, My Daughter is buying me the phone for Xmas. November had much better prom’s then Dec.


  18. Peter says:

    Hi, are you referring to vouchers on the 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless plan? I cannot speak for any long distance cards sold there, but everybody on www.speakoutwireless.ca has experienced that ALL 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless vouchers must be activated (added to your account) within 90 days and expire after 365 days. If that has changed, there will certainly be a big uproar…


  19. Karin says:

    Feb.15-2008 Hello Peter.
    Thanks for the info on the 7-11 phone/cards. I got a Samsung phone from a friend, bought a sim card at Rogers, and the $10 monthly. At $.40 per call, outgoing/incoming is a total ripoff. An 18 second call is charged as 1 min.
    I have friends in Denmark, where most people use a Mobile phone, that is cheap as dirt to use. This is my first time using cell phone and will only use it for emergency. But come on CANADA about time we get much cheaper rates. Any good deals for the future is welcome, as I am sure there are better deals, somewhere?
    Greetings Karin


  20. kinni says:

    @ KArin , Yes just as you say in Denmark, I went to India and cell phone service is dirt cheap in there too. I don't know what is Fkng wrong with canada. Total ripoffs……….Same is the case with the television cable service.


  21. tuff myers says:

    Thanks! What a terrific consumer service you are doing! Have a good one!


  22. LLOYD says:

    Hi,

    I will be visiting Vancouver for a couple of weeks in may 2008. What’s the best choice for a pay as you go sim card. My phone is quad band and unblocked. Can I get a sim card at the airport when I arrive and what’s it likey to cost.


  23. Peter says:

    Travellers to Canada get a pretty crappy deal, because you cannot buy a SIM card on its own from any retail shops. Therefore your options are to look around on eBay or speakoutwireless.ca/forum to see if any consumers are selling their SIM card, or pay at least $75 for a phone + extra for airtime in a retail store. In the latter case, the cheapest plan is 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless. The one benefit is that after you are done with the SIM card, you could sell that online for about $35 and the phone for about $30 :D

    The international arrival hall in the Vancouver airport is rather devoid of any retail shops, save for a small gift shop. I know there’s a 7-Eleven in the domestic arrival hall, so you could ask around for directions when you arrive.


  24. James says:

    I talked to both Rogers and Fido in Ontario. Currently you can purchase pay as you go sim cards from both companies if you have an unlocked phone to put them in for around $40. That would give you access to one of their systems, and then you could add money to the pay-as-you-go account for service.


  25. Rick says:

    Rogers is flying high these days on the backs of their customers. Just call customer support on a phone problem and they will tell you without hesitation.

    I needed a new SIM card for my son and was told by them Tough you need to pay us $45. I walked down the mall and got a free Rogers SIM card from a competitor! Being a customer with them since 91 with 4 phones doesn’t count apparently. Alternative, I could have picked up a Rogers SIM from eBay for $5.00.

    How about when your phone dies and it takes 4 weeks for a repair. Don’t stop your payments for Rogers needs the money to fund their arena, sports team and other new endeavors. When I asked customer support if they are milking their customers the person unhesitant said YES! If I had a problem I could call Ted Rogers myself! But she wouldn’t give me his number. Hey Ted, check out your phones on eBay! Customers are jumping ship.

    Ted Rogers and his Management team have a new philosophy of promoting arrogance straight down to their employees.

    I will be looking into Primus who have GSM services.


  26. Dana says:

    So, I need to get this straight…

    Is there absolutely ZERO per month charges? No up front frees? Just the cost of the phone and the pay as you go card??


  27. Peter says:

    Almost correct. There is a 99 cent monthly 911 fee. Other than that, no "setup fee" or "system access fee".


  28. Gee says:

    Hi
    I am using 7 11 speak out with a cheap nokia phone. Can I get a phone that has GPS on it and still use 7 11 speak out wireless plan?

    Thanks!


  29. Peter says:

    Yes, you can use any unlocked GSM phone that runs on the North American bands.


  30. Janine says:

    Hello Peter, does 7-11’s speak out wireless allow the customer to change the cellphone number?

    I have switched to Rogers PAYG back in February as I don’t use my phone often enough to pay for a monthly plan. Now that my minutes have been almost used up (and angry at the fact that Rogers charged me a $30 fee to downgrade from a montly plan to PAYG) 7-11’s speak out is a tempting alternative. However I like my phone number and I would not like to have to change it.


  31. Peter says:

    Yes, you can port your number to Speak Out Wireless. Please check out http://www.speakoutwireless.ca for answers to all your questions. There is a detailed FAQ and a frequently-visited user forum.


  32. emma says:

    well, i have one and i dont really like it because . its hard to change stuff with it . but its good for younger kids because then they cant go in debt ! !


  33. Sebastian says:

    Can anyone tell me which mall in Vancouver would have wireless providers provider free SIM cards? Many thanks


  34. Beth says:

    Thanks for this great info…I live in Nova Scotia and travel to Alberta a couple of times a year. I don’t have/use a cell phone here, but when I’m in AB I would like to have one. This is the perfect solution. We had a Virgin mobile phone, but the time expires too quickly. The 7-11 phones cost a few bucks more, but I think I’ll save in the long run with cheaper rates and longer expiry times. And there are 7-11s everywhere!

    Really helpful – thanks. I checked out all the FAQs on the speakout website, and they answer all of my questions.


  35. cc says:

    I have a new york phone- can I buy a sim card at 711 and pop it in?


  36. Peter says:

    Please see this answer.


  37. salman says:

    hey, the plan you previoulsy has 20 cents first 5 minutes 15 cents thereafter per day is actually still valid. You can still have that on the rogers payasyougo $100 card. You can grab the card at rogers video stores.

    Its actually a nice deal. The thing is that if you ever want to top up the top up has to be more than 20 bucks, but so what? the expiry will still stay at the 365 day expiry of the initial charge. And if it is nearing, then get another $100 card.


  38. Rob says:

    Hey Peter, thanks for the geat info on 7/11. I had forgotten all about them, I had looked at them a while ago but ended up going with Telus. What would be your 2nd choice provider? I do alot of texting, so a text plan would be ideal. I was with Virgin, but swithced to Telus (Virgin didn’t have a high volume text plan at the time). I am looking to switch agian because I am fed up with Telus. I think they have some serious technical issues when it comes to text messaging. It will work, lull you into a false sence of security then the fun begins. Lost texts, huge delays in receiving and even going to the wrong destination. Not to mention the issues I had with what I was being charged. I was being charged data usage that I couldnt possibly of used. Ofcourse they didn’t beleive me (the customer is not correct in the eyes of Telus) Eventually I got some money back. Thats one of the reasons I like being able to check my balace and usage on line. Couldn’t do that with Virgin (I seemed to use up my balance with them too quickly but couldn’t get any detail). What are your thoughts about Presidents Choice? I sat on hold trying to talk to someone for what felt like an hour & gave up. So not a good start. I don’t know if they offer any way to check my usage or balance on line. What do you suggest? Thanks Rob


  39. Peter says:

    Hi Rob, for lower priced plans with good texting plans, unfortunately I only know of President’s Choice and Koodo (which is a Telus brand). There is nothing inherently wrong with these providers — it’s just that occasional users often don’t get much out of a monthly plan and both of those options have CDMA phones, meaning that if you ever switch providers, the phones become useless.


  40. Gert says:

    Hi, Peter,
    Love your site!! I have an unlocked Roger’s phone given to me. I will be travelling thru the States and Mexico off & on for the next 6 months. Any ideas where to get a sim card (prepaid? or whatever) and decent rates? I feel totally lost trying to find the info. I feel overwhelmed.
    I just want to have my family in Canada be able to contact me if they need to.
    Thanks.


  41. Peter says:

    Hi Gert, unfortunately I am not very familiar with prepaid SIMs in the US. All I know is that compared to Canada, it’s easier to obtain a SIM from retail stores. I suggest that you ask your question at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak as there are a few people there who travel to the US a bit.


  42. LANA says:

    Hi Peter, you are providing a great info site and I so appreciate you!!!
    I am old so please bear with me…I have a razor phone and I want to do the sim card thing…is it possible with this phone? Do I put the 7-11 sim in my phone or the other way around…Thank you Peter…


  43. Peter says:

    Hi LANA, you would put the 7-Eleven SIM in your phone. Whether your RAZR will work depends on what carrier it was previously on. Was it Rogers? If so, it will work without any trouble. Otherwise, you must make sure that it is a GSM phone (i.e. it takes SIM cards) and that it is unlocked (you might have to take it to a store to check that out and to get it unlocked).


  44. Andra says:

    Hi all ^_^

    Grreat and helpful website!

    My 1st ever cell phone was from 7 eleven- it was the best descision to get it from there! The OnLy thing i didnt like about the Speak Out plan is that i had to pay for incomming calls even if my phone was turned off…

    Anywho.. My question is this:

    Can i use the SIM card from my Nokia cell from 7 eleven to put it into a Virgin Mobile cell that i just got after i unlock it?

    Thanks bunches for responces!


  45. Peter says:

    Hi Andra,

    I don’t know why you would be charged for incoming calls when your phone is turned off because it should go straight to voicemail (and voicemail is free). At any rate, you cannot use Virgin Mobile cell phone because it is a CDMA phone, not a GSM phone. For a bit more information on that, see FAQ #22 in the Speak Out FAQ.


  46. Jeannine says:

    If you leave your phone on all the time is that considered roaming. Are you charged for that. Thanks. I was told that the 7-11 in Chatham Ontario was not carrying the phones anymore. Do you know of any reason why. Is there a problem with the phones. My husband goes north hunting so I want to make sure he would be able to use it by NOrth Bay.

    Edit by admin: I do not have the answers to all of your questions. Please ask them here. I know that simply having your phone on does not incur fees.


  47. Iain F says:

    Hi Peter,

    Found your site thanks to Google and thanks fro providing such an excellent service!

    I live in Scotland and I am heading back to Montreal in about 2 weeks.
    I was in Quebec City just a couple of months ago for a long time and I have a Rogers Pay-as-you-go Motorola W370 and I have a 418 number but all my airtime has expired, but I am going to be spending a lot of time in Montreal and it makes sense to get a 514 number so I am not paying crazy money to recieve calls.
    With your wisdom can you advise the best thing to do and how much I might have calculate to set aside to get set up. I would not like to have to go with Rogers again and I told them I thought their practices of charging 25c to recieve calls were generally criminal.

    I am a bit lost with what to do as I don’t know the market, but I can’t comprehend how complicated it is to get and use a mobile in Canada – in the UK Sims are generally free, there is no activation costs, calls cost about 20c a minute flat, incoming calls and texts cost nothing to receive. airtime does not expire adn the phones work nationally without penalty of moving from your locality (OK uk is tiny in comparison, but all mobiles start with the same dialling code.)

    We generally are usually way behind Canada in general living standards, but on this we seem to be light years ahead. I know I will be campaigning for a fairer system when I come over to work for 2009.

    Your help very much appreciated.

    Cheers
    Iain


  48. Lisa says:

    I recently switched to Speak Out and am so far very unimpressed. It took them 8 days to port my old Fido number over. When I asked for some free airtime for compensation, I was told only "We don’t do that. Sorry." Today I tried to retrieve voice mail messages for the first time and their voice mail system is down. Customer service tells me that "this is a known issue," that it’s been down "for about 2 weeks" and that there is no estimate of when the issue will be resolved. I asked what the company is considering as compensation for its customers and was told only "I haven’t heard of anything." Really, really disappointed with this service so far.


  49. Peter says:

    @Iain: Unfortunately, if you’re going to go with a pay as you go plan, 20 – 25 cents per minute outgoing and incoming is a good price in Canada. You can walk into a random Rogers store and ask to buy a SIM card (it will probably be about $25) or you can get a 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless or Petro Canada SIM card. With 7-Eleven or Petro Canada, if you want to buy the card from a retail store, you must buy a phone with the SIM card. However, you can always sell the phone. Be sure to check out the forums at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak. Although there are no 7-Elevens in Quebec (from what I know), it’s still an option if you buy a SIM card and airtime from other people. Be sure to also sift through some of my other posts about cell phones as they are a bit more detailed than the random facts I am giving you.

    @Lisa: Sorry to hear. Have you shared your story at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak? It’s not an official site, but there is a large user base that might be able to offer you advice.


  50. Todd says:

    Hi Peter,

    I read most of your posting and finally got a 7 Eleven phone for my son. We have three kids and my yougest child is in 6th grade and he walk to and from school every day. Normally I would not have bought him a phone until he reached high school but felt the need to get him one if he was going to be alone more often. We have three lines with Rogers already and each one cost me about $50 a month. If I was to add another line to my package and then change my plan Rogers would have reset the contract for another 3 years on all 3 lines. 7 Eleven had a deal on where you buy $100 worth of minutes and you get the phone for free. That was Sept 16 and my son still hase about $80 left on the phone. Had I gone with Rogers I would have paid $150 by now. Basicly this $100 phone is going to last him the school year before I have to re-load minutes.
    I am planning on moving my wifes line over to 7 Eleven soon. I just need to figure out how to move the number and wait for the next sale on phones to get the deal.

    Thanks for your help, you provide a great service.


  51. Peter says:

    Hi Todd. I’m glad to hear that things are going well. To port a number over, you just need to call Speak Out while you still have both an active Speak Out account and an active Rogers account (and hopefully near the end of your Rogers contract so you don’t incur any cancellation fees). See www.speakoutwireless.ca for details.


  52. Kt says:

    Hey Peter
    I really appreciate your site. I am planning on switching to 7-11 from Rogers. I recently read about a 7-11 plan that is offered in the US. The Card is $40 and it includes 200 min for the month with free evenings starting at 7pm and free weekends. I was wondering if you know if this plan will be offered in Canada?

    thanks
    kt


  53. Peter says:

    Hi Kt, unfortunately I don’t know anything about the US plans, nor do I have the inside scoop on 7-Eleven in general. That being said, I cannot see such a plan being offered in Canada anytime soon, as Canadian providers almost never sell SIM cards on their own, and 7-Eleven has not hinted at any kind of monthly plan in Canada. Be sure to check www.speakoutwireless.ca for any future developments.


  54. Eryk Polonski says:

    Retired Senior very light user. My nine year old Motorola packed it in. Live in Quebec, can you please suggest an alternative to Speakout.

    Reply from Peter: I’d suggest using Petro Canada Mobility. It is an almost identical service to Speak Out.


  55. Eryk Polonski says:

    Peter,Many thanks for your quick reply and helpful site.
    Cheers and All the Best!
    Eryk


  56. Deb says:

    Hey Peter….
    Meant to write a long time ago…..
    Anyways, we switched to Speakout instead of a plan. Saves us about $50 a month, maybe more! We did this about 6 months ago or so, and never looked back.
    I am glad I happened across this. Hubby and I are quite grateful to have found your advice.
    P.S LOVE the title of your blog. Cracks us both up :)

    -Deb and Don


  57. Daniel says:

    k so ive never had a cell and ive wanted 1 for awhile..im in high school and i dont know too much about plans etc. I need help! from anyone that can help me! please

    So what i need is to find a cell company where i can get a descent prepaid cell for $0 or cheap and get a great plan that isnt costly etc. I would definitely use texting alot as well as calling and such.
    please if anyone can help let me know here


  58. James says:

    "The problem is, the All Day plan isn’t valid for the $100 cards anymore, and thus the rate is a flat 33 cents per minute (text messaging is still 15 cents outgoing, free incoming)."

    Why is this plan not valid for $100 cards? and who did you get this news from? Is it because of the minimum $20 top up per month? I thought with a $100 voucher you don’t need to top up monthly provided you still have a balance of $20 or more in your account per month.

    I actually want to switch to Rogers Prepaid because of the slightly better phones. Ones on Petro and 711 are either too basic, have bad reviews or are too expensive for what you get.


  59. Brian says:

    Hi Peter,

    I appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions.
    You may have covered these concerns in pieces, but I really want to get this straight.

    Just to start off, this is concerning Canada.
    I have a Sony Ericsson phone LOCKED to a cancelled Rogers plan. If I bought the cheapest 7-Eleven Speak-out phone, only to obtain the SIM card, will it work in my locked rogers sony ericsson cell phone? A representative at the speak-out service said no, but I’ve seen mixed opinions here.

    Also, if you add credit to a speak-out phone, does the total time remaining extend another 360 days from the top-up?

    Reply from Peter: Everything I’ve seen and read on speakoutwireless.ca says that a phone that is locked to Rogers should work with a 7-Eleven SIM card. Also, yes, the total time extends by a year whenever you top up. If you have further questions, you should check out the Speak Out Wireless forum


  60. NoContracts says:

    Great service Peter. Some more Rogers pay-as-you-go stuff…

    You can opt for 39c/daytime 1c/evenings and weekends – if those times work for you.

    Also there are plans from $3/month for 30 sms, etc.

    Internet access is 5c/page but Rogers WAP doesn’t always respond immediately – may take a few tries to get connected.

    Cheers!


  61. SusieQ says:

    Thank you for your site and info. I resisted having a cell phone 3 yrs. Bought a Fido phone (no contract except monthly plan) that was being discontinued (didn’t know I could have gotten a deal on it), was given a number that hadn’t passed its 6mths time before new customer like me got it, and was continually being charged for things I did not use from the 1st day I bought it. 4 mths later I discontinued Fido as a carrier and haven’t used a cell since.

    Unlocked cell phone since and looking for pay as you go for work purposes. Should I opt to buy a 7-11 phone or is there some pay as you that works with Fido Motorola v235 phones?

    Thank you!

    Reply from Peter: You can use Rogers, Fido, 7-Eleven, or Petro Canada SIM cards (among others) in an unlocked phone. You cannot buy a SIM card separate at a 7-Eleven store, although you could buy the phone + SIM package and then swap out the SIM card. You could also look around to buy a SIM card separate from an individual. Be sure to check out http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  62. Lesley says:

    Hi Peter,

    I am sorry if this question was answered earlier but I did try to find an answer and could not.

    I will be buying my daughter a 711 phone (basically because of all your great info on this site…) but my main problem is where we live. I will be buying the phone in Hamilton, Ont but using it in Hagersville, Ont. (there is no 711 out here…)
    I was wondering if I will be getting a bad reception out here since it is in the country essentially? I asked the girl in 711 but she did not seem to know the answer.

    Thanks for any help here!
    Lesley

    Reply from Peter: I can’t give you a definitive answer, but check FAQ #18 at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca. 7-Eleven uses the same network as Rogers, so you should check the coverage maps for Rogers (mentioned in that FAQ).


  63. salim says:

    Hi Peter,

    You are doing a great service. I like the 7-11 phones but do they come with weekends and evenings free after 6.00 or 7.00. Thanks. Have a wonderful day.

    Reply from Peter: No, it’s a flat rate all day. For more information, see http://www.speakoutwireless.ca


  64. Patrick says:

    Hi Peter, I live in Montreal. I have trouble finding a pay as you go cell with a decent rate…

    Mainly for text messages, but also used for some calls like emergencys and parents wanting to chat a bit. I tried stores but the staff are mainly students who are just there for the paychecks.

    Got an idea?! thanks.

    Reply from Peter: Have you checked on Petro Canada Mobility? Also, try posting on http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak — despite the fact that it focuses around one service, the people there are highly knowledgeable about other available services.


  65. chryl says:

    One disadvantage to the 7-11 phone, which I have unfortunately discovered the hard way: They recycle the phone numbers OFTEN and RIGHT AWAY. Kimberly someone had the number I acqured and I am getting tons of calls for her. Thank Heavens I do not use the voice mail or the messages would fill my mailbox. She apparently owes a lot of people money and some of the calls I am getting are very threatening. 7-11 ha offered to change my number, but I am wondering if that would just activate someone else’s old number. Anyone else with this problem?

    Reply from Peter: Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve read a few similar stories on speakoutwireless.ca. Sounds like you got one of the worst cases though, so chances are if you changed the number you won’t have such a bad problem.


  66. MikeCaldwell says:

    Hi Peter. This is a great site. My question was I have an unlocked Nokia phone from the UK. Can I use that phone and buy a Sim Card in Canada and have a working phone in Canada? What plan would you suggest for someone who just needs the phone for emergencies and doesn’t want the credit to run out after a month. Thanks for the help, much appreciated!

    Reply from Peter: If it is a tri- or quad-band phone, it should work. My suggestion for your situation is almost always Speak Out Wireless. Check out the forums and post your questions here. I would also suggest reading this SIM card guide.


  67. Bob says:

    Hi Peter,
    I have a Peto-Canada cell phone for more that a year. It came with a SIM card. The air time was lasting a year for $50 and $100 when I bought it. Now $15 will expire after 30 days, $25 will expire after 120 days, $50 airtime will expire after 180 days and $100 airtime will expire after 365 days. As you can see a lot of greed is there.
    Now looking for a 2nd cell phone I found your site which is a good consumer voice towards the phone companies (to realize people travel to other countries and make comparations).
    Anyway, the problem with 7/11 cell phone that I find is there are no 7/11 stores where to buy in smaller cities.
    All the best!

    Reply from Peter: As long as you are within the Rogers / 7-Eleven / Petro Canada network coverage area, phone usage would be fine. Actually getting a phone / SIM and airtime is the bigger issue — you could make the odd trip out to the nearest big city or try buying those things from someone at http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  68. daren says:

    Hi, Peter.
    I never had a cell before and do not know much. I have an unlock GSM cell phone, a new Rogers SIM card from ebay. The 7/11 store is close. I’d like to get their service. I want to get the 25.00 $ air timebut I do not know how to get a phone nr. and with who to activate the SIM card: Rogers or 7/11? Please. help. Thanks.

    Reply from Peter: If you have a Rogers SIM card, I believe you just call a Rogers number to activate it and you will also get a phone number directly from Rogers.


  69. Sara says:

    Oy!.. now I am confused…and not many 7-11 in my area… two I think…not close either.

    My Petro does not do phones…grrrrrrrr.

    I am planning on getting my teen a phone…and I am totally lost now…. I am in the greater Vancouver area.

    so…each call you get dinged a service fee on a pay as you go plan?

    I am on Rogers…. should I try to get her a piggyback on my monthly plan instead of pay as you go?


  70. Der says:

    Hello,

    Anyone know if there will be another 7-11 Speakout Promotion this year? I am tempted to buy the phone + SIM pack now, but if there is like a promotion like last year or 2 years ago, that would be gold.

    thanks

    Reply from Peter: There is a rumour that the “buy $100 credit, get a free phone” promotion is returning on November 16 (see this thread).


  71. Monique says:

    Hi,

    I saw your link a year ago and went out and got a pay-as-you-go Petro-Canada cell phone for my son. (7-Eleven is way on the other side of town). 6 months ago, I went out and got another Petro-Canada cell phone for myself! I love it!

    For Christmas, I’m thinking of getting one for my aging mother so that she can keep it in her purse for emergencies. We had bought her a phone before (from Rogers) but she never understood the concept on topping off her minutes every 30 days. She bought $25 every month but never realized she had to put the pin # in her phone to get the credit… her phone had deactivated & she was still purchasing cards… (to my horror, I never checked).

    Unless someone out there can tell me that they have phone with big buttons and cheap "for seniors" I’ll be getting another Petro-Can phone and I’ll be making sure to put a $100 card on it. No more of this 30 days or you loose crap.. That way, as long as she keeps her phone charded in her purse, we can both rest easy.

    Thank you for your research & thank you Petro-Canada!

    PS – Petro Can has great customer service…


  72. Angie says:

    Thanks. Because of your article that my fiance found and my disappointment with Roger’s I will go to 7-11 and get a phone there. I have been with Rogers for years but when my battery died and I needed a new one they told me I needed to get a new phone. I was upset but they said it was free to change over so I said okay. They did not bother to tell me that I would be under a new 3 years contract (I was out of my old contract 2 years earlier which was 3 years as well and was only paying $10/mth and hardly used it at all and only had it because I was on a transplant list waiting for "the call") and that new contract would cost me $30 for the exact same service. Then I found out if I cancelled that I would have to pay $400 max if I cancelled early so I had to wait until Jan 15th when the contract was done. It was done last Jan but then with car trouble I decided to hold onto it.

    But I am so fed up with their service and lately calls are not ringing through and a job coach who keeps calling me doesn’t believe me so I think it is time for a new cell phone with a new company.

    Thank you for posting this blog!


  73. Angie says:

    Hey Peter, I also wanted to ask , I live in a Canadian city where they just added a new area code which I don’t want. Does 7-11 phones support porting over my old number from my Rogers Motorola V551? It already has a SIM card. Would I have to download all the numbers onto my computer to put them onto the new SIM card on the 7-11 phone?

    Reply from Peter: Yes, you should be able to port an existing phone number to the Speak Out service. I’d suggest checking out http://www.speakoutwireless.ca for more information. As for transferring contacts, most phones have the option to save each contact to either the SIM or the phone.


  74. jayesh says:

    i am relocating to edmonton area from india.which company provides the lowest international call rates to india?
    which company offers the best service?

    Reply from Peter: The best rates will come from a calling card or a calling card service such as http://www.justdial.ca. Calling India directly from a cell phone will cost a LOT more.


  75. Someone says:

    Suggestion: make it really clear in big red text that you get charged for incoming calls!

    I looked and looked all over this site, and the official and unofficial site to look for a mention of incoming call costs, and somehow never noticed it. Yea it’s my fault for failing to READ and somehow missing it, but it’s not like it stands out in a way that makes sure you see it.

    I’m new to Canada on a working holiday visa, so money is real tight until I find a job. I did my homework on phones here, and 711 seemed like a fair deal when Fido wanted near $65 in total to get going just with a SIM card! Yes I have an unlocked Nokia that roams here fine so it works, but my charger is for 240V…

    …So made sense to spend $118 (including $50 airtime and 20% discount (no one had the cheapest model in stock in down town Vancouver)) to get a whole working phone, charger, and $50 credit on it, only to find people ringing me with their cheap rates is draining my credit away.

    You guys want to check out 2degreesmobile in New Zealand, what they offer for a prepaid service is what I call fair and decent, and it works really well.

    I’m honestly amazed at how a simple cellphone service can be so costly in North America, not to mention very confusing with all the different rates and plans etc, it’s just crazy! :)

    I guess I’ll have to accept this is probably as cheap as it gets for someone that might send up-to 5 or 10 texts max some days, and make a few quick calls here and there.. and accept when people call me its going to cost me :(

    Back to Skype for those longer calls..

    </rant>

    Reply from Peter: Thanks, I will make that point a bit more clear. In Canada, incoming has unfortunately never prepaid. That might change one day!


  76. Duncan Hill says:

    To "Someone" above, you chose to go to Canada, there are advantages and disadvantages compared to your native country. Pay-as-you-go mobile service is one of those expensive things in Canada; ALL incoming calls are charged on ALL networks. However it works to the advantage of the caller, as they ring you on a normal geographic number, and not a special mobile code (at higher cost).

    If you don’t want to get charged for incoming calls, then get a landline instead. It’s $25 a month but hey, you’ll get free outgoing local calls. If you don’t want a landline, then try receiving long calls at a payphone instead, if it accepts incoming calls. Awkward, but it’s free.


  77. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t see the official website posted here, but I think this is it:
    http://speakout7eleven.ca/


  78. Doug says:

    One thing I’m not CLEAR on is the 7-11 local calling area. Their web site claims the local calling area is the area defined by your area code (mine is 519 – London) that that mean Kitchener and Windsor count as local calls or if I am in those cities I receive calls from Lonfon at local rate of 25cents no long distance charge? Someone indicated on the forum that because 7-11 use Rogers towers Rogers local calling areas apply. Which is true? Thanks so much for all the great info DB

    Reply from Peter: You get the Rogers coverage area, but Speak Out local calling rules (i.e. within your area code). All incoming calls are billed at the local rate. I’m not a Speak Out representative, though, so you can always check by calling their customer service line.


  79. Jeff says:

    I was just wondering I was looking at the 7-11 cell phones and people were saying that it goes where rodgers do. So does that mean that the sim card would work in a EX Rodgers phone.

    Reply from Peter: Yes.


  80. C Weatherbee says:

    Firstly.Thank you!
    I have learned so much, you are an excellent instructor!
    Just thought you might be interested to know that no one has , as yet, added the 7-11 Speak Out to the Wikipedia article ,The List of Canadian Mobile Phone Companies.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_mobile_phone_companies


  81. Reed says:

    Hi, I have a nice new Rogers phone that has never been used nor does it have a sim card. do I need to buy a Rogers sim card or can I just get a 7-11 sim card?

    If I get the Rogers sim card – am I stuck with Rogers plans?

    Thanks for your help

    Reed

    Reply from Peter: You can use a 7-Eleven SIM card in a Rogers phone because 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless uses the Rogers network. A Rogers SIM must be tied to a Rogers plan. As for buying a SIM separate from a phone, check http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/phone-exchange


  82. weirddude22 says:

    Hi i dont currently own a cellphone and newbie to them

    is this 7-eleven speak out plan the best for emergency use phone?

    Reply from Peter: I would say yes.


  83. weriddude22 says:

    thanks

    I called local 7-eleven and they said the phone was $59 and only had like 5 minutes

    i’m not sure how to find the $25 with free phone or is that even possible, There was $100 deal and that came with the phone and 100 minutes

    Reply from Peter: The $100 deal comes and goes. For the latest news on the service, check http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  84. weirddude22 says:

    Thanks again for help i got a phone and it was easy to setup

    last question, if i take out battery from phone and someone calls does that count as minus 25 cent reduction?

    i’ve heard of some telemarketers calling people and eating up minutes :( and i’d like to avoid that

    i basically want the phone only for emergency use on my part so I’ll just put in battery when i need to use it?

    Reply from Peter: No, that will not cost you. However, if they leave a message and you check your voicemail from your cell phone itself (instead of from a landline or another cell phone that is not pay as you go) that will incur regular airtime charges.


  85. dc says:

    I bought a cheap PetroCan Nokia 2760 phone on one of their promotions, swapped out the card into a smart phone (Rogers) I picked up at FS for 1/2 price, bought unlock code for under $9.00.
    I use my PetroCan Mastercard for all purchases I can, including gas, utilities, insurances, satellite etc. I than use the ‘points’ for my cell time. I buy the $100.00 card, expires in one year.
    I have never had to pay for cell time, mind you I don’t use a cell phone like my kids.


  86. Elwin says:

    Peter, I have a motorola phone from Fido 4 years ago and would like to know if a SIM card from 7/11 will work. The phone was unlocked and has not been used since. It’s just for emergencies. 7/11 said their 365 day cards are still good
    I was in Massacheusetts for two weeks and got a Tracfone for $8.00 and 60 mins., doubled to 120, plus 10 mins. on the phone for $28.00 total and worked well until Niagara Falls NY. The phone worked real well, with great service, but no Canada service.

    Reply from Peter: If it’s an unlocked Fido phone, then it almost certainly will work with a 7-Eleven SIM card (which are now available in store).


  87. Elwin says:

    Perter: you were right on about the sim card working in my Motorola phone. When I called to activate the simcard and the voucher for the time, the agent said the sim card would not work because «i could not provide a IMTL? number, (iguess the older phones do not have the number) so I called back 1/2 an hour later and talked to a supervisor, who activated everything and I’m good to go.
    Again, thanks for your info.


  88. Ed says:

    Nice to know about 7/11.

    Got Rogers pay as you go. Tried to top up online hoping to extend airtime by another 365 days but got only 16 days because I topped up before the due date. Does 7/11 add time to the balance?

    Can I just switch carrier using my old Rogers SIM card or do I need a new card? I have an unlocked phone so don’t need a new one?

    Ed

    Reply from Peter: Yes, 7-Eleven should extend the airtime by another 365 days upon each top-up. I’m surprised that not everyone would do that. As for the SIM card — you’ll need a new one since SIM cards are tied to the carrier. However, you should be able to re-use your phone. If you have more questions, check out http://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak


  89. Rebecca says:

    Hello–my husband is Canadian and we live in the US. We visit Canada (Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal), about 5 times a year for about 4 days each time. Sometimes he goes alone to visit family. (We have in the past brought our US T-Mobile phones only for emergencies.) Last month, he went to Hamilton for 3 days and was charged $90 by Rogers for roaming–calls made from there to me in the US or his family in Toronto.

    T-Mobile suggested we get a Canadian pre-paid phone. Would you agree and do you have a suggestion for which might be best?

    Thank you very much.

    Reply from Peter: Speak Out Wireless Canada is a good prepaid plan for infrequent visits, as all airtime is valid for 365 days.


  90. Danise says:

    Rogers charges for voice mail message received even if the caller didn’t leave a message and even if the phone is kept off. You pay $0.40 each time a telemarketer calls and sets off the voice-mail feature without leaving any message. You’d have to be very careful that your number is unlisted and never gets out for that to remain worth it but considering other companies don’t charge it’s nothing but a rip off.

    The charges get deducted even when your voice-mail message indicator still says 0 messages.

    Also with Rogers if you top-up by credit card under $30 it cancels your roll over to the next month. Imagine having 200 days left on your $10 balance and spending only $10 to top-up and then only getting that $20 for the next 30 days.


  91. Tess says:

    I started looking for a cell phone and a service provider in late 2012, and came across your blog in a random Google search. My problem was that I wouldn’t be using my phone very often, and I couldn’t find any companies that offered low enough prepaid top-ups so that I wouldn’t end up wasting a bunch of money. I looked into Speakout after reading your blog and found their $25/year top-ups, and decided to give it a try. I’ve been using it for around 9 months so far and it works great. My parents and brother also bought their own Speakout SIM cards after they saw how well it was working for me.

    So thanks for this post, Peter. It really helped. :)

    Reply from Peter: Great to hear!

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