(Rockland - Tuesday, April 21, 2009)
by Patrick Meikle
(I have just signed on with Solo cell phone service (Solo is owned by Bell), through WirelessWave in
Place d'Orléans and I am now actually able to send and receive calls in and around Rockland and my home
area, for the first time in years! The package also came with a free three-month trial of Bell sympatico Internet
serivice. Read on...)
I live on the west side of Clarence-Rockland in Blue Jay Ridge, near Canaan Road, which is the border between
Rockland and Ottawa. I have had cell phones for over 20 years. I started with Bell Mobility, switched to Telus
(found it did not work near my home), then switched to Rogers (I was told the service was great where I lived).
So after getting stuck into a three-year plan I found out that the signal strength in and around Rockland, and
specifically within a mile or two radius of my home did not work. My main purpose for having reliable cell phone
service was because of an illness in my family and the need to be available if needed.
About two years into the plan and after complaining vigorously to Rogers (via their customer service department),
I was sent two different models of cell telephones... a Nokia and a Motorola. Neither worked well from home, and
neither worked well in and around the Rockland area generally. In early April 2009, when I was checking my cell
phone bill, I found out that my contracted had ended in March and I was now on a month-to-month payment method.
(They will never tell you that your contract has ended!)
As soon as I learned that my contract was up, I cancelled the service with Rogers (boy did they try to offer
me incentives to stay with them).
I spent some weeks researching cell phone service in my area, mostly talking to people who use cell phones in
and around the Clarence-Rockland area.
People told me ovewhelmingly that Bell service was by far the best and most reliable. It is not perfect, because
depending on the individual telephone, there are dead spsots... along some the highway stretches either east or
west of Rockland; around Bourget and the Larose Forest area, and in sporadic locations anywhere there is a dip
in the road (ravine or valley) or around hills and rock cuts.
Eliminating Telus and Rogers from my search, I concentrated on other cell phone suppliers including Sprint,
Virgin, Fido, Solo and Bell. From what I could learn, only Bell and Solo (owned by Bell) would work efficiently
in the Rockland area. I then: i) visited one Bell Store, ii) called Bell Mobility, and iii) visited one local cell
phone supplier in Rockland.
My intent was to get the most economical service for my needs as well as to try and find the model of phone
which would work the best where I live. (I'm not interested in listening to music, playing games, watching videos,
taking pictures, accessing the Internet, or text messaging. I just want a plain and simple phone that is easy to
I also inquired about bundling my service. If you already have Bell Telephone service you can get small savings
if you add Bell Sympatico Internet Service and/or Bell Mobility (cell) service. I also looked at the difference
between getting a long-term contract (2 - 3 years) or a pay-as-you-go plan.
With Rogers we had two phones on a "Pooled Family Weekend Plan" which allowed for free "Between
Us Calling" (family plan), 200 free minutes per month, plus evenings and weekends free. But for each of the
two phones per month we were paying:
- $20.00 for the plan
- .50-cents for 911 Emergency Service Access Fee
- $6.95 for System Access Fee
With taxes this cost between $57 and $58.
(Long distance calls and anything over the 200 minutes during weekdays cost extra.)
Plans -vs- Pay-as-you-go (Bell/Solo)
Unless you are only using your cell phone for emergencies or only making a few call per month, the pay-as-you-go
plan is not particularly economical. First, you have to buy the phone (starting price around $70 depending on the
model you want.) Then you have to purchase calling cards between $30 and $40, and depending on what time of the
day or weekend you call, the cost can be between .40-cents and .04-cents per minuts. Also, calling cards are only
good for a limited amount of time before they expire. You can accumulate unused minutes, however at the end of
a 30-day or 75-day life of the card you must purchase another calling card to re-activate the phone.
So I think a longer term plan of two to three years, tailored to your needs is the better way to go.
The Bell Store, Bell Mobility service inquiring via your home phone, and a local Rockland outlet, all had similar
options for phones and plans, but in adding up the monthly costs (either with Bell Mobility or with Solo), they
all come up with different totals with a difference of up to $10 or more per month.
Incidentally, the consultant at the Bell Store was most helpful, gave me lots of attention and outlined several
plan options. Forget about calling Bell Mobility service... by the time you drill down through the maze of number
options to get a real person who can actually help you, you can waste a lot of time, plus finding just one person
who can answer all of your questions about bundling the three Bell services (home, Internet and cell) takes more
time. It took me about 45 minutes to get the answers I wanted. And the local Rockland outlet, I won't mention their
name because the young woman who served me was most inattentive and seemed to be more interested in who was walking
in and out of the store, than in serving me. I guess a potential sale and a future customer is not important.
this exercise I then went to the Internet to look for other potential cell services and as well as different cell
phone models. After calling several companies and eliminating many of them, I came across a store in the Place
d'Oréans Mall. WirelessWave is around the corner, right, from the
eastern entrance closest to Zeller's... and right across from Cinnabon.
I spoke to Muneesh Canth, a Communications Consultant and after listening to the deal he offered, I concluded
that the best cell phone package for me would be from Solo, through WirelessWave.
Here is what I got (with a two-year commitment):
- Free Phone (a Samsung SPH-M300)
- No activation fee
- No system access fee
- No 911 access fee
- 100 minutes per month
- Free service evenings (7:00 pm to 8:00 a.m.)
- Free weekends (7:00 p.m. Friday until 8:00 a.m. Monday)
All this for $20 + taxes = $22.60 per month. Compared to the $58/month with Rogers, I am now saving $35 per
month and the phone works in my area!
Muneesh also threw in a free car charger and an excellent quality leather clip-on-a-belt carrying case. I also
purchased a compatible Motorola Bluetooth Headset, Model H375, so I could use the phone "hands free".
(I'm still testing it out.)
Muneesh later called me to advise that if I was interested WirelessWave, through Bell Sympatico, was offering
to first-time users, a free three month trial of Internet service. I have signed on for the service and will let
you know how it works.
(Before I purchased a cell phone, I asked if there was a way I could actually check out the phone to see if
it works in my area. I was told that I could keep the phone up to 15 days, and try it for no longer than 15-minutes
of air time. If it did not work in my area (as in if I couldl not get a signal), I could return the phone. No other
dealer made that offer.)
After I purchased my cell phone from WirelessWave, and on my way home from Orleans to Rockland, my son and I
compared the signal on three different phones - a Nokia (Rogers), the new Samsung (Solo) and an older Sanyo Katana
(Solo). We travelled from Orleans east along Old Montreal Road, through Cumberland Village, east to Regional Road
174, and continued east to Canaan Road. We then traveled south on Canaan Road until we reached Blue Jay.
During the drive, all three phones worked, all with varying signal strength (at times one better than the other)
until we reached Canaan Road. Once up the hill on Canaan, my Nokia with Rogers service cut out permanently. The
other two phones (with Bell signal) all managed to keep their signal strength, albeit often down to one bar on
the signal strength meter. And to my pleasure, the new Solo Samsung phone, continued to show a strong enough signal
in, around and inside my home.
You can click here for further specs and
a few reviews or do your own Google search for more. If you have any comments, please let me know .
(This information is based on my personal experience. I have no affiliation with WirelessWave.)
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