After my wireless provider, Eastlink Wireless, decided that it would only support phones purchased from it, I went looking for a new wireless provider.
My first quandary was that Eastlink’s pricing–$40 per line per month, including 3GB of shared data–was hard to beat; indeed, none of the major providers (Bell, Telus, Rogers) nor their discount brands (Virgin, Koodo, Fido) could come close.
Then I happened upon another Telus discount brand, Public Mobile, that I’d never heard of before. It’s an interesting concept: completely self-service, no contracts, no call centre support, and 100% “bring your own device.”
As I reckoned I could do without a call centre, and bringing my own device was the point of the switch, I dug deeper and found that Public Mobile has a $40 per line per month plan which includes 4.5GB of 3G data (you can pay more for LTE data, but I never do anything bandwidth-intensive while not connected to wifi, so I didn’t need that).
Convinced this was a viable way forward, I ordered up a couple of SIM cards, one for me and one for Catherine, and they arrived in the mail four days later.
Today I finally got around to activating the service on my phone, which turned out to be relatively simple: from the Public Mobile self-service site I entered the SIM card number, the phone number I wanted to port, my name and address, and my credit card information (I set up “auto-pay,” which is a pre-paid service that bills automatically every month). The self-service site is a little bit 2005 in its usability and aesthetics, but it all appeared to work as intended.
The only confused part of the switch-over was that although the SIM card got activated immediately (I just needed to reboot my phone to do the switch), there was a delay in porting my number, meaning that I could make outbound calls but not immediately receive inbound ones. I worked around this by sticking my Eastlink SIM back in the phone until the port happened. In the end the delay was only about 30 minutes.
For those of you keeping track, Public Mobile will be my fifth wireless provider: I started out with Island Tel Mobility back in the day, then moved to Rogers, then Virgin Mobile, then Eastlink.
I report back on how things go.