For my recent two-week trial of Nokia’s N900 I decided to take WIND Mobile for a test drive as well. Unfortunately, while the N900 continued to surprise and delight, Canada’s new national carrier was a complete non-starter.
To best illustrate what I mean, here’s a video I found on the Howard Forums. If you replace “dropped calls” with “no data connection” it pretty much sums up my experience using WIND:
All the staff I had dealings with were friendly to a fault, but it wasn’t just that I couldn’t get a reliable data connection — I couldn’t get a data connection at all.
A quick survey of WIND service in various locations in and around Toronto:
- Pacific Mall – no data.
- Yonge & Eglinton – no data.
- The parts of the Yonge TTC subway line that are above ground – no data.
- My home – no data, save for the one loaded web page after I got off the phone (my other one) with customer service.
- My local WIND Mobile store – no data, until my SIM was swapped for a new one and even then it only worked for a few minutes.
I should note that I did at least get intermittent reception in the areas above for voice calls and texting, but even that was nowhere near as reliable as the rock-solid signal from my own carrier.
I also tested my SIM card (at least the first one) with WIND’s own handsets in their store, and couldn’t get a data connection on those either.
… Which is a real shame, as WIND otherwise has so many good things going for it. They sell handsets and service without contracts and will even unlock your device for you after you’ve been with them for three months. And a current promotion has them effectively buying out your existing carrier contract with a $150 credit towards a WIND Mobile plan.
Yet the sad fact is that from where I’m sitting WIND is a triumph of marketing at the expense of actually delivering a reliable product. There’s still time for them to get their act together, but with the launch of a new carrier in Southern Ontario and Montreal things aren’t going to get any easier.