WIND Mobile is mostly hot air.

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.

15 comments:

  1. AC:
    Just as I come to the end of my Bell contract, and I’m getting excited about having more than 3 choices of carriers, I read this… argh….
    Hopefully it’s just teething pains. I’d love to see these new indie carriers make things better for Canadian users in terms of pricing and services, but I’m also afraid they’ll be squeezed out by a combination of their own mistakes and the actions of the big 3 (see Palm’s current woes for a parallel…).
    Ed

  2. Damn, that sucks. I was trying to play hardball with Rogers CSRs yesterday about switching to WIND, but I can see why they weren’t remotely willing to keep me on – they knew I’d just come crawling back.

  3. Sorry Simon, I’m waiting to flip the switch on Disqus comments so you can edit them after posting, but there are some niggling issues that need fixing first.

    Oh, and apparently someone linked here from the WIND community pages but that thread seems to have mysteriously vanished since I saw it this morning.

    So much for “the power of conversation”…

  4. So WIND doesn’t want any discussion related to customer service? Uh, then why have “community pages”?

    Great. Even the indie telecoms are as screwed up as the majors are…

    Ed
    Quietly preparing for 3 more years of servitude…

  5. Hey Ed,

    You do realize that a contract isn't mandatory for service — at least not always.

    Even if you were to stick with Bell you could get an unlocked handset and use it with a Bell SIM card…

  6. Damn.. I have a N900 and I had planned to join wind when I arrived in Toronto as Wind had the right network for the N900 3g :/

  7. Wind absolutley is the WORST mobile service provide I have dealt with. I switched over my phone from another provider and went into a store and the sales rep just opened up the new phone and scanned Serial No. for the new phone and old phone and stated everything is done and the phone should be ready to go in three hours with my old number (and of course passed go and collected $200.00 for the phone).

    It took me 3 days, 5 store visits, 8 customer service calls to get this phone up and running. I cannot tell you how much of a bad experience this was, for a new company, they do not know how to treat their customers and their CSR’s do not know anything about their products…Should have renewed my contract with my old provider..

  8. Wind has gotten worse over the past 2 months not better, they have 2 gears neutral and reverse. Stay away from Wind at all costs.

  9. I had another, more recent activation with WIND over the holidays, even ported in a number from Fido and this time had no technical or customer services.

    I would definitely give the nod to Mobilicity where it’s available, but either is a much better choice than the incumbent telcos.

  10. On Dec 22nd I ported over my number to Wind. After 3 phone calls, 4 weeks and endless delays it was finally completed. During the third phone call I told wind that I wanted to abandon the process because it was taking to long. I was warned that I would loose my number and told not to. I was promised compensation from the Presidents Office as soon as my phone was activated. After a total of 12 hrs on hold, multiple broken promises from CSR Reps, several occasions where I would have to re-explain my issues have yet to receive a penny from Wind. I have tried to port my number back three times as well and all three times Wind has blocked the port and WILL NOT RELEASE my number. ( Im still trying ) You would think after sending two letters to Anthony Lacavera President of Wind, this would get a resolution. This whole experience has been a nightmare. Wind is a dirty company that lies. They will tell you what you want to hear to get you off the phone. Don’t look for any Customer Service from this company. I was warned about Wind and I didn’t listen. Now I am out $125 and my friends can say `We told you so!` I still have my FIDO cell phone and gladly pay twice as much to be treated like a human being. I hope Wind’s license is revoked by the CRTC because they certainly don’t have shown that they dont deserve to do business with Canadians. They will not be missed.

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