Why Mobilicity wins over WIND Mobile.

Choosing Mobilicity or WIND Mobile over any of the incumbent carriers is a no-brainer for urban-dwelling Canadians, but what about choosing between the two?

I currently have an account with each, but probably not for long. Even though with two numbers together I’m still paying less per month than I did for a single line with Fido I will probably port my primary phone number of some sixteen years to a proper VoIP service in the new year, once I get everything tested and in place.

I’ve not yet made a final decision on this but from my experience so far Mobilicity has proven its worth (and value) significantly more than WIND has. Note that I’m a data user first and a voice caller second, so kindly keep that in mind as you read the reasoning that follows…

Con: Mobilicity throttles data.

This is widely accepted as fact, and the screen grabs below would seem to concur. Both are results from the Speedtest.net Android app:

First up, Mobilicity’s data network, tested on the Motorola Spice.

Second, my unlocked Nexus One on WIND — showing more than two times Mobilicity’s download speed.

But hang on… Mobilicity’s upload speed is more than twice that of WIND’s, which might come in handy for an on-board SIP client or Qik videoconferencing. Another thing that these grabs don’t show is that Mobilicity keeps me on HSPA everywhere I go, whereas I’ve been limited to a slightly slower UMTS/3G connection on WIND so far.

Advantage: Mobilicity.

Con: WIND blocks ports.

WIND’s controversial white-listing of ports is well documented on their community site. It came to my attention when I found myself unable to send an email from my Nexus via SMTP. Sure, I could change the outgoing port, but why should I have to? And what kind of heartache lies ahead when I try to configure my N1 for SIP?

Advantage: Mobilicity.

Con: WIND spams their customers.

They don’t do it often, but they shouldn’t do it at all. In contrast, the only texts I’ve received from Mobilicity so far are bill reminders — which I actually appreciate.

I have to admit that I kind of wince every time I hear that sassy recorded “Great, welcome to the conversation” message when I call customer service. And even if it’s opt-in, WIND’s rumoured end-of-call advertising sounds like a terrible idea.

Advantage: Mobilicity.

Pro: WIND will unlock handsets after three months.

This was a great differentiator for WIND when first announced. Of course it’d be better still if they sold their hardware unlocked out of the box (I’m told their data stick is, at least). Mobilicity could pull out even further ahead if they sold their entire lineup unlocked, but for now I’ll concede this to WIND.

And on the subject of hardware…

Pro: Mobilicity has better handsets.

If you’re a BlackBerry user both Wind and Mobilicity have got you covered. For everyone else I’m of the opinion that, handset for handset, Mobilicity has the better lineup.

From the (hopefully still) unlocked Nexus One to the Motorola Spice to the reborn Danger hiptop/Sidekick, Mobilicity trumps WIND at every price point. At least I think so.

Advantage: Mobilicity.

Obviously, your choice will come down to who gives you a better signal where you need it the most. All things being equal, however, I’d definitely give the nod to Mobilicity. And if anyone from Mobilicity is reading this, you should give whoever is in charge of procuring handsets for you a big fat raise. 😎


  1. All solid points. I think if you lived outside of Toronto though, it might be a more even fight. I’ve found Mobilicity’s Ottawa network spotty, not that I don’t drop back to roaming or anything.

  2. WIND has a larger coverage area, for sure. And I have to remember to put that “urban centres” disclaimer in any post about either carrier.

    I’m a big fan of the Coverage Mapper app for Android, and log info wherever and whenever I remember to.

    Anyone can check out their respective maps for Mobilicity and WIND — which should be working but weren’t when I wrote this for some reason…

  3. To be fair, Mobilicity had to release better prices than WIND’s existing ones otherwise they wouldn’t get noticed.

    WIND does ‘spam’, but a quick call gets you removed from that entirely. I’ve done it. It works.

    I also have a ticket open with WIND about the blocked ports. It hasn’t affected me because I use their data plan for casual use. This is definitely a con.

    Upload speeds you shouldn’t complain about. Remember on a home hardwire connection you’ll get 50kbps so anything higher than that; I’ll not complain.

  4. the problem with the mobilicity is like if you have sim that use data plan with BIS and first you enroll sim with your htc snap then you can not use that sim in blackberry. that means they have different sim for diffrent phones. they asked you to buy a new sim for the same plan whenever you switch from htc snap to blackberry.
    Even sometime the signal is too weak in toronto area. you can’t get better data reception even though voice is ok.

  5. Are these observations all pretty much still valid here in April 2011? I’m looking for a SIM for my N900 – which is great for Skype but a busy net cafe doesn’t offer an optimal network environment for voice connections – so I’m now leaning to Mobilicity.

    Also, have you tried SSH?

  6. I haven’t.

    I’d still give the nod to Mobilicity, at least for the moment, as WIND’s whitelisting of ports is a bit too restrictive for me.

    I’ve also read that Mobilicity has also brought back a variation of the $35/month “all-in” plan (minus the long distance) to celebrate the release of their Nexus S.

  7. Thanks for the comparisons. I’m now on Fido (Rogers), and because of Bell and Rogers latest attempts to control the internet, I’ll use that as a catalyst to definitely switch phone companies. I haven’t decided yet though. I don’t leave Toronto often, so the Mobilicity connection issue won’t be so bad for me. Will do more research.

  8. So I went ahead and got the Mobilicity SIM. You can indeed run SSH and VNC over it. Also, OpenVPN and Tor work fine as well on my N900 and QIK will upload video without any trouble, etc. So pretty much anything works. It’s actually faster up than my ADSL connection. I get about 300kbps up and down when I need to. The only annoying thing is if you listen to net radio (and why not? It doesn’t suck that much more bandwidth than a voice connection) it does drop out – either because of network traffic spikes, or Mobilicity drops extended connections, not sure which – so get an earpiece with media player control so you can unpause it and let it rebuffer.

  9. Hey I must agree that moblicity OWNS wind for 2 important reasons promotions and hardware. Now to explain the promotions, from wind I have seen little to nothing over the last year and infact there promotions aren’t even worth getting its like get 20$ off or a free samgsung flip phone thats crap. Moblicity on the other hand has had 3-4 Greats promotions for example unlimited EVERYTHING for 35$
    and then the same deal for 40$ after that because it was such a Crazy deal. Then around valentines day Moblicity said grab a friend a girlfriend and make your self a couple plan for 2 UNLIMITED EVERYTHING deals you pay 78$ after taxes which brings each plan to about 37-38$ for UNLIMITED EVERYTHING which is amazing. Now to talk about the hardware not only does moblicity have better phones but if you use the phone for 30 days they say they have a limit on the usage but the guys at the store are cool with 30 days to test your phone i brought it back because i didn’t like it and they returned it and it was a nexus one. WIND on the other hand has good phones ok but i tried to return a cellphone after 8 says it was a shitty samsung flip phone and they told my i went over my usage limits and there is nothing they can do

  10. Wind sometimes offers better promotions. I am on a 35dollar plan. I have everything unlimited including data and tethering. The issue is that even though my house is 600 m away from the nearest tower, calls drop when I am in the garage or in the basement. I live close to the home area edge. Everything else is just fine. My kids can watch online movies on the wifi only ipad while I am driving them. I can work remotely from almost any place in Calgary for my customer in Toronto via VPN cause my laptop is tethered to the nexus s with unlimited data.

  11. I have just run speedtest. My results are ping 168, dl 1861, ul 268. Not the best numbers, but again the edge of the home area is close to my house. I often use Skype for videochatting my friends in Russia and Ukraine while driving (I am neither staring at the screen, nor holding the phone in my hand) Very convenient, because I am not often available at home or in the office. What I do not like is when the phone accidentally switches to wind away it takes too much time for it to get back.

  12. well, mobilicity network is horrible. I am midtown Toronto and I have problem connecting, Wonderland no signal/roaming. internet never ever goes higher than 1200/400. At night you will be lucky if you get 800 download speed. I changed 3 phones and same result. Remember it is cheap for a reason 🙂

  13. ??

    I myself haven’t been to Canada’s Wonderland since long before I even had a mobile phone, but that area is widely known as being on the periphery of their current GTA coverage.

    And “mid-town” could mean almost anything, but I’ve had zero connection issues at Yonge & Bloor or Yonge & Eglinton.

    So either you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re trolling on behalf of Bell, Rogers and/or Telus. The reason that Mobilicity is cheap is because the big three telcos are ripping people off.

  14. Interesting. I only use my SIP client on my home WiFi network, but don’t remember having issues in tests over 3G.

    Nor would I myself put this in the same category as a blocked SMTP port — every user’s needs are different though, I suppose…

  15. Just wanted to leave a note here that Mobilicity specifically advertises their data service as “3 mbps download” while Wind claims a “7 mbps down” service.

    When considering the two I called both companies and they both confirmed those supposed speeds. I say supposed, because I’ve never known anyone to achieve 3 mbps on Mobilicity or 7 mbps on Wind. As with any wireless connection, you never get the theoretical maximums, but on average, you should get faster service with Wind- until Wind decides to throttle your connection (see below.)

    What killed Wind, in my mind, though is their “Fair Use Policy” (see here: www2.windmobile.ca/wind%20docs/wind-fair-usage-data-050111.pdf )

    With Wind, if you exceed more than 5 GB of “data Usage” in a given calendar month (that’s the total of up & down-load) they throttle your connection back to an unusable speed (the equivalent of 256 k) for the whole of the next month. And it’s not based on packet inspection to try to cut off P2P or ftp, or stuff like that. They throttle all of your connection based on the MAC of your data stick. There’s no workaround to avoid it. Who needs BS like that!

    That was just an instant deal-killer for me. After confirming the throttle policy with the rep, I decided to just forget about Wind.

  16. Hey Don, I couldn’t agree more. I have had a phone with WIND for over a year and just decided last month to get my internet through them (trying to support these little guys). I quickly went from avergaing 350kb/s for streaming netflix/youtube/other videos down to a WHOPPING 25kb/s due to their ridiculous 5GB limit. It now takes 10 minutes to load a 2 minute youtube clip, haha. Absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable. Anyone out there reading this, do not get internet through WIND until they change their ridiculous policy! The crappy thing is, I think I’m out the $100 it cost to purchase the HOTSPOT device.

  17. mobilicity unlimited data stick actually means very limited and it will crash at least 50 times / day ,you’ll get annoying calls if you actually try to use any of this ” unlimited data”,,,,,,,
    if you have 15-20 mins to open your hotmail It’s for you !!!!!!also if you have data stick on your laptop and a cell phone from them expect to not get your calls as it just clicks off after 2 rings ,,,according to about 3o of my friends ,,,my phone is money to me and all i do is lose contract work because of it ….and don’t even get me sstarted on throttling as at exactlly 6:30 am – exactly 7:00 pm your speed drops to nothing ..except sundays so what is that ??????they’re very happy to misslead you as they sell it to you and its great as long as you don’t want to use it …..forget about IM , dowloads , games , any streaming content , opening two windows at once , any pages that have a video add or anything usefull like google maps ……..CRASH CRASH CRASH ….they are basically stealing from you for infrastucture and to service all of their 5$ christmas special customers …do yourself a favor and forget about mobilicity and the frustration that comes with being a mobilicity customer ……

  18. mobilicity has reached a new low even for them … my current speed for 90% of the day tops out between 13 and 18 kb/s …they have my account throttled so much my conection fails now at least 200 times / day …and there is no streaming content at all .If a page has any video add on it it crashes ,,, which is at least 25% of pages …I asked my rep upon purchase of your unlimited data stick)
    if I could stream video ,,,to which he replied …Of course … he told me the signal was so good i need never pay for tv again as i could easily stream ANYTHING I WANTED !!!I have complained to you to the B.B.B. and today to the ctcc ,,,to whit they are clearly breaking the law as they were required at the point of sale to provide contracts to me with any qualifying statements of exceptions to the definition of UNLIMITED . I recieved a data stick a box and a receipt …nothing more ,,,although i assume your employees lies were free….they are breaking the law see next paragraph for specifics …
    (un·lim·it·ed [uhn-lim-i-tid] adjective
    1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
    2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
    3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional)

    from the ctcc website
    How the traffic management practice will affect your Internet experience, including the specific effect on the speed of your Internet connection
    Introducing or changing a practice
    At least 30 days before introducing a new traffic management practice or revising an existing one, your service provider must display information about the change on its website. This is not required if the change makes the practice less restrictive.
    Prohibited traffic management practices
    Unless your service provider has received prior approval from the CRTC, it may not use traffic management practices that do any of the following:
    Lead to blocking the delivery of content to you
    Result in the noticeable degradation of time-sensitive Internet traffic
    Slow non-time-sensitive traffic to the extent that it amounts to blocking the content .endquote…
    from the mobilicity site vebatum…Mobilicity has taken the hassle out of understanding exactly how your data usage is measured because our data add-on is truly unlimited. Use as much as you want, download all month long
    ….this is a complete lie and very deceptive advertising…

    I will spend all my time posting to forums and threads , lodging complaint after complaint to the ctcc as each new day is legally a new violation and continuation of what really amounts to an ongoing criminal conspiracy by their company and agents …I won’t stop until my complaint is addressed or until no-one can try to look up mobilicity without finding a list of complaints including the specifics of the laws you are breaking …I am a disabled person who relies on the internet to see the world outside my home as i can rarely leave the house …by the time I’m done they won’t even be able to use the word unlimited as the word doesn’t allow for exceptions by definition,,,and cutting me off after my ctcc complaint would not be prudent …I’m onto , i want my rights to the internet ,,, unfettered …..as its illegal for them to throttle this much. I anticipate they have breached as it amounts to blocking ,,,as well you have essentially blocked a shut-in from accessing the CBC ,ctv global ,or anything worth while…,,,,probably won’t look good for you ….I would gladly pay more for the data but paying what already amounts to the most expensive internet in the country and recieving nothing is simply not good enough….

Leave a Reply to Andrew Cancel reply