• The Agony and Ecstasy of WIND



    This week I activated a pair of WIND Mobile SIMs for my girlfriend and I on the "Two Countries, One Unlimited Plan" promotion. We haven't yet had the chance to experience unlimited data roaming south of the border, but I did some fairly extensive testing of the network in and around my neighbourhood yesterday.

    Now make no mistake, I think every mobile user in this country has benefited from WIND, whether they're a customer or not—though I don't think it's too contentious to say that their disruptive power has considerably weakened after they pulled out of the last spectrum auction.

    Here's the conundrum that I face with WIND: Do they offer more than the Big Three for less? Yes. Conversely, is service from the Big Three more than twice as good for double the price? Yes again.

    By The Numbers

    I knew I'd be taking a big hit in data speeds going from 4G to 3G on WIND, but figured that if I could average an upload speed of 1Mbps or more I could make do. This assumption was based on some tests I ran on a friend's AWS device—apparently my patio is a sweet spot for WIND data. Who knew?



    Yesterday I did speed tests in Chinatown, Kensington, U of T Campus and Baldwin Village. As you can clearly see, that 1Mbps upload didn't happen. Here's what the other numbers meant for me:

    Ping

    Slow ping times kept me waiting for web sites to load in my browser. More than once the call to a web page timed out altogether and I had to reload.

    Download

    Slower download speeds meant that YouTube videos wouldn't stream in HD. Ever. Instead I was presented with an option called "HQ", which on a 1080p screen didn't look all that great.

    Upload

    Sustained upload speeds of less than 1Mbps took all options for rich media teleconferencing, like video calling or using VoIP over the cellular network, off the table. Simple as that.

    One other thing that may or may not be an issue for others is that battery life on my Nexus 5 took a real hit yesterday. It may have been all the speed tests, it might have been WIND's network or it could be something unique to my device—I have noticed that, for whatever reason, the battery on my Nexus 5 seems to last longer on Koodo's LTE network.

    And for those of you who still make phone calls, call quality

    Agony & Ecstasy

    Despite what you might think I'm not trying to troll the WIND forum with this post; my only goal here is to provide some perspective from a former WIND customer who was seduced by LTE and is now spoiled for everything else. In the two years that I was with WIND (2011-2013) I was thrilled to not hand over money to the Big Three every month. I think WIND's promotions, up to and including this one, have been fantastic deals, and that their fair data usage policy is fair.

    After getting reacquainted with the network yesterday I honestly think that the best fit for WIND's data network is either a legacy or low-powered handset—an older BlackBerry with BIS or something akin to a Moto E. I wouldn't have thought this before I experienced LTE for the first time; in fact I've recommended WIND to half a dozen friends who are using modern devices and seem quite happy with the service.

    For me though, LTE compared to anything before it is like the difference between broadband and dial-up for a desktop computer. Unfortunately, I don't think I can go back.

    [hr][/hr]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Agony and Ecstasy of WIND started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. MorsVincitOmnia's Avatar
      MorsVincitOmnia -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      For me though, LTE compared to anything before it is like the difference between broadband and dial-up for a desktop computer. Unfortunately, I don't think I can go back.
      This is a very true statement. Once you get a taste of LTE, going back to a crippled HSPA is... unimaginable and frustrating. So really, you have to think about how you use your data, exactly, and whether you are willing to pay a premium for LTE. If you are immersed in heavy streaming, video calling, and uploading of large documents to a cloud, then LTE (or a strong HSPA) is a must. If you are more of a YouTube watcher, music streamer, e-mail sender, then slower data speeds won't affect your daily routine much, if at all.

      And, of course, let's not forget about the congestion and dead spots, which make experience with Wind/Mobilicity that much more of a headache. It is extremely location dependent! That's not to say that people on, for example, Koodo don't find themselves with zero bars here and there, though this happens much less frequently.
    1. spongemike5307's Avatar
      spongemike5307 -
      I find my fido package to be pretty decent. Is a bit more expensive than Wind but data speed is a lot faster.
      2GB data
      unlimited call/text within Canada and US
      Caller ID, Voice mail, who call etc etc.
      Is $52 plus tax.
      I am sure is more expensive than Wind but there are no dead zones and data speed is a lot faster. Also since Fido phone is GMS I can take it and use it while I travel to another country.
    1. DataDude's Avatar
      DataDude -
      Quote Originally Posted by spongemike5307 View Post
      I find my fido package to be pretty decent. Is a bit more expensive than Wind but data speed is a lot faster.
      2GB data
      unlimited call/text within Canada and US
      Caller ID, Voice mail, who call etc etc.
      Is $52 plus tax.
      I am sure is more expensive than Wind but there are no dead zones and data speed is a lot faster. Also since Fido phone is GMS I can take it and use it while I travel to another country.
      What kind of plan is this, exactly? Are there any credits that will/could fall off in the future? At a sweet spot
      like $52, I'd forget about Wind completely for the time being. Currently I have a Telus plan for $65. It has 6 GB of data, and a decent 500 DT minute bucket, but the minutes are all local which is extremely frustrating. I realize that getting anything somewhat decent from the big three as a new customer is next to impossible these days.
    1. 2c's Avatar
      2c -
      Quote Originally Posted by spongemike5307 View Post
      I find my fido package to be pretty decent. Is a bit more expensive than Wind but data speed is a lot faster.
      2GB data
      unlimited call/text within Canada and US
      Caller ID, Voice mail, who call etc etc.
      Is $52 plus tax.
      I am sure is more expensive than Wind but there are no dead zones and data speed is a lot faster. Also since Fido phone is GMS I can take it and use it while I travel to another country.
      most of the wind phones are also GSM
    1. WindCalgary's Avatar
      WindCalgary -
      Do I miss LTE? Yes
      Do I surf on phone a lot? No (I have computers for that)

      Only reason keeping me on Wind so far. If I had to be a sales and be on road all day, I may have to go to someone else.
    1. 5714's Avatar
      5714 -
      Quote Originally Posted by 2c View Post
      most of the wind phones are also GSM
      He said his phone is GMS

      People think AWS compatible phones are like CDMA phones...
    1. mobilejack's Avatar
      mobilejack -
      What bothers me about Wind is the inconsistency. I was a Mobilicity customer for years and only switched recently to Wind. On paper, Wind should be a bit better. In practice, in Ottawa where I live, Mobilicity looks like a rock of stability compared to Wind.

      On Mobi, I watched Netflix every day on the bus home. On Wind, it craps out constantly. And not just streaming; simple web browsing too. I have long random periods where data of any kind, even light, is simply unavailable. This happens particularly around rush hour, which makes me think it's a congestion issue. It's really frustrating. This is like amateur hour.
    1. stufried's Avatar
      stufried -
      I like Wind. I have great coverage on two networks (TMobile and ATT), a large bucket of data, pretty good HSPA speeds and did I mention that as an added bonus they even throw in coverage in major Canadian cities (Montreal, Winipeg, and Halifax excluded). Since our education in the US is second rate, I really can't spell Saskatchewan let alone know anything about Sasaktoon or Regina.

      As a Straight Talk competitor, it is hard to beat.
    1. TelecomZombie's Avatar
      TelecomZombie -
      $39.00 from the Pig 3 buys WHAT other than High Speed all you can weep!
      Truly what can you get from them in Canada alone that's Unlimited for$39?
      Let's put some perspective on this as we don't all post at Spread Eagle Nfld. nor meet and eat at Crotch Lake Ont.

      The Agony is No I did not do Ecstasy before posting but I did take a hit off Kathleen Wynne's Billion $$ TiT.

      " Now back to your regular scheduled messages."
    1. ckl_88's Avatar
      ckl_88 -
      You are demanding too much from a carrier with limited resources. Perhaps for your needs, you really need to be on a big 3 network.

      For the price I pay (I'm on the same plan), I'm willing to accept compromise. Again, my phone is not my life so it's no big deal for me.

      The more important issue is that I spoke with my wallet. I will be with WIND until the end.
    1. garychencool's Avatar
      garychencool -
      I'd say you pretty much get what you paid for. I'm experiencing mobile data for the first time starting last week on LTE with Rogers. Gee gotta love those 20-40Mbps down. I've been speed testing for the past 7 days and I gotta say the speeds are great, the reception sucks (this is because of LTE and how bad it is with wall/building penetration. On hspa it's full bars practically everywhere) but in other areas it's great, fast and effective. Even in congested areas I still seem to get the same speeds but a bit slower. The peak download speed I got on Rogers LTE was 64Mbps. Like really, it's faster than my home Internet...

      Anyways I'm planning on getting the wind 39 plan in late June so I'm not sure how badly I'd miss the amazing LTE speeds I'm getting from Robbers. Even their hspa goes to 15 down. My contract with Rogers ends in early September so I'll see how retentions persuades me on renewing/staying with them. By then there would be back to school sales and student discounts too.
    1. jattdesi's Avatar
      jattdesi -
      Quote Originally Posted by spongemike5307 View Post
      I find my fido package to be pretty decent. Is a bit more expensive than Wind but data speed is a lot faster.
      2GB data
      unlimited call/text within Canada and US
      Caller ID, Voice mail, who call etc etc.
      Is $52 plus tax.
      I am sure is more expensive than Wind but there are no dead zones and data speed is a lot faster. Also since Fido phone is GMS I can take it and use it while I travel to another country.
      FYI. It's called GSM not GMS. Also in case you didn't know all phones sold by wind support GSM bands 900/1800Mhz for overseas usage and they also support 3G/HSPA/HSPA+ 2100Mhz for overseas usage.
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by garychencool View Post

      Anyways I'm planning on getting the wind 39 plan in late June so I'm not sure how badly I'd miss the amazing LTE speeds I'm getting from Robbers. Even their hspa goes to 15 down. My contract with Rogers ends in early September so I'll see how retentions persuades me on renewing/staying with them. By then there would be back to school sales and student discounts too.
      Don't do it! Here i said it.
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by DataDude View Post
      What kind of plan is this, exactly? Are there any credits that will/could fall off in the future? At a sweet spot
      like $52, I'd forget about Wind completely for the time being. Currently I have a Telus plan for $65. It has 6 GB of data, and a decent 500 DT minute bucket, but the minutes are all local which is extremely frustrating. I realize that getting anything somewhat decent from the big three as a new customer is next to impossible these days.
      As you very well know DataDude, for $55- you can get a much better deal.
    1. selfy's Avatar
      selfy -
      How was the call quality? That sentence was cut short.

      via the HoFo App
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Oh right, thanks for pointing that out!

      According to my girlfriend on the other end of the line, call quality was fine.
    1. yyz123's Avatar
      yyz123 -
      I feel the same way about Wind.
      I almost left but I made 2 trips to the US in the past 2 months and their US roaming add-on worked seamlessly.

      During one of my trips, I recall using around 740mb, 150min calling, and some texts. A similar plan to cover me at the Big 3 would've cost probably 4x-5x as much.

      Edit: Quoted myself from the US roaming thread.
      Wow, I was in the states for only 4 days and I managed to use 140min, 77texts, 740MB of data.
      I'm glad I had the $15 US add-on...

      I just looked at the other competitors and they don't even have an add-on that will cover this much usage.
      Telus $65 US Combo pass covers 300min but also only has 300MB of data.
      Fido $100 Data add-on gives you 500MB of data.
      Koodo $35 US Roaming Bundle has 400 incoming/outgoing texts, 40min calling, 40MB data.
      Rogers $80 Travel Pack with 100min, unlimited outgoing texts, 500MB data.
      Bell $20 US Talk/Text Bundle + $50 for 500MB data.
    1. 2c's Avatar
      2c -
      Quote Originally Posted by TelecomZombie View Post
      $39.00 from the Pig 3 buys WHAT other than High Speed all you can weep!
      Truly what can you get from them in Canada alone that's Unlimited for$39?
      Let's put some perspective on this as we don't all post at Spread Eagle Nfld. nor meet and eat at Crotch Lake Ont.

      The Agony is No I did not do Ecstasy before posting but I did take a hit off Kathleen Wynne's Billion $$ TiT.

      " Now back to your regular scheduled messages."
      how did you get back so quick?
    1. selfy's Avatar
      selfy -
      Call quality was the reason I ditched Wind three years ago. It was horrible.

      via the HoFo App
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by yyz123 View Post
      I feel the same way about Wind.
      I almost left but I made 2 trips to the US in the past 2 months and their US roaming add-on worked seamlessly.

      During one of my trips, I recall using around 740mb, 150min calling, and some texts. A similar plan to cover me at the Big 3 would've cost probably 4x-5x as much.

      Edit: Quoted myself from the US roaming thread.
      I used Roam mobility it was cheaper.