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Thread: Can you roam locally in areas where there is poor coverage?

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    Can you roam locally in areas where there is poor coverage?

    Rogers/Fido have a network feature called Rogers EXT and Fido EXT, does Freedom or Shaw have this?

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    When Shaw introduced $0 Free mobile as long as you have a valid cable/internet account... I pretty much jumped at it for my two kids.

    Ported them from my Telus account over to Shaw Mobile which is actually Freedom Mobile since Shaw owns it.

    Is it as reliable as Telus' coverage? Hell no but as I told my kids...if a call drops, then redial!

    Can't complain when it's absolute free unlimited national calling and international SMS. Only thing I add is $10 for 1GB (rolls over for 90 days) to each account. Since Shaw wifi hotspots are pretty much everywhere in the GVA...their access to anything wifi (Shaw hotspot, school, public library, home, friends and relatives homes) is pretty damn good. But when no wifi is present, then 1GB of data for quick sessions is their backup.

    With that said... The answer to if Shaw/Freedom locally roams? Is YES! I have my kids tell me every now and then that their Shaw phones are roaming while walking out of the house to the front yard or anywhere around the GVA.

    No charges as seemless roaming is included on their $0/month plan.
    Quote Originally Posted by GVRD777 View Post
    Rogers/Fido have a network feature called Rogers EXT and Fido EXT, does Freedom or Shaw have this?
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    To add to Qphone's post, the simple answer is: NO! Unfortunately, Shaw/Freedom is their own independent network relying solely on their towers. Should you be outside of "local" coverage, you will roam onto a partner (major carrier) network. Unfortunately, when in a "fringe" area, Shaw/Freedom will do a "ping" test to the tower and if a response is provided within so many ms (milliseconds), the network states you're in a "home" area and will not "roam".

    The unfortunate thing is that if the mobile device cannot connect to the tower but there's enough "juice" to provide that response, all calls will drop, data becomes unusable and your phone is a paperweight. People have complained about this time & time again but what is Shaw/Freedom to do? If they allowed a forced network switch (which they once did), people would abuse the system, sign up for a cheap plan and force the device onto a major network and pay a fraction of what these major carriers charge.

    I saw it first hand while working in industry!! Cheap people abusing the system and ruining it for others and it got so frustrating, I remember it being the topic of conversation at a meeting; whereby they stated they would be updating the software to allow the device to choose the network versus the individual. Some pushed back stating if national coverage is "free", who cares? Well... the simple answer is everyone for the fact that should people abuse the system, it puts lag on the major carriers and they too have implemented a safeguard where "their" customers get network priority.

    Simple answer is the device will determine if you are in a coverage area prior to switching automatically to a partner network. If the device determines you're in a coverage area yet the signal is weak, welcome to the dreaded "Emergency Calls Only" message or if you happen to show a signal bar, a quick disconnect upon trying to place a call with a message "Call Failed". If you try to force your phone or root it so you can manually select a roaming partner, it will still ping and boot you off the "National" carrier should the system determine you're in "Shaw/Freedom" home zone.

    As for the EXT network mentioned with Rogers, Bell & Telus... This was an agreement made between these telcos whereby if either networks coverage was lacking, it would roam automatically Telus EXT, Rogers EXT, Bell EXT etc... allowing true coverage and this was something agreed upon and worked out by these carriers to offer true coverage. These companies are pretty much on par but as a hypothetical example, lets say Rogers was struggling in "Golden, BC" but Bell or Telus had stronger coverage, it would connect to one of these agreed upon partner networks under the Rogers EXT name.

    QPhone is right... You cannot beat the price and it's great for anyone wanting reasonably priced service and can put up with some dropped calls. As for pricing, the major telcos have taken notice but are far from price matching only offering promos when absolutely necessary. As for Shaw/Freedom, I like the service and hopefully over time, the technicians will be able to put up more towers/repeaters and tweak the network. The unfortunate thing is the major telcos are still hindering Shaw/Freedom with red tape so until this changes, Canadian mobile pricing and structure will be everchanging until some form of structure is implemented by the Government. God knows the telcos won't implement fair pricing... why should they if consumers are willing to pay and not give pushback?

    Quote Originally Posted by QPhone View Post
    When Shaw introduced $0 Free mobile as long as you have a valid cable/internet account... I pretty much jumped at it for my two kids.

    Ported them from my Telus account over to Shaw Mobile which is actually Freedom Mobile since Shaw owns it.

    Is it as reliable as Telus' coverage? Hell no but as I told my kids...if a call drops, then redial!

    Can't complain when it's absolute free unlimited national calling and international SMS. Only thing I add is $10 for 1GB (rolls over for 90 days) to each account. Since Shaw wifi hotspots are pretty much everywhere in the GVA...their access to anything wifi (Shaw hotspot, school, public library, home, friends and relatives homes) is pretty damn good. But when no wifi is present, then 1GB of data for quick sessions is their backup.

    With that said... The answer to if Shaw/Freedom locally roams? Is YES! I have my kids tell me every now and then that their Shaw phones are roaming while walking out of the house to the front yard or anywhere around the GVA.

    No charges as seemless roaming is included on their $0/month plan.


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    Quote Originally Posted by hfta View Post
    To add to Qphone's post, the simple answer is: NO! Unfortunately, Shaw/Freedom is their own independent network relying solely on their towers. Should you be outside of "local" coverage, you will roam onto a partner (major carrier) network. Unfortunately, when in a "fringe" area, Shaw/Freedom will do a "ping" test to the tower and if a response is provided within so many ms (milliseconds), the network states you're in a "home" area and will not "roam".
    Interesting. Thanks for that. I was hoping it would work like Rogers/Telus with the "EXT" network. But I am confused because of Qphone's experiences. I also heard back from a collegue and said that in the mall he was roaming (albeit briefly) on Shaw/Freedom's Nationwide Network while in his "local" coverage area.

    While the $0 and $25 Shaw plan can't be beat. The real issue though is if you pay $45 a month/25 GB. There are some good plans out there for $45 a month, ableit with less than 25 GB of data.

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    You are absolutely correct re: good plans! Yes... The $0 Shaw plan cannot be beat and the $25 plan is good also but remember, the $25 plan requires FIBER+ GIG Internet. Essentially, Shaw is lowering mobile prices as they make up for it on the increased cost of the Internet service. The "got you" technique Shaw uses is brilliant! Should you need a phone, look at the pricing structure. Shaw lowers the price by $20 as they are making much more than this on the Internet side but as for the phone cost, they charge more for the device... they make the plan cost back on the Internet side but on average, charge you $14 more monthly for a device charge. Using an iPhone 12 Pro 256GB phone as an example, here's the breakdown (pre-tax):

    Plan = $45 Canada/USA calling etc...
    Phone = $52 Monthly for duration of contract
    Total: $97 Monthly - Based on regular Internet

    Plan = $25 Canada/USA calling etc...
    Phone = 66 Monthly for duration of contract
    Total: $91 Monthly - Based on higher priced Fiber+ GIG

    You only end up saving $6 monthly yet in my case, the switch to GIG Internet costs me $65 more a month so this is a great marketing technique to fish money from customers in other areas to compensate for the price point. Definitely not arguing this point as it's brilliant business and all the companies do it but I'm highlighting a point that the only good plans are the $0 plans based on what a consumer needs and their expectations of the service. Shaw's other price points can be matched by the major telcos but it's whether or not they wish to match or what promos they have going at that specific time.

    As for the roaming, there's no rhyme or reason behind this. As you mentioned about your friend, this is correct. Should you be in an area with poor latency, penetration of coverage, if the response time between the closest network tower and your device is lacking, it'll roam but unfortunately, this is controlled by the device software and the network itself; thereby posing an issue if the response time is poor. This could result in the device/network thinking coverage is satisfactory resulting in "Emergency Calls Only" or "Call Failed".

    Until network stability improves and Shaw implements more towers/repeaters, we must accept the pitfalls of a discount carrier and understand the sacrifice of service over stability and cost. If you switch to a "National" roaming partner and it works, nothing is lost as you have full coverage as for voice minutes and sms/mms but you're capped at 2GB for data. Should you use up this bucket, it's billable as you're on a different network. It's only reduced speeds if you've maxed out your data and continue using in a Shaw/Freedom Zone otherwise you're billed per MB while roaming.

    Pro's and Con's to Shaw vs. a major telco but in the end, it's all based on ones price point and what they expect.

    Quote Originally Posted by GVRD777 View Post
    Interesting. Thanks for that. I was hoping it would work like Rogers/Telus with the "EXT" network. But I am confused because of Qphone's experiences. I also heard back from a collegue and said that in the mall he was roaming (albeit briefly) on Shaw/Freedom's Nationwide Network while in his "local" coverage area.

    While the $0 and $25 Shaw plan can't be beat. The real issue though is if you pay $45 a month/25 GB. There are some good plans out there for $45 a month, ableit with less than 25 GB of data.

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    Well, here are screenshots on my son's (Shaw Mobile) phone inside Children's Hospital in Vancouver (Nationwide Roaming) then after stepping outside goes back to Shaw.Name:  IMG_20210303_171857.jpg
Views: 53
Size:  40.4 KBName:  IMG_20210304_060236.jpg
Views: 50
Size:  39.9 KB

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    That is an accurate depiction of Shaw vs. their "Nationwide" coverage. I guess to answer the OP's question, there's no rhyme or reason behind whether, when in a so-called coverage area a consumer will be on the Shaw network or their "Nationwide" partner.

    This is something which is controlled through the device, towers and how the handshake works between both. Unfortunately, I've seen situations such as hospitals, Walmart and concrete condos - essentially any areas which have poor penetration due to concrete automatically switch to a "Nationwide" network.

    I think the problem has to do with the handshake between the device & tower. The unfortunate thing is if the result is that your device thinks it's in a "home" zone, it will not switch which can make your phone useless. There's no rhyme or reason behind this. A good example is I have a friend using an iPhone 12 Pro and currently, I'm using a S20+ 5G device and we were in Burke Mountain (outskirts) and throughout our trek, they were roaming while I was in "Emergency Calls Only".

    Same provider, different phone and different results. All has to do, IMO on how the device communicates with the towers. I'm not faulting Shaw for this as they are relatively new (despite owing Freedom) but the major telcos had many many years (3X that of Freedom/Shaw) to tweak their networks with impunity - unlike Freedom/Shaw who have had to pay for licensing (unlike the free ones given to Telus, Bell & Rogers) not to mention the red tape the major telcos have unleashed upon Freedom/Shaw.

    Bottom line is you get what you pay for and at Shaw's price point, should you get disconnected and have to redial than so be it; the only downfall is if you're in Emergency Calls Only and have to dial 911, that would be a shame and hopefully a situation one would hopefully not encounter.

    Quote Originally Posted by QPhone View Post
    Well, here are screenshots on my son's (Shaw Mobile) phone inside Children's Hospital in Vancouver (Nationwide Roaming) then after stepping outside goes back to Shaw.Name:  IMG_20210303_171857.jpg
Views: 53
Size:  40.4 KBName:  IMG_20210304_060236.jpg
Views: 50
Size:  39.9 KB

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    Wow. Thank you to everyone, especially for providing images!

    It's unfortunate you need Shaw 1GB Fibre to obtain the $25 plan. For most other internet plans you can obtain the $0 plan or the $45 plan. That $45 plan seems like it's nothing special for those who don't use more than 5 or 6GB a month.

    The $0 plan and 1 GB top-up for $10 is fantastic for those who don't use much data. Once this pandemic ends, we might see prices rise and who's to say if you'll be grandfathered if you sign up before then.

    A worthy consideration too should one consider jumping to the Shaw Fiber Gigabyte plan is that you might lose some perks or bonuses that are only available for non fibre plans such as inexpensive Shaw home phone. For example, my friend now pays $105 a month including taxes for Shaw Internet 300, basic cable, plus home phone. Should my friend jump to Shaw Fibre, the costs would be more.

    Perhaps we might see internet prices falling (keeping our fingers crossed) given how Bell and others lost their appeal in the Supreme court regarding Wholesale Internet. We will have to wait now and see if the CRTC will now force everyone to lower their rates.

    Here is a breakdown of internet plans eligible.

    Name:  Capture.jpg
Views: 52
Size:  52.7 KB

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    Quote Originally Posted by GVRD777 View Post
    Wow. Thank you to everyone, especially for providing images!

    It's unfortunate you need Shaw 1GB Fibre to obtain the $25 plan. For most other internet plans you can obtain the $0 plan or the $45 plan. That $45 plan seems like it's nothing special for those who don't use more than 5 or 6GB a month.

    The $0 plan and 1 GB top-up for $10 is fantastic for those who don't use much data. Once this pandemic ends, we might see prices rise and who's to say if you'll be grandfathered if you sign up before then.

    A worthy consideration too should one consider jumping to the Shaw Fiber Gigabyte plan is that you might lose some perks or bonuses that are only available for non fibre plans such as inexpensive Shaw home phone. For example, my friend now pays $105 a month including taxes for Shaw Internet 300, basic cable, plus home phone. Should my friend jump to Shaw Fibre, the costs would be more.

    Perhaps we might see internet prices falling (keeping our fingers crossed) given how Bell and others lost their appeal in the Supreme court regarding Wholesale Internet. We will have to wait now and see if the CRTC will now force everyone to lower their rates.

    Here is a breakdown of internet plans eligible.

    Name:  Capture.jpg
Views: 52
Size:  52.7 KB
    Yeah when I first came across Shaw's $0/month unlimited nationwide calling and unlimited international texting... I had to seriously think about the pros and cons porting my two boys out of my old school Telus loyalty plan $70/month (unlimited national calling, unlimited international texting, unlimited calls to the US, 25 voicemail, 3 way calling, call control blah, blah, blah, blah... and 15GB data)

    Pros:
    Undeniably robust national and US coverage with hardly any dropped calls while driving around the GVA or pretty much any where else.

    Cons:
    Nothing much really...except for $70 perhaps?

    Shaw
    Pros:
    $0/month

    Cons:
    Well if you drop a call or emergency calls only... Oh well...just redial again as one shouldn't complain when it's $0/month.

    With all that said, both of my boys (12 and 10) don't frequent going around the GVA unless of course they're either with me or my wife other than that... they're 99% at school or at home.

    No brainer!!

    Ported both and just added the $10 (90 day rollover) for 1GB data since they have access to wifi pretty much everywhere. The data is there so they have access for those times with no wifi as they know it's only for looking up stuff, quick social media but absolutely no streaming as that 1GB will be gone in no time.

    So far... each manages to make it last the 90 days then I re-add again when it's gone.

    Also ported my mother in law from my Telus account to the $0/plan. Aside from adding $10 1GB (90 day rollover), I also added 5$/month for unlimited calls to the US.

    So tempted to port both my wife and myself over but for our jobs... We need reliability especially google maps and don't want any issues.

    But in the end... Both our boys and my mother in law have no problem including weak and or drop calls since it's friggin' FREE!

    Having both Shaw accounts (our home and my mother in law's) in my name... I'm allowed 10 sim/number accounts. 5 for each account under that address on the invoice.

    Used 4 so far out of the ten (2 boys, 1 mother in law and 1 brother in law) only thing was they had to pay a one time $20 activation for each sim/number.

    They said perhaps I should activate the remaining 6 at $20 each so that I can keep those sims/numbers as backup while it's still $0/month.

    Didn't have a need for 6 more numbers. I know it's just a matter of time before the $0 promo
    might end up being $15/month but even at that...can't complain at those prices



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    Last edited by QPhone; 03-06-2021 at 01:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QPhone View Post
    So far... each manages to make it last the 90 days then I re-add again when it's gone.

    Also ported my mother in law from my Telus account to the $0/plan. Aside from adding $10 1GB (90 day rollover), I also added 5$/month for unlimited calls to the US.
    How does the rollover work? Must you maintain the $10 month to keep your data bucket? Or can you cancel and the bucket will still be there, just add it when you think you might be needing (more)?

    Also, With the exception of Rogers, if you wish to use wifi calling, the other carriers limit (or block) access to wifi caling outside Canada. To get around this you need a VPN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GVRD777 View Post
    How does the rollover work? Must you maintain the $10 month to keep your data bucket? Or can you cancel and the bucket will still be there, just add it when you think you might be needing (more)?

    Also, With the exception of Rogers, if you wish to use wifi calling, the other carriers limit (or block) access to wifi caling outside Canada. To get around this you need a VPN.
    It's basically pay as you go. You pay $10 and the 1GB starts. If after 1 month you've used 250MBs...then the remaining 750MB is available for the remaining 60 days. If you didn't use any of it to right up to the end of 90 days, then those MB were wasted and that's it, no more data. If you want another 1GB (roll over 90 days) then pay $10 again. If you don't want it...then that's OK too because it does not auto renew since it's pay as you go/when you need it.

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    Last edited by QPhone; 03-07-2021 at 12:07 PM.

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