Yesterday’s post on Virgin Mobile’s recent service changes elicited a useful tip from Shane and Million Dollar Journey: Check out Speak Out Wireless, which is offered through 7-Eleven convenience stores, along with Petro-Canada Mobility as an alternative to Virgin Mobile. Speak Out is roughly the same as Petro-Canada Mobility — both piggy-back on the Rogers wireless network and even offer some of the same phone models but any top up at Speak Out lasts a mind-boggling 365 days, compared to 180 days at Petro-Canada.
It turns out that Speak Out is currently running a “Back to School” promotion — $75 off any phone with the purchase of $100 of air time. As readers GSP and Novice points out, depending on your usage, it probably does not make sense to pony up for another new phone as a $100 top up with Virgin Mobile still lasts one year. So, for now, I’ve decided to keep the nicer and newer phone with Virgin Mobile but upgrade the older cell phone that seems to be on its last legs and decided on Speak Out for its long expiry period.
There are two minor drawbacks with Speak Out to be aware of: (1) Top ups can only be purchased at 7-Eleven stores and there aren’t many in the Ottawa area. (2) Compared to a flat 20¢ per minute with Petro-Canada, Speak Out’s rates range from 20¢ to 25¢. Depending on your usage, there may not be much difference between Petro-Canada and Speak Out and either could be a very good choice. Lots of information and feedback can be found in the forums on the Unofficial Speak Out Wireless webpage.
If you tend to call long distance via your cell phone, here’s a tip from reader Brad: get a travel card from Yak, which charges 8.5¢ for long distance within Canada via a toll-free number and 3.5¢ for calls through a local access number. Yak also offers a yakCell service, which allows you to call long-distance through a local access number without having to enter a PIN number.