Part 4: Assimilation
Much like clearNET and Fido decades before, a new crop of upstart Canadian carriers launched in 2010 to shake up the wireless status quo. First out of the gate was WIND Mobile, with a high-profile launch in December, 2009. Public Mobile, a smaller regional player operating in Ontario and Quebec only, lit up their first towers in May, 2010. The third new operator was Mobilicity, whose Toronto network went live that same month.
I signed up for Mobilicity to trial their network that October, and chose an Android handset to do the job. At launch, Mobilicity’s offerings from Nokia were too pedestrian. And BlackBerry? Been there, done that. I had seen T-Mobile’s G1 (the first-ever Android device) two summers before on the N97 24/7 tour, and followed the rising popularity of the Android platform through the first half of 2010. By the time I bought my first Android device I pretty much knew what I’d be getting into.
Were it not for Android I probably wouldn’t have stuck with Mobilicity through the next year and a bit. For the entirety of that period their signal was so weak in my home that I couldn’t take phone calls. This would have been an instant deal-breaker just a few years prior, but in the age of Skype, Google Chat and mobile VoIP clients I could make do. And once outside the concrete walls of my abode the service was generally great.
Putting up with a weak signal in my condo cut almost two-thirds off my cell phone bill — or to put it another way, Canada’s incumbent telcos had been overcharging me for years. Here’s a breakdown of what I was paying Fido just prior to switching:
- $45 – City Fido voice plan, 3-year contract
- $30 – 6GB data, on a separate 3-year data contract
- $15 – call display, voicemail, 300 Canada-wide SMS
For a grand total of $90 CAD per month. The Mobilicity plan that I signed up for included the following:
- Unlimited North America-wide voice calling;
- unlimited global SMS;
- unlimited data;
- call display, conference calling & voicemail.
All for an insanely low $35 per month, with no contract. It was almost too good to be true.
And now that you understand how I came to be in the possession of my first Android device, this final section of my mobile memoirs will detail how I came to be a full-time Android user.