Cell Phones

SpeakOut mobile browsing NOT unlimited, not even close -'Fair usage' = 2Gb MAX

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 26th, 2014 12:54 pm
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2011
138 posts
20 upvotes

SpeakOut mobile browsing NOT unlimited, not even close -'Fair usage' = 2Gb MAX

Hi all,

This is just a heads up for other SO users who may have not experienced it yet, as well as those considering switching to SO. I had my service disconnected, without prior notice, on November 14. I received the following messages that afternoon:

(438) 288-0531
YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE UNLIMITED BROWSING FAIR USAGE POLICY. THE FEATURE HAS BEEN REMOVED. YOU CAN VIEW THE POLICY IN TERMS AND CONDITIONS ON OUR WEBSITE.
Nov 14

(647) 725-2570
SHOULD YOU ATTEMPT TO RENEW THIS FEATURE AND CONTINUE TO VIOLATE THE FAIR USAGE POLICY, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE CLOSED AND ALL FUNDS WILL BE FORFEITED.
Nov 14

I called 611 for customer service to ask for an explanation. I was told I had exceeded 10Gb of usage… back in SEPTEMBER. I didn't dispute that. I told the female CS agent I thought it was unlimited. She told me usage was subject to a "fair usage" policy and that I had exceeded what was considered fair. I asked her what that was exactly, since I did not think 10Gb was excessive for a plan that is marketed as UNLIMITED. For context, WIND Mobile, which also has a capped data plan they used to market as UNLIMITED, only starts to throttle your speed at 10Gb (update: apparently WIND lowered the level at which they begin throttling to 5Gb).

The CS told me I could find it on their website. I told her I could not look it up on their website, as they had just disconnected my only immediately available internet connection. I asked if she could find it and tell me what it was, given the fact they'd just disconnected AND threatened to close my account based on that policy. She said she would look for it and get back to me. She took a LONG time to find it (the call lasted 28 mins). When she finally got back to me, she apologised for taking so long and told me she had a hard time finding it herself. Which is interesting, given that is a policy customers are assumed to know.

Long story short, she told me 2Gb is what the company considers fair usage, and that it reserves the right to suspend or outright cancel your service, and retain any remaining credit in your account, without notice.

So if you are like many SO customers who initially jumped in with a $100 top-up (using that promo where SO gives you an extra 20% on $100 top-ups), then only added the falsely-advertised unlimited browsing option, then had your account canceled for violating the ridiculously low "fair usage" cap in your first month, you would be out $100 or more.

How ridiculously low is that 'fair usage' data limit? When I told the customer service rep that I thought 2Gb was rather low to advertise something as 'unlimited', she herself was surprised to learn it was that low. Ba dum bum.

I suspect the real reason my account was suspended was because I had called a few days earlier, November 3, to ask how my balance had gone below $10, causing my unlimited browsing add-on not to automatically renew. I had barely used the phone after my $25 top-up in October. I asked the customer service rep to provide me with my usage details so I could compare it with my call logs. She started going through my details when the call was suddenly interrupted. Apparently someone monitoring the customer service reps' calls told her she was not allowed to provide me with my usage history.

I was then transfered to speak with the call monitor person, who informed me that customer service agents were not allowed to provide users with usage history. I told her I thought there was probably a legal requirement to provide customers with the details of what they were being billed for, especially if they were asking. I said I did not care to waste their time and would be happy if they could simply send me an electronic copy of my usage history. I was told they would not do that either. At that point I said I was pretty certain that charging customers without telling them what they were being charged for was illegal. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was repeatedly refused, with the call monitor person telling me there wasn't one available. I then asked where I could call to speak with one, and was told that I would have to leave my name and number and one would get back to me. When? Apparently their policy was to get back to customers within 5 business days.

To end this sad episode off and tie the November 3 and 14 calls together, I closed the November 14 call by asking the customer service rep if her records showed anyone had tried to call me back regarding my November 3 billing inquiry. She said it was indicated that someone was supposed to call me back, but no one had. Presumably they figured I was one of those diffucult customers - you know, one of the ones that wanted to know what they were being billed for - so they figured they'd rather cancel my account than tell me how I was being billed.

You stay classy, SpeakOut.
214 replies
Deal Addict
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Mar 2, 2008
1934 posts
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Toronto
This is the first of me hearing this, interesting...
Member
Dec 23, 2002
335 posts
14 upvotes
Toronto
htrab1 wrote:
Dec 2nd, 2012 4:00 pm
I was told I had exceeded 10Gb of usage… back in SEPTEMBER. I didn't dispute that. I told the female CS agent I thought it was unlimited. She told me usage was subject to a "fair usage" policy and that I had exceeded what was considered fair. I asked her what that was exactly, since I did not think 10Gb was excessive for a plan that is marketed as UNLIMITED.
Seriously, you paid $10 a month and you expect to get over 10GB a month.

If that's not blatant abuse of the service, I don't know what is. It's a unlimited browsing plan not a unlimited data plan.
Banned
Mar 23, 2012
773 posts
31 upvotes
Toronto
kc33 wrote:
Dec 2nd, 2012 4:45 pm
Seriously, you paid $10 a month and you expect to get over 10GB a month.

If that's not blatant abuse of the service, I don't know what is. It's a unlimited browsing plan not a unlimited data plan.
10$ for 10 gigs is NOTHING.

How much profit do you think they make on this? They are ripping off customers. 30$ for 6gigs is an atrocious rip off.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2011
138 posts
20 upvotes
kc33 wrote:
Dec 2nd, 2012 4:45 pm
Seriously, you paid $10 a month and you expect to get over 10GB a month.

If that's not blatant abuse of the service, I don't know what is. It's a unlimited browsing plan not a unlimited data plan.
Uhm, it's advertised as UNLIMITED, yet one should be expected to understand that means 2Gb max? That's the reason I gave WIND as an example. Their plan is not truly unlimited, since you do get throttled once you pass a certain amount of data usage, in their case 5Gb – 2.5X SpeakOut's 'fair usage'. And after you pass that amount, WIND throttle your connection to practically dial-up speed - useless for browsing, but at least you can still check your e-mail and use some basic information apps (bus schedules, directions, etc). So at least some aspect of the plan is unlimited.

SpeakOut's policy is both ridiculous AND draconian. 2Gb may have seemed like a lot back in the mid-90's when graphical web browsers were new, but that's not the case these days when the most novice user regularly up/downloads videos and photos. Yes, even some of SpeakOut's 'dumb'phones have browsers that allow you to use these basic features. Most carriers that advertise data plans have 'light usage packages that are 250Mb-1Gb, medium that are 1-3Gb and high that are 4-6Gb. The newer entrants like WIND, Mobilicity and PublicMobile all have 'unlimited' plans that may have some form of throttling after high levels of usage (see above)- and those are full data plans priced between $10-20 (Heck you can get unlimited everything plans between $20-30 with their Christmas deals).

No service provider so far has had the audacity to advertise 2Gb as 'unlimited'… AND claim the right to shut down a customer's prepaid account without warning or prior notice... AND claim the right to keep any remaining prepaid balance after shutting down said account without notice. That's just surreal.
Deal Addict
Mar 5, 2011
1061 posts
109 upvotes
I like fair is fair and you didn't ask for a definition of "fair use" upfront so you are stuck with the vagueness of "fair".
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Mar 11, 2011
442 posts
112 upvotes
Toronto
I think you were obviously doing a lot more than just web browsing. How can you possibly use that much data for web browsing? This is a marvelous service for those of us who just want to browse the web, but if people are going to use it for watching videos or downloading stuff, then the business model Speakout is offering will obviously collapse. After all, they are renting space on Roger's network. So realize that this is a UMB plan, not a DATA plan.

I will agree, however, that they should offer warnings and should make the 2Gig limit more visible.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2011
138 posts
20 upvotes
46jimbo wrote:
Dec 2nd, 2012 6:11 pm
I think you were obviously doing a lot more than just web browsing. How can you possibly use that much data for web browsing? This is a marvelous service for those of us who just want to browse the web, but if people are going to use it for watching videos or downloading stuff, then the business model Speakout is offering will obviously collapse. After all, they are renting space on Roger's network. So realize that this is a UMB plan, not a DATA plan.

I will agree, however, that they should offer warnings and should make the 2Gig limit more visible.
You're intentionally playing dumb, right? Browsers use data. Up/downloading any content through your browser = using data. That cap is on 2Gb of 'data' transfer. But if you have a magical non-data using browser, then my apologies. I stand corrected.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2011
138 posts
20 upvotes
Jimboski wrote:
Dec 2nd, 2012 6:51 pm
Go guys, Go complain and have the feature removed entirely. Then that's when people will start to complain for real.
I forgot to mention it in the OP, but the CS who told me that that the fair usage policy indicated a 2Gb cap also said the policy had been modified in the summer (June/July 2012). If I had to guess, given the time between the policy change and the time they started to enforce it (at least in my case, September), I believe Rogers have already planned to phase out the UMB option, much like Bell did for PC Mobile. If I had to guess, I would say sometime early next year, after the Christmas/Boxing sales period has ended.

The funny part is that instead of encouraging the incumbents to compete - lowering prices and increasing what we get for what we pay, the new mobile entrants and new third party resellers (like PC Mobile, and the company that resells Rogers under SpeakOut and PetroCan), have both increased their prices AND made their offering less attractive at the same time. Personally, I'm bailing on mobile data until we get real competition like they have in the US, where customers there are seeing the opposite of what we are here. Several national carriers there now offer unlimited data plans.

For now, I'll settle for WIFI at home and whenever it pops up while I'm on the road, and WIFI at work. It's not much different than what I had with SpeakOut, since there was little to no coverage in a number of areas on my commute.

UPDATE: Apparently The Unofficial 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless Canada Consumer Page which is supposedly independent of SpeakOut, deleted this post from their forum, the one that's titled "Reviews - Positive and negative reviews go here."

Oh well ;)
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May 8, 2009
43189 posts
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htrab1 wrote:
Dec 2nd, 2012 8:47 pm
I forgot to mention it in the OP, but the CS who told me that that the fair usage policy indicated a 2Gb cap also said the policy had been modified in the summer (June/July 2012). If I had to guess, given the time between the policy change and the time they started to enforce it (at least in my case, September), I believe Rogers have already planned to phase out the UMB option, much like Bell did for PC Mobile. If I had to guess, I would say sometime early next year, after the Christmas/Boxing sales period has ended.

The funny part is that instead of encouraging the incumbents to compete - lowering prices and increasing what we get for what we pay, the new mobile entrants and new third party resellers (like PC Mobile, and the company that resells Rogers under SpeakOut and PetroCan), have both increased their prices AND made their offering less attractive at the same time. Personally, I'm bailing on mobile data until we get real competition like they have in the US, where customers there are seeing the opposite of what we are here. Several national carriers there now offer unlimited data plans. For now, I'll settle for WIFI at home and whenever it pops up while I'm on the road, and WIFI at work. It's not much different than what I had with SpeakOut, since there was little to no coverage in a number of areas on my commute.

UPDATE: Apparently the The Unofficial 7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless Canada Consumer Page which is supposedly independent of SpeakOut, deleted this post from their forum, the one that's titled "Reviews - Positive and negative reviews go here."

Oh well ;)
Good luck with that, Have fun making the carriers change 3 year contracts to 2 years like In the US while you're at It.. :facepalm: .
Oh and back to the 2GB limit, You realize there was people who cancelled their ISP and used SO UMB as their internet right? That's totally fair for $10.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2011
138 posts
20 upvotes
The only people who would cancel their ISP to rely on SpeakOut's 2Gb capped, port-restricted, slow/compressed data are people who simply don't use the internet and have no need for an ISP to begin with. There is no ISP to my knowledge that has such restrictions.

And provincial governments have recently been forced to dictate to the wireless carriers terms to allow customers to get out of ridiculous contracts after receiving so many complaints. I think that more than anything speaks to the fact that we have no competition.

Hopefully more people start looking at their internet usage patterns and what they're getting for what they're paying and consider just dropping these ridiculous mobile plans all together. Music, movies, maps, etc can be downloaded at home (or at work if it's ok). In a pinch between home and work, there's always a cafe, fast food place, library, bookstore, etc nearby with free wifi. Looking at the new plans from the big 3 coming out - where calling and 6Gb of data are ~$100 before fees and taxes, I think people will start considering their options in times of ever-tightening personal budgets. More and more people are dropping their cable/satellite and watching TV shows and movies online and/or with OTA digital antennas. Funny thing is that it's the same big three who provide cable/satellite services and mobile (at least on Ontario and Quebec).

Personally, I enjoy not having service with any of them, directly or indirectly (Bell gets some from my ISP, thanks to the CRTC).
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May 8, 2009
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htrab1 wrote:
Dec 2nd, 2012 9:35 pm
The only people who would cancel their ISP to rely on SpeakOut's 2Gb capped, port-restricted, slow/compressed data are people who simply don't use the internet and have no need for an ISP to begin with. There is no ISP to my knowledge that has such restrictions.

And provincial governments have recently been forced to dictate to the wireless carriers terms to allow customers to get out of ridiculous contracts after receiving so many complaints. I think that more than anything speaks to the fact that we have no competition.

Hopefully more people start looking at their internet usage patterns and what they're getting for what they're paying and consider just dropping these ridiculous mobile plans all together. Music, movies, maps, etc can be downloaded at home (or at work if it's ok). In a pinch between home and work, there's always a cafe, fast food place, library, bookstore, etc nearby with free wifi. Looking at the new plans from the big 3 coming out - where calling and 6Gb of data are ~$100 before fees and taxes, I think people will start considering their options in times of ever-tightening personal budgets. More and more people are dropping their cable/satellite and watching TV shows and movies online and/or with OTA digital antennas. Funny thing is that it's the same big three who provide cable/satellite services and mobile (at least on Ontario and Quebec).

Personally, I enjoy not having service with any of them, directly or indirectly (Bell gets some from my ISP, thanks to the CRTC).
There were reports of people using 30 GB a month just for $10, Fair right?
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Feb 24, 2003
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UNLIMITED WEB BROWSING FAIR USAGE:

We want to ensure all customers enjoy optimal data usage on the network. SpeakOut Wireless reserves the right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred on the network and to deny or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone SpeakOut Wireless believes is using the SpeakOut Wireless unlimited web browsing Service in any manner prohibited by these Terms and Conditions of Service or whose usage exceeds 2GB per month]. SpeakOut Wireless may use your contact information to advise you of the application of these Terms and Conditions of Service to your use of the web browsing Service. If we determine that you are using the Service in violation of these Terms and Conditions of Service then, and without limiting any of our other rights pursuant to these Terms and Conditions of Service, we may terminate individual calls, data connections, unlimited web browsing or completely terminate your Service, decline to renew your Service, or offer you a different Service plan. If your service is terminated due to violation of these Terms and Conditions of Service, you may forfeit any unused balances including minutes, text and/or data.

http://www.speakout7eleven.ca/terms
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