7-Eleven Speak-Out Wireless Prepaid Cellular

I noticed that 7-Eleven stores are offering their own wireless prepaid cellular handsets and service. Rates are good (CDN$0.20 for local calls, CDN$0.30 US/Canada long distance) for Canadian users. The expiration lasts for 365 days (which beats out Virgin Mobility Canada’s 120 day period). And the phone comes activated. However, there are some down sides: The service area appears to be much more limited than what other carriers offer for their tri-mode handsets (great if you’re staying near Toronto, Ottawa or Windsor, but not the thing to carry if you plan on a trip to Wasaga beach). The coverage map provided in their brochure only shows Ontario, so its not clear whether they provide coverage elsewhere (but I suspect they likely do in other large Canadian urban centers). They don’t tell you what the roaming surcharges will be or what they charge for non-North American long distance. Also, some of the disclaimers in their fine print may give pause – for example – “map may include areas served by unaffiliated carriers, and may depict their licensed area rather than an approximation of the coverage there” – this appears to say that you can’t even rely on the coverage area pictured in the brochure. Also, “coverage area may be subject to additional charges”, “many government entities impose reoccurring taxes and other fees that will be debited from your account as the law provides”. Speak Out also charges subscribers a $1.50 “911 emergency tax and regulatory cost recovery fee” which may change from time to time. Finally, while the service advertises a 365 day expiration period, the small print states that they may cancel your number if your account has no activity for 120 consecutive days. “A service activation fee and new wireless phone number may be required to reactivate service” – so while your $10 in calling credit is protected for 365 days, you may need to go buy a new phone for $65 in order to use it.