Broken phone? It can be fixed!

Things are changing here at Walco Radio! We have new partners, and a line up of new products to better serve our customers! You spoke and we listened.

Cellular Repair

Our customers work hard and play hard. Things get broken in the process. Don’t worry, we are here to help. After years in cellular, we know your devices better than anyone. So cell repair is a natural fit! Bring your damaged phone to us for repair. Pricing can be found here. Device not listed? Give us a shout and we can let you know if we can do the repair!

Most repairs cost less than $100!

Come check out our new products and services today!

 

Speculation on the iPhone 7

Rumors and speculation have already begun with respect to the new iPhone. As technology lovers, we are excited for the newest developments in the iPhone series.
We’ve been reading sources like MacRumors and CNet for possible ideas on the iPhone updates. Generally, these sites have consistent ideas as to what will be new and hot on the 7, which is expected to drop this fall.
As the iPhone 6 had a major body overall, the 7 is expected to be roughly the same in terms of general dimensions. However, the camera is likely to be flush with the body. Further the antenna bands are predicted to be around the top and bottom of the device (1). Another speculation is the addition of a second lens to increase camera performance (2).
While the screen size is expected to be maintained, the new iPhone is expected to be even thinner. Speculation contends that this will be achieved through removing the 3.5mm headphone jack. With the removal of the headphone jack, headphones will either have to be connected wirelessly or via the lightening jack (3).
Other sites have suggested possible improvements such as different construction materials resulting in higher durability, and water resistance (4). Two things our customers would definitely welcome!
While these are just rumors, we have no doubt the new iPhone will continue the legacy of innovation and exceptional quality.
We will be sure to keep our customers posted on all the newest devices available from Telus. Looking forward to the fall!

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/S6KA2NhF5_g

1 http://www.macrumors.com/roundup/iphone-7/
2 http://www.cnet.com/products/apple-iphone-7/
3 Supra note 1.
4 http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/iphone-7-1303990

Bundling Services with Telus

Looking for super-fast internet? Loving Netflix but can’t miss a game? Need a new phone? We’ve got it all.

Optik TV:

Telus offers awesome features with Optik TV. One major perk is full integration with Netflix, allowing you to watch your favorite programming on all your devices, while ensuring parental controls via user profiles. Telus is also your source for premium sports, including channels such as NHL Centre Ice and NFL Sunday Ticket.

Internet:

Recently we wrote a blog post on Telus Fibre. This amazing new technology provides the fastest internet service available, making a switch even more tempting. Current internet plans range from $30 to $50 per month.

Add-ons also provide a little something special for Telus internet customers. Unlimited Data allows for unlimited data usage, for those who really love their streaming! Wifi plus is another great add-on which increases your wireless coverage in your home with a booster.

Bundling Products:

Bundling is the best way to experience all the savings Telus has to offer! Right now you can save up to $100 on any new smartphone on a 2-year term when you:

  • Add a new Mobility service to your existing Home Services, or
  • Add a new Home Service when upgrading to a new smartphone

Still wondering what we can do for you? Come in to Walco today and we can discuss the most cost efficient way to obtain all your services!

Telus: Sonim Rugged Devices

Our phones are our constant companions, joining us in work and play. More often than we’d like, this results in serious damage to the device. Screens break, buttons stop working, coffee ends up everywhere. This is even so for people with desk jobs.Sonim-en-overview

For people who work in industry these problems are only magnified. However, to date, there have been very few ruggedized options in the smartphone line. Enter Sonim. Sonim Technologies is a US company manufacturing super endurable devices.
Through Telus, Walco is proud to carry two of these devices. The XP6 and XP7.

Key features of these devices include:

  • Android Operating System;
  • Gorilla Glass touchscreen for use with wet or dirty gloves;
  • Magnetic charging port for water and dust resistance;
  • Super loud speaker and noise cancellation for use in loud environments;
  • 3 year warranty including accidental damage;
  • Push to talk (like a radio!);
  • 4 to 16 GB;
  • Insane battery life- 16 to 40 hours talk time, up to 1000 hours standby.

Talk about a work phone!

Telus Fitness Wearables

Telus is promoting health this spring. It’s February, which means that 64% of people have already given up on their New Years’ Resolutions.[1] Rather than getting discouraged, why not find a new way to get motivated!

Everyone knows it is difficult to go from the couch to a marathon runner. Rather than setting extreme goals, it may be easier to start with an understanding of your baseline and move forward in realistic steps. Wearable technology is a great way to do this.

First, wear the new device for a period of time while maintaining your current lifestyle. Data obtained can give you a sense of your current activity and health levels. For example, devices like the Fitbit Charge track how many steps you are taking, how much you are sleeping and your calories burned.

Second, enjoy the ‘Hawthorne effect’. Under the Hawthorne effect, an individual improves their behavior due to the knowledge of being observed. Thus, as wearable devices raise awareness regarding your level of activity; this in itself causes an increase in activity. In fact according to Fitbit, “users take 43 percent more steps than they did before they bought one.”[2]

Third, develop a realistic strategy based on your current level of fitness and where you aspire to be. If you are walking 2,000 steps a day, set a goal of 3,000 steps. Many devices also allow you to set alarms and alerts once you have been sitting for a specific amount of time.

Finally, devices track other information that is useful to your general health and wellbeing. The Fitbit Charge tracks sleep and allows for a vibrating alarm. Food logs are also available for maintaining information regarding caloric intake. For runners, you can log runs and map out routes. There is also a community aspect to many devices, allowing for increased motivation through healthy competition and support.

Regardless of your current health status, information is power. These devices are a great way for you to understand the current state of your activity, and take the first steps towards improvement.

As a Telus dealer, Walco is proud to offer a number of these devices. We are also happy to discuss which is right for you.

Basic Tracking

Fitbit Flex:

  • Tracks – steps taken, calories burned, hours slept, distance traveled, active minutes and quality of sleep.
  • Battery life- 5 days
  • Compatibility- Android and iPhone

Advanced Tracking

Fitbit Charge:

  • Tracks – steps taken, calories burned, hours slept, floors climbed, active minutes and quality of sleep.
  • Manual Tracking- log food, workouts.
  • Battery life- 7-10 days
  • Features- call display
  • Compatibility- Android and iPhone

Tech Savvy

Samsung Gear Fit:

  • Features – real time information on workout, interactive, interacts with phone features such as messaging and calls.
  • Battery life- 3-5 days
  • Compatibility- Samsung

Fashion Forward

Misfit Shine

  • Tracks- walking, running, swimming, cycling, soccer, tennis, basketball etc. Also tracks sleep.
  • Battery life- 6 months.
  • Compatibility- Android, iPhones and Microsoft

 

[1] http://blog.telus.com/our-customers/blog-post-1-ready-tech-go-wearable-fitness-and-new-years-resolutions-how-to-stay-fit-and-reach-your-goals-in-2015/

[2] http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/gear/wearables/wearable-tech-gadgets/

Smartphones Offering Innovative Compliance with Electronic Logging Device Requirements

New electronic time logging rules are coming into force in the USA for the trucking industry. As many Canadian vehicles cross the border, Canada is already forming similar mandates. The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) stated:
The U.S. is expected to put an ELD mandate at some point in 2016, while in Canada the Canadian Trucking Alliance…has been working with the Canadian government and the provinces to focus efforts leading to a similar proposal in Canada while meanwhile addressing all the technical issues with manufacturers and legislative officials with such a proposal. [1]
This requirement is expected to decrease citations for hours of service violations by 40-75%. [2] Electronic tracking is more accurate, more difficult to falsify, and records may be viewed immediately.
BC Trucking noted a 2006 Transport Canada report stating: [3]
• ELD technology was readily available;
• paper log falsification is relatively high;
• ELDs can contribute to road safety;
• ELDs represent an improvement over paper log books;
• privacy concerns can be managed; and
• ELDs will level the playing field.
However, there are fears that ELD may be expensive and difficult to implement.
As these changes are also occurring in the USA, mobile device app development has begun to tackle this problem. Recently the CTA cited an article from the Commercial Carrier Journal regarding Apps like BigRoad, which track and record driver’s hours and location. [4,5]
As most people already have mobile devices, this offers a neat and cost effective solution to meet the new requirements.

[1] http://cantruck.ca/elds-are-coming-to-a-truck-near-you/
[2] http://cantruck.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/EOBR-ELD-Cost-Benefit-Final_public.pdf
[3] http://www.bctrucking.com/node/11699
[4] http://cantruck.ca/smartphones-apps-utilized-for-low-cost-eld-compliance/
[5] http://www.ccjdigital.com/photo-gallery-low-cost-elds/?pid=2007

Communications Monitoring Report 2014

Last month, the CRTC issued the annual “Communications Monitoring Report” (the “Report”). This Report primarily contains statistics on the relationship Canadians have with communications products and services. This includes, TV, Radio and Telephone (both mobile and land line).

The Report outlines many points we believe may be of interest to our customers:

  • The vast majority of mobile users are on post-paid services. At Walco we sell pre-paid cards and administer postpaid contracts (where customers are billed monthly). Moreover, pre-paid services continue to decline in popularity, while post-paid services grow.[1]
  • Roaming charges are chiefly accrued in the USA. Specifically, 54% of data usage, and 73% of voice roaming.[2]
  • 54% of postpaid consumers have contracts of over 2 years. This of course will change as old contracts expire and renewals are completed under the Wireless code.[3]
  • Canadians sent 531 million text messages each day, for a total of 194 billion text messages last year.[4]
  • Market share of service providers was divided as follows: Rogers 34%, Telus 28%, Bell 28%, Other 5%, and New Entrants 5%. [5]
  • At present only 11% of handheld devices in use by British Colombians are considered Advanced Devices (i.e. a device which supports text, internet, email and video.) BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have the highest number of Advanced Devices.
  • Pricing for Canadian wireless services ranged greatly and did not fall much outside the norm for international standards. Pricing for ‘average use’ cellular contracts is roughly 4$ more per month than the next country. However, pricing for ‘low use’ cellular contracts is 5$ less than the highest priced country.[6]

As can be seen, the mobile world is changing very quickly. More people are moving to ‘advanced devices’ and as a result using more data features. More people are committing to contracts instead of  using ‘pay as you go’ devices. Text messaging is becoming more and more prevalent as a preferred form of communication.

On a global scale, Canadians are quite similar to other countries in terms of their appetites for mobile communications. Furthermore, Canadians are primarily served by the ‘big three’ and obtain pricing within reasonable range to other nations.

At Walco, we are excited to be a part of a growing and changing industry!

The report can be found at: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/PolicyMonitoring/2014/cmr.htm.

[1] Report, page 210.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Report, page 211.

[4] Report, page 212.

[5] Report, page 213.

[6] Report, page 285.

A+ for Telus on the Wireless Code ‘Report Card’

As a Telus dealer, we know all about the Wireless Code, and the many changes it implemented in cellular contracts. However, as a consumer, you may not be aware of the Code and how it impacts your cellular service.  As the Code has once again become a news item, it seems a good time to discuss it and what it means for you.

The CRTC created the Wireless Code in an effort to better regulate the relationship between cellular users and providers.  It was introduced in December of 2013 to new contracts.  Further, it will apply to all contracts, regardless of signing date, as of June 3, 2015. Consumers likely will have noticed some of the following key changes:[1]

  • Cancellation fees prohibited after two years;
  • Roaming notifications, including rates;
  • Limit of $100 for data roaming per month, unless customer consents to more charges;
  • Devices must be available to unlock.

While these are some of the more obvious amendments, there are many other changes to how cellular providers interact with their customers. The primary focus of these changes being the protection of consumers from contractual unfairness and high fees or penalties.

Recently, the CRTC implemented a ‘report card’ to assess the progress of implementation for the Wireless Code.[2]  This report contains an outline of the requirements, and those who have failed to meet them.

This report is valuable to consumers in terms of understanding what providers have made the Wireless Code a priority.  For example, presently Telus is the only major service provider who is fully compliant with the Wireless Code.[3] Further, it grants an easy to read checklist of the primary points of the Wireless Code, which is rather long and may be somewhat confusing for those unfamiliar with cellular contracts.

As mentioned above, the Code will require full compliance for all contracts as of next summer. It will be interesting to see if compliance is achieved for all providers before then. Further, it is important to spread the word on these changes to those who will be affected by the Code within the next year.

For more information on the code, visit the CRTC website.

Questions? We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

 

[1] http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/info_sht/t14.htm

[2] http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/rp140918.pdf

[3] http://www.techvibes.com/blog/crtc-issues-first-wireless-code-report-card-2014-09-19

How Boosters Work

At Walco, our customers are constantly battling to obtain sufficient signal in remote locations. As discussed in our previous post, Telus is working to increase towers in remote locations to boost signal. However, many areas still suffer from this problem. This is part of why cellular boosters are a common requirement in Canada. However, there is a limited understanding of what these devices can do. People purchasing a booster may be disappointed with the results due to this lack of understanding.

Here are a few key things to know about boosters:

1)      Work with what’s available

Boosters are aptly named. They boost signal. If there is no signal, the booster will not work. Thus, it is key to identify a location in your vicinity that has some level of signal consistently. If this cannot be located, a booster will not offer a solution to your problem.

The level of signal available dictates how wide a coverage area will be created by the booster. If 5 bars can be located, the range of the booster will be much greater than if there are only 2 bars. It also dictates how powerful a booster may be required.

A booster has a set amount of amplification power, rated in decibels. In theory, an increase of 3 dB amounts to double power. However, many factors affect signal and amplification. Nevertheless, it is important to know the level of signal you are working with prior to purchasing a booster.

2)      Antennas, Antennas, Antennas

Antennas are required to transmit signal. Therefore, it is not surprising that antennas are required for boosters. Actually, two antennas are required, one inside and one outside.

For outside antennas, there are two main options. First, is an omnidirectional antenna, which receives and transmits in all directions. This is best suited when receiving some signal from multiple towers.  Second, is a ‘yagi’ or directional antenna. This antenna does not cover as much area; however, it receives and transmits for a much greater distance in the chosen direction. This is best suited when receiving signal from one tower.

Inside antennas broadcast the signal inside the building.

Another feature of antennas to keep in mind is minimum separation. For 50 dB in building boosters, a separation of at least 40 feet must be maintained. This is to prevent feedback. The booster itself does not need to be separated from the antennas, just the antennas themselves.

3)      Other Factors

The amount of signal you obtain from a booster is dependent on many factors including frequency, strength of signal outside, and building construction. Factors relating to building construction include the number of walls, and the construction materials used. This is an important consideration when determining where to place a booster or antenna.

4) Summary

Increasing signal can be a complicated affair. At Walco, we have a great deal of experience assisting people with determining the best product for their needs. Drop by or give us a call if you have any questions about Wilson or Smoothtalker boosters and how they can help.

Telus: Expanding Coverage in British Columbia

British Columbia is known for its beautiful mountains, while this is great for photos; it poses special challenges for cellular service providers. As part of the Connecting B.C. Program, TELUS is working to improve connectivity along several highways in B.C.

As noted in a statement made by Telus:[1]

TELUS has already installed sites covering over 770 kilometres of highway, and expects to turn on at least 30 additional wireless sites by the end of 2014. TELUS is working to secure appropriate sites and permits for dozens of additional sites on highway corridors across B.C. that will be complete within the next five years.

  • New wireless services now cover previously un-connected stretches of highways in BC with significant new coverage on Highway 1, 16 and 97.
  • More than half of all 911 calls today are made on wireless phones, making rural highway connection an important public safety enhancement.

As a Dealer working with those living and working in areas across B.C., we are excited to be a part of this expanding coverage. An attached map lists the new areas of cellular coverage for our customers to enjoy!

Telus Map

[1] http://about.telus.com/community/english/about_us/for_our_customers/connecting_bc_program/partnership_details/expanding_cellular_coverage