First off I just wanna say that I'm not 100% sure if this is the right place to post this but here it goes.
I purchased a Bell Curve in May. I was excited that it had WiFI and was reassured by a rep that when using wifi I can never incur any charges or overages and that I don't need to be within a Bells serviceable area to use the wifi for internet access.
The device is now disconnected from the account temporarily and account placed on suspension temporarily while home with new baby until I am back to work again. I still wanted to use it as a little web browser around the house but that's when the fun ended.
After much reconfiguration, head scratching, swearing, googling and more swearing I have come to the conclusion that No, Wifi is not always free to use and you DO need to be within reach of a tower to use the internet (even with wifi running and connected)
Many articles found through my endeavor to gain working wifi have surfaced some grim information about how Bell Mobility sets these devices up.
Firstly, you need a data package for the browser, chat apps and anything to work at all. Wifi is not enough. It still tunnels through blackberry's servers. Articles suggested set browser up for "hotspot" use instead. Ok so I did that. No luck getting web access. Searched for option to prioritize mobile networks. Missing. Googled it. Option exists in plain view in "Mobile Network Options". Not on Bell's version though. It's defaulted to use the Cellular Data connections. This is impossible to change on this device due to that option being missing.
Downloaded and installed Opera Mini. Great! It works!!! Sometimes...
Sometimes it refuses to use the wifi. the wifi indicator is usually dim-lit indicating wifi is on but not being used for data. Ran diagnostics. Unable to ping wifi gateway, unable to ping other pc's on network and only able to ping blackberry device itself successfully. Let it sit and eventually the wifi indicator lights up bright meaning active. Open opera and try surfing.. nope!!! Nothing! It's still looking for the tower. Reboot phone, swear some more. Constantly manually reconnect and eventually I get net access. Sometimes for only 1 minute, sometimes for an hour.
I set the router, security and everything up to blackberry's recommended settings, tried other wifi devices on my network with no issues and at the end of the day, the wifi on the blackberry is not a guaranteed functionality. You NEED a data package.
Ok that's fine. It's a phone. Not a laptop.
Herein lies my problem.
They advertise the device as having free wifi. It's only half true. You see, half-way through a youtube video the stream stops and wifi diagnostics show everything is running perfectly fine but the phone is no longer "using" the wifi and unable to ping wifi router again. It's tunneling through data connection again except with no service it fails and eventually lets me use the wifi again after many reboots and manually connecting. I even turned off the Mobile Network radio to avoid it trying to use the tower for net access. Same thing.
Specifically the warning is this. If you plan to purchase a Bell Mobility Blackberry device and may need to rely on wifi to conduct business when out of service areas such as when traveling and staying in hotels, keep data costs down when streaming media at home or wish to use public hotspots for data you are unfortunately out of luck!! The firmware is engineered to omit the options that allow you to set wifi as the prioritized mode of connection. The firmware is literally engineered to force you to need an active cellular data package and even if you have one you can and will still burn up data when using wifi. When streaming video this gets scary because its typically 1mb of data per minute.
Rogers, Telus, Sprint, Verizon etc etc all have the software capability to use wifi worry-free. Bell removed that option.
A $500 dollar phone that still doesn't do what it's advertised to do.
Now.. the second reason I am posting this is..
Have any of you encountered this and had to deal with Bell on the issue? I haven't contacted them yet about it because I want to have as much evidence as possible before going after them to rectify the situation. My goal is to get out of the contract and purchase devices with Rogers instead because I know their Curves can still use wifi flawlessly and it's a matter of principle. It's almost the same as Ford saying any unleaded gasoline will power the engine but secretly omitting code in the engine's computer that allows it to use any gas other than that provided at time of sale and making you get gas from that same company that provided fuel to the factory.