Over Before it Began

Posted by Garth on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I just realized that I haven't provided any updates on the Amp'd situation since I was considering jumping on board. Well, suffice it to say that I did. Overall the service was alright. Voice was mediocre compared to Rogers (specifically elevators and underground areas). Data was fast. The Q was really fast compared to the Dash. Note that all of this is past tense. This is because I got an email yesterday at 4:32pm which read as follows:

Dear Customer,

The Amp’d Mobile Store at 355 King Street West will be closing its doors on Monday, July 30, 2007.

Your Amp'd Mobile phone service will remain uninterrupted. If you have any technical issues, account inquiries or wish to speak to someone about your Amp'd Mobile handset or service, please call *611 on your Amp’d Mobile phone (it’s a free call) or call 1-877-611-AMPD (2673) to speak to a Client Care representative.

Your Amp'd Mobile handset continues to be covered by a 1-year manufacter's warranty. For assistance, please call *611 on your Amp’d Mobile phone (it’s a free call) or call 1-877-611-AMPD (2673) to speak to a Client Care representative.

If you have purchased an Extended Protection Pack, extended warranty service can be obtained by contacting Waves Wireless Communications Ltd.. They can be reached at 1-866-541-9924. For further details, please refer to your copy of the extended warranty contract.

Once again we appreciate your business and apologize for any inconvenience.

The Amp’d Mobile Team

It's extremely suspect that this mail went out at 4:32 on the day in which the email indicates that the store is closing (which it probably did at 5pm). Note also that their King Street store is the only storefront for Amp'd in all of Canada. Which means, that even though they assured me that Amp'd US bankruptcy would not affect them, they lied. In fact, it would seem that there's a lot of lying that's been going on. Let's list all of the lies, shall we:

1. Amp'd Canada is independent of Amp'd US, and the issues that Amp'd US is having will not affect Canada.

This is obviously a big fat lie, as is indicated by the closing of their only store on the same day that Amp'd US suspended service.

2. Tethering via USB or Bluetooth is supported.

This is a huge one. They told me repeatedly before I signed on that I would be able to use my phone as a modem and rock EV-DO speeds on my laptop when there's no WiFi around. Lies. I never got this to work. I called support and spoke with a very knowledgeable person at one point who told me that this was not possible and sent me an email to confirm with contents copied from an internal support document. And I quote,

"Differences with TELUS Motorola Q:
Tethered Connection is NOT available for the Amp'd device i.e. users cannot use the device as a modem."

I forwarded this email to my "contacts" at Amp'd, and they assured me that they had escalated internally and were doing everything they could to come to a resolution. However it is now obvious that since they were on the verge of closing up shop I was at the bottom of (if even on) their list of priorities.

(As an aside, I'd like to point out that I feel this entire post is a waste of time since the company no longer exists, but I also feel like this needs to be documented for the annals of history, and because I'm pissed.)

3. MMS is supported.

Obvious lies, especially when my friend sent me some MMS pictures. Following is the email I sent to Amp'd on the heels of this (since I'm too lazy to paraphrase it):

So I finally got ahold of Amp’d support today, and they told me that “pda phones don’t support MMS”. Now, this is obviously a restriction of Telus as can be seen here:

In fact, if you go to and select Canada then look at specs, no MMS. If you select US at the same page and look at specs, MMS. Now, I’m fine not having traditional MMS, but I’d still like a way to send a picture message to a friend’s cell phone, even if it’s via an email gateway of some sort. Does Amp’d/Telus offer such a thing? Secondly, the webpage that you need to visit to see picture messages sent to you is problematic for 2 reasons:

1. The sms that gets sent points to, which the Amp’d support guy told me is wrong. It should just be and your regular login. This informational message should really be fixed.
2. The website is not only useless on the Q (i.e. it’s not designed for a mobile browser, nor does it redirect to a mobile-friendly site), but when you log in it actually crashes Pocket IE. So basically if a friend sends a phone-to-phone picture message, I have to go to a PC to view it. And because I can’t tether my Q it means I also have to find a wired/wifi internet connection. Doesn’t this defeat the whole purpose of picture messaging?
This was never resolved, however they did say that they were "going to forward your message to a couple of the more technical guys upstairs and get a response and then we can go through proper channels of escalation." Nothing came of this, save for a few back and forth emails which led nowhere.

4. Free SlingPlayer Mobile client with contract.

Big. Fat. Lie. They gave me a coupon code which was supposed to let me obtain a free SlingPlayer Mobile client (retails for about $35 CAD). The first time I tried this code it reduced the cost by $4.50. So "free" became $30.50. I emailed them about this, and a week or so later got a new code. This new code discounted the price by $5.25. More emails. About a week after this, Sling was having a promo where they were giving away the mobile client. Nicely, Amp'd told me this and recommended that I download the client using this promo as opposed to waiting for them to sort out the coupon code issue. Well played, Amp'd... well played.

So, that's the end. The end of my complaints, and the end of Amp'd Canada it seems. I've sent one last email to my contacts there to see if they can provide some insight into what's going on, but I don't really expect a response, nor do I expect them to offer anything valuable even if they do. I expect that they're waiting in line to collect pogey as I write this. I'm currently out of the country but am going to follow up with *611 and Telus when I return to see wtf is going on and try really hard to get out of my contract. If the Amp'd services (like their TV and Radio channels) have vanished, this shouldn't be too hard. And with all of the shit I've been wading through over the last month I expect I'll at least have one leg to stand on. Two might be pushing it though, given the CCCC and their underhanded means.


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