Fido vs Koodo: Which Carrier is Best for You?


WhistleOut
26 January 2016

Both Fido and Koodo have some great plans if you’re looking to bring your own phone and save a buck or two, but which is better? Surely one of these two carriers must be cheaper than the other.

Actually, if you compare every single Fido and Koodo plan across every province, they’re all but identical. The only notable differences are in Quebec (QC), where Fido’s 5GB plan is hugely cheaper, and in Yukon (YT), in which Fido does not offer any plans.

The final difference is that Koodo has a 100MB plan with 200 call minutes; Fido’s products start at 300MB. Considering the general lack of popularity for 100MB plans, it’s safe to assume that not too many customers will find this a make-or-break distinction.

Neither carrier sells plans online for folks in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut. We did not focus on any limited-time promotions for this comparison.

Note: Fido updates its plans fairly regularly; if you're reading this after its publication date then any data might be outdated. Feel free to check out our dynamic phone plan search page for easy comparisons. Don't forget to select your province in the drop-down at the top of the page.

Stop! Before you get started...

Koodo and Fido utilize different network technologies. If you're bringing your own phone, which we assume you are if you're here, then you need to make sure it will even support service.

The two different technologies are called GSM (used by Fido) and CDMA (used by Koodo). These standards are generally known as "2G" technologies and are only used for voice and text these days, even then usually only when for when 3G signals are poor. Even so, if you want the best possible experience it's better to use the kind of network for which your phone was designed.

Try looking up your phone model online to see if it's compatible with GSM or CDMA. Some do both, but this is pretty rare.

GSM

GSM phones use a SIM card for 2G (voice and text), 3G (voice, text and internet), and 4G (high speed internet and VoLTE) operation. This is a small removable plastic card that stores the data needed to identify a subscriber on a wireless network.

The phone itself is not part of the authentication process; the SIM card handles all of that.

This is great news; you can remove the SIM from your current phone and insert it into another compatible device, provided it’s either with the same carrier or you’ve ‘unlocked’ it from its original network for use on another. Swapping the SIM means the new phone will operate over the same network with the same phone number.

GSM is common globally, and is used in far more countries than CDMA.

CDMA

Phones running on CDMA networks do not use a SIM card for 2G or 3G, but do still require one for 4G. Electronic serial numbers are used to identify subscribers for 2G and 3G. These serial numbers are coded in to the phones themselves, which creates a problem.

You will need to get your new provider to grant permission for your device to be given a serial number (and thus a working service line and phone number) on its network. This permission is not often granted.

CDMA is not nearly as common as GSM in global terms. Travelling with a CDMA phone may be difficult.

As for 4G and 3G, both carriers use LTE and HSPA+, respectively.

The plans compared

For this comparison, we focused on plans with no attached phone subsidies or tabs. These are strictly bring-your-own-phone (BYOP) plans.

Both Fido and Koodo have a large range of plans. The bigger ones tend to attract a little more attention, so let’s take a closer look at those.

'Standard Plans'

Across the provinces; Alberta (AB), British Columbia (BC), New Brunswick (NB), Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Nova Scotia (NS), Ontario (ON), Prince Edward Island (PE), and Yukon (YT) all have identical plan pricing for Fido and Koodo – with the one exception where Fido does not offer plans in YT. Let’s refer to these as the ‘Standard Plans’ for each carrier.


1GB
Unlimited mins

2GB
Unlimited mins

3GB
Unlimited mins

5GB
Unlimited mins

Fido
No-contract plans

$60

$70

$80

$95

Koodo
No-contract plans

$60

$70

$80

$95


Check out the 1GB plans Check out the 2GB plans Check out the 3GB plans Check out the 5GB plans

Identical prices with identical basic inclusions. The 100MB with 200 mins, 500MB with 500 mins and 750MB with 750 mins plans for both carriers paint the same picture.

MB and SK

Manitoba (MB) and Saskatchewan (SK) have the same pricing as each other, but differ when compared to the Standard Plans.

Foremost: they both jump straight from 500MB to 5GB. Interestingly, the lower-tier plans cost close to the same as their 'Standard Plan' counterparts in the rest of Canada.

What you really want to be looking at is the 5GB plan. In both cases, it is a significantly better deal than you'll get elsewhere in the country, and way cheaper per-MB than the smaller plans.


100 MB
200 mins

300MB
300 mins

500MB
500 mins

5GB
Unlimited mins

Fido
No-contract plans

$35

$40

$45

$48

Koodo
No-contract plans

$35

$40

$45

$48


Check out the 300MB plans Check out the 500MB plans Check out the 750MB plans Check out the 5GB plans

The huge gap in monthly inclusions between the 500MB and 5GB plans is pretty odd, but you can't argue with that price. For only $3 more you get around 10x as much data from either carrier.

Quebec

Like MB and SK plans, Quebec plans have a more-limited scope, but are better value than Standard plans.


1GB
Unlimited mins

2GB
Unlimited mins

5GB
Unlimited mins

Fido
No-contract plans

$40

$50

$60

Koodo
No-contract plans

$40

$50

$60


Check out the 1GB plans Check out the 2GB plans Check out the 5GB plans

Despite being worse value than the crazy 5GB plan in MB and SK, QC at least has a 1GB option for those that need more than a paltry 500MB, but don't want to spend big on a huge cap. The 2GB plan will suffice for most users, but if you can afford the extra $10 per month why not go big and hit up the 5GB plan? After all, you're still paying far less than you would almost anywhere else in Canada.

Being a special case, we'll also cover the smaller plans in QC.


100 MB
200 mins

750MB
750 mins

Fido
No-contract plans

$35

$38

Koodo
No-contract plans

$35

$38


Check out the 300MB plans Check out the 750MB plans

Once again there's no difference, so it's just down to who has the better reception in your area.

Who has the best coverage?

Cellular coverage is a tricky subject; each carrier has its own unique footprint and so each is strong in some areas and weak in others. While one might be considered the best overall by general user consensus, you might find its reception patchy or non-existent where you live or work.

Some carriers, Fido and Koodo included, are known as "Mobile Virtual Network Operators" (MVNOs). These are carriers that do not own or operate their own cellular network. Instead, they gain access to a network either through a parent company, or by 'leasing' access at wholesale prices. The end result is usually a cheaper plan, albeit with some restrictions like a lack of subsidized phones on plans.

The best idea is to determine what network a carrier operates over, then check their coverage map to see if the places you frequent receive adequate support. It's also useful to ask friends and family that are on the same network what their experiences have been like, keeping in mind that anyone with a super old phone will probably have worse reception than folks with newer ones.

Fido

Fido is owned by Rogers Communications, which is the parent company of Canada's largest carrier and network operator: Rogers Wireless. As such, you won't be surprised to find that Fido operates over the Rogers Wireless network.

This network is vast, with plenty of 4G LTE coverage in heavily populated areas and even more 3G and HSPA+ in less-travelled areas.

The Rogers Wireless network is GSM-based for calls and text when outside a 3G area.

Koodo

Koodo is owned by Telus; Canada's second-largest carrier. Thanks to this, Koodo has access to Telus' impressive 4G and 3G networks.

The Telus network is CDMA-based for calls and text when outside a 3G area.


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