Choosing between Virgin Mobile and Koodo for your BYO phone plan might seem like a big task, but it's fairly straight-forward once you know the numbers and a few more details about each provider.
Really, it comes down to which has the better cell service in your area, and there are a few ways to figure that out. But first, you need to pick a plan.
Both offer a similar range of plans with comparable inclusions. Canada-wide (CW) calls on all plans, unlimited weekends and evenings, and unlimited messaging within Canada.
To make things easy, plan pricing is identical, as are call, text, and data inclusions.
Virgin does have one ace up its sleeve: unlimited worldwide text and unlimited picture messaging to the US from Canada. Koodo's messaging is restricted to within Canadian borders.
1GB is about as close to a standard entry point as the mobile plan industry has. This will get you some moderate daily usage, but still try to steer clear of things like YouTube, or music streaming services. You'll also want to make sure any updates or downloads happen over WiFi.
2GB is where you can start to breathe a little easier. Occasional music streaming is fine, as are smaller app updates and downloads.
3GB and up is for people that use the internet heavily every day. If you're one of these people you probably know that you are, but still beware of HD video streams and some mobile games.
These plans are for people that don't, or rarely use the internet. If you have mobile broadband switched on at all, you will need at least some form of data cap. Notifications for web apps use data, as does GPS and quite a few other background operations.
100MB is the absolute least you could get by with if you have a smartphone with mobile broadband switched on, but you're better off going higher, even if you never actively use the internet when out and about.
500MB will get you some very light, occasional browsing and social media usage. 750MB slightly more, but still be careful and keep an eye on the meter.
So which do I choose?
Once you've picked the plan size you want, it's time to start looking at reception. Virgin is owned by Bell, and operates over the Bell network. Likewise, Koodo is owned by Telus, and operates over the Telus network.
Don't make your decision based on which network is bigger overall, or general ideas you have about either that you think you heard somewhere... sometime.
There are two methods you should use when trying to gauge if a carrier will be good for you, in terms of service coverage.
- Check coverage maps. Take a look at maps of both the Bell and Telus networks, and compare them to your home, your work, and any places you frequent.
- Ask friends, family, and coworkers, but make sure you get information regarding coverage around your home, work, and anywhere else you go regularly. If your friend lives a thirty minute drive away, there's a good chance their household reception has nothing to do with yours.
If either carrier one comes up overwhelmingly-positive in the areas you frequent, then that's probably the right one for you. If both are fine, then go with whichever one you want; there's minimal risk.
Remember: as BYO, Koodo and Virgin plans do not carry a long-term contract. Each works on a month-to-month basis, so you can switch provider any month you choose and all you have to do is pay the activation fee when you start on the new carrier; $15 for Virgin, $5 for Koodo.
If you'd like to compare more BYO cell plans, check out our WIND vs Koodo, WIND vs Virgin, Fido vs Virgin, WIND vs Fido, and Fido vs Koodo articles. Alternatively, you can compare all BYO cell plans using our search & compare tool. Be sure to pop your province in up the top, select how many minutes and how much data you want, and off you go.