My Review of Koodo Mobile as a Cell Phone Provider

My Review of Koodo Mobile as a Cell Phone Provider

Koodo Mobile Review

As of December 2017, I’m back using Koodo Mobile as my cell phone provider. I had been with Koodo Mobile before, pretty much from the day they opened back in 2008. I can’t remember what deal they had at the time, but I was looking into getting away from Fido, and Koodo showed up just in time. Both of us actually, had signed up with Koodo upon their inception in Calgary.

So yeah, I was on Koodo, then I switched to Mobilicity (nightmare, good riddance), then to Freedom Mobile (known as Wind Mobile at the time), then to Public Mobile, and now I’m back on Koodo Mobile. It’s been quite the trip. I figured it might be fun to put together some information on using Koodo Mobile in Calgary in case anyone had any questions. Picking a cell phone provider can be such a pain, hopefully this will make it a little easier.

Koodo Mobile has been in business since March 17th 2008.

  • As of December 2018 I am still using Koodo Mobile! Not a single issue since I signed up!

Koodo Mobile Fast Facts:

  • Has retail stores, call centers, social media and forums for support.
  • No contracts.
  • Telus company, uses the Telus network.
  • Sim cards are $15 each.
  • They have a phone trade-in program (get credit towards a new device by trading in your old one).
  • Cheapest plan with no data is $30/mo. Cheapest plan with data $45/mo.
  • They have both pre-paid and post-paid plans.
  • Often has competitive promotions and deals.
Koodo Mobile

So I wanted to put a photo of a Koodo Mobile store here but it turns out I don’t have one. Well, with a little Photoshop and a lot of imagination, look at that, there’s a Koodo Mobile in Calgary store.

Koodo likes to set itself apart from the other cell phone providers in Canada, but having bounced between a few of them, they really aren’t all that different. They’re Telus, just wearing a different hat. The same goes with Public Mobile. Each of the discount brands (Fido, Chatr, etc) all like to pretend they’re not the big guys – but they’re totally the big guys. Shaw’s Freedom Mobile is perhaps the only outlier in Canada which I would consider not to be one of the big guys, although they are in their own right in other markets.

My Switch from Public Mobile back to Koodo Mobile

In December of 2016 you might remember Public Mobile coming out with an amazing data promo. 4GB of LTE data for $40/mo, with unlimited provincial talk, and unlimited global text. Other providers were charging $60 and up for this, so it was a smoking deal at the time. I switched from Freedom Mobile to Public Mobile in a heartbeat. Freedom sucked at the time (they’ve since released LTE) so I was happy to do so.

Public Mobile was for the most part, flawless. My switch to them was automated, I had no issues, and my service worked immediately. At the time I even scored a free sim card from them. I never once had to speak with them on the telephone, however I wish they did have that option. There was an issue I had with a referral credit, but their customer service members took care of it. Note: to get assistance from someone at Public Mobile, you need to make a post on their forums. They have no call center, no Facebook or Twitter support, and no retail locations.

So I was paying $40/mo for 4GB LTE and I was happy. Then, Koodo Mobile introduced a smoking deal. 10GB LTE, for $60/mo. Unlimited nation wide Canada/US calling, unlimited text. This deal was only available for a couple of days, so I jumped ship.

Rather than switching it myself, I went into a Koodo Mobile retail store in Calgary. I went to the one located downtown, within the Core shopping center. It was painless enough, I explained I had previously been a customer and would like to sign up again. Buddy created a new account for me and signed me up. At the time it was painless and straight forward. My service started working immediately and everything was good to go.

It turns out there were issues with the account. Long story short, my old account and my new account both had the same e-mail address. As you can imagine that caused their system to go bananas and resulted in me having to spend 25 minutes on the phone to the Koodo call center to get it fixed, but eh, could be worse.

Koodo Mobile: How is the Network?

Well, because Koodo Mobile is owned by Telus, as a Koodo customer I use the Telus network, which is quite decent. Telus has a nation wide network that reaches far into the Rocky Mountains, The change over from Public Mobile to Koodo Mobile was completely unnoticeable. Service is still strong everywhere I go, including in elevator shafts and in basements. I haven’t really found any frequent dead spots with the network. I’ve even used it while camping in the mountains of Waterton National Park! It was so cool, laying there in my tent (as it was raining), playing on twitter and living vicariously through other peoples lives on Instagram.

Koodo Mobile network

The Telus network has been solid for me. As you can see, it pretty much completely covers Calgary and the surrounding area.

Benefits of being with Koodo Mobile?

I think the best thing about using Koodo as your mobile provider, other than being on the Telus network, is that they have retail stores and a call center of real people to speak with if shit goes sideways. Call centers are awful at the best of times, but when you don’t have even that to reach out to during struggles, it can be very frustrating. Imagine your parents on Public Mobile (their only customer service is through their community forums). “yes mom, you’ll need to go to the forums and make an account. Then make a post in the right forum, or send a message to one of the moderators. No I have no idea who the moderators are, you’ll have to look. No, look on the site. Okay. Okay yes I’ll just do it for you”. Shudder.

  • They have retail stores you can go to in person!
  • They have nation wide customer service over the phone, through e-mail, and over social media.
  • They sell devices directly, which you can get on a tab (like a contract).
  • Cheap U.S. rates if you need to use service while traveling down south.
  • If you do have issues, their customer service will take care of you.

Both of us were actually with Koodo Mobile originally, and we both have had ups and downs while being customers of theirs, but after everything is said and done they’ve taken care of any overage charges, or had no problem dishing out credits if things went sideways. As a matter of fact, through a chain of events I came across an e-mail address belonging to the VP of customer service (I have no idea what his current title is. Same probably?). We’ve been e-mailing back and forth for years directly.

Koodo Mobile Plans

Koodo Mobile has the usual list of basic plans you would expect from a cell phone provider, but also comes out with deals and new promotions frequently. If you bring your own device (BYOD) you’ll get slightly better rates than buying a device from them directly. I’d suggest following https://mobilesyrup.com to keep up to date!

  • Cheapest plan: BYOD $30/mo. Unlimited text messaging, 500 minutes.
  • Most expensive plan: On the large tab, $124/mo. 10GB of data. Includes unlimited text messaging, unlimited Canada/US wide calling.

If you are thinking of switching to Koodo, I would wait until they drop a new promotion. They seem to come out every few months with something worth switching for, but they don’t last long. I had something like 2 days to decide if I would be switching. In my opinion their normal every day offerings are too expensive.

You can pay for your service in person at a Koodo kiosk, online with a credit card, or by setting up automatic withdrawal. Their billing is prorated, so you’ll be paying for your first two months on your first bill. Don’t be surprised!

My plan details: $60/mo

  • 10GB 4G/LTE data per month.
  • Unlimited Canada wide talk.
  • Unlimited global text.
  • Voice mail, call display, call waiting, unlimited picture messaging.

10 gigabytes of data is actually a bit of overkill for my needs because I have WiFi at home and Shaw Open while out and about, but hey I’d rather have more and not need it than less with constant frustration. Koodo Mobile also has something called “shock free data” where they send you text messages letting you know what your data is at. 50%, 90%, 100%. Once you hit your monthly limit they’ll disable data entirely, until you pay for an addon (if you want to). No more “you went over your data limit by 300mb here’s a $750 bill” situations.

Using Koodo’s data calculator, even with everything maxed out, the monthly usage is just barely over my 10GB limit. I think I’ll be okay for a long time with this amount, however I wish it was a little cheaper. Typically I use something like 2-3gb per month if I’m being conservative and using free WiFi as often as possible. Mostly I just hang out on Facebook, Twitter, reddit, Instagram, and send lots of e-mail. Nothing too crazy.

Koodo Mobile in Calgary Data

10GB a month for $25. That’s what I think is reasonable, but, that’s just me. Canadians tend to get hosed when it comes to paying for mobile data. Sucks! We should be leading the world, not playing catch up. The only reason we’re paying so much is because they can charge that much. We need some kind of mobile carrier revolution.

Even with 10 gigs a month to work with, I’m still afraid to stream YouTube videos while using data haha.

Koodo Mobile Roaming Plans and Long Distance

Roaming can be super expensive! It can cost you thousands of dollars if you use too much data while traveling, which you might not even find out about until you get home. Koodo Mobile actually has really decent pricing on their U.S. and international packages, but you’ll need to plan ahead to get the most out of them.

They have what’s called “Easy Roam”, where you simply just use your regular cell phone package while abroad. So if you get 10GB/mo, unlimited calling to Canada/U.S., that’s what you’ll have to use – if you pay the daily fee. $7 per day in the U.S. and $10 per day elsewhere.

Here’s a screenshot of their roaming rates as of February 2018.

 

Koodo Mobile in Calgary Easy Roam

U.S. roaming includes:

  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Mainland
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

International roaming includes:

  • Bahamas
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Germany
  • India
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • UK (Englang/Wales/Scotland/Ireland)
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • + many many more

To see the full list of countries eligible to work with Koodo’s Easy Roam package, click here. There’s also several countries which aren’t included, make sure to check those out. A few examples would be Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Nepal, Uganda, Falkin Islands, etc. Also, cruise ships are not included.

In addition to Easy Roam, they also have regular long distance rates, packages, and addons you would expect from a phone provider.

  • $3/mo – International Long Distance Saver add-on.
    • This monthly fee gives you access to cheaper long distance rates per minute.  The rates you pay per minute are drastically reduced.
      • Without this addon, calls to the U.S. are $0.50/min.
      • With this addon, calls to the U.S. are $0.05/min.
  • $10/mo – U.S. 1000 Minutes
    • 1000 anytime minutes (note: some restrictions on which numbers you can call)
  • $15/mo – China & Hong Kong 1000 Minuutes
    • 1000 anytime minutes.
  • $20/mo – U.K. 1000 Minutes
    • 1000 anytime minutes (note: some restrictions on which numbers you can call)
  • $20/mo – France 1000 Minutes
    • 1000 anytime minutes (note: some restrictions on which numbers you can call)
  • $20/mo – India 1000 Minutes
    • 1000 anytime minutes. (2¢/min applies when 1000 minutes are exceeded)

Without an addon, or a package that includes roaming/long distance, it’s a small fortune. Set this stuff up ahead of time! Unless you’re just going to buy a local sim card once you reach your destination.

Here are the rates for the U.S. without any kind of addon or discounted rate:

Voice rate (per minute) $1.50
Data $5/20 MB
Outgoing SMS $5/100 outgoing texts

Goodbye money.

Koodo Mobile Speeds in Calgary

These are the 3g speeds offered by Koodo Mobile in Calgary. I used a server from Shaw Communications, and one from Telus to test with. The 3g speeds are actually pretty decent, if you’re looking to save data. When I was on the 4gb/mo package with Public Mobile I would limit myself to 3g speeds in order not to burn through data too quickly. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and e-mail all worked perfectly fine for me. Even YouTube videos would stream without buffering. Quite usable!

Koodo Mobile 3g Speed test
Koodo Mobile 3g Speedtest

These are the 4g/LTE speeds. As you can see, no issues with speed. Everything loads very quickly and my connection has never ‘magically’ dropped once.

Koodo Mobile LTE

Koodo Mobile speeds

As you can see, no issues with data speed with Koodo Mobile. I used my One Plus One 5 phone to run these tests. I have used my service as both a portable WiFi hotspot, and tethering, and had no issues with either. I’ve had no issues with their service no matter which type of phone I’ve used.

Buying a device: what is the Koodo tab?

Koodo knows people want new phones, and they have this program called the ‘tab’ which is basically an interest free loan that’s used towards the cost of a device that you pay back over time, at a maximum of 24 months.

  • Tab small – $10/mo: $240 towards price of phone.
  • Tab medium – $15/mo: $360 towards price of phone.
  • Tab large – $21/mo: $504 towards price of phone.

There is no discount for paying for a phone this way, you’ll just be paying the same amount over a longer period of time. If you decide to leave Koodo before your payments are up, you’ll simply need to pay off the remainder of the cost for that device. Easy peasy.

Device Protection

Do you drop your phone a lot? Are you a total klutz? They offer extended warranties and Apple Care+ at various amounts per month, depending on the model.

  • $9/mo – Android
    • Replacement devices shipped next business day.
    • Covers liquid damage.
    • Service fee of $25 – $315 per replacement (depending on device).
  • $7-$14/mo – iPhone Apple Care+
    • Cost depends on device. Newer models cost more. Duh.
    • Express replacement service by Apple
    • Coverage includes 2 incidents of accidental damage. $129 services fee each time. Plus taxes yay!

In order to sign up for device protection, you’ll need to visit an actual Koodo Mobile store in Calgary (or any other authorized Koodo Mobile dealer). There they can give you all of the details on prices and such.

Even though Koodo Mobile has your back, I totally recommend a decent phone case. Otter Box cases are the best, and they aren’t too expensive either. They’re built with an inner and an outer case using solid plastic that secures tightly around the device.

You get the idea. Phone cases are something you really get what you pay for with. What’s $30 on a case when it’ll prevent your $800 from breaking if you drop it on the bathroom floor? A wise investment. They do however have some downsides. The most obvious thing is your phone is now larger and thicker (lulz). As well, taking the Otter Box off to replace the battery or sim card can be quite a pain in the ass. If you don’t ever need to do that, sweet.

Refer-a-friend

Koodo Mobile also has a refer a friend program, with details that are pretty typical for these programs. If you sign someone up using your referral, you’ll each get some kind of bill credit. At this moment in time it’s $50 to you and $50 to your friend that signs up.

Existing Koodo customers can go to https://referafriend.koodomobile.com and create a unique referral link, which can be shared to Facebook and someone can just sign up using that. Note: the person signing up will be able to see the full name of the person inviting the referral. Play carefully!

Wireless Home Phone

Another option Koodo Mobile has is a landline that uses their network. It’s basically a little wireless modem that you plug a traditional home phone + a SIM card into, and it’ll provide you with service at home. This would be a good option for someone that lives way out in the boonies but still has access to the Telus network – and for some reason wants a landline. I mean, if you have access to the Telus network, why not just use your cell phone? I dunno. Different strokes.

Koodo Mobile Wireless Home Phone

$5/mo for unlimited Canada-wide calling is pretty good, however if you’re going to get something like this, a Magic Jack is only $40/year. Koodo’s wireless home phone service would work out to be $60 for the first year. After that the price goes to $20/mo. That’s $240/year for a home phone. Ouch!

Magic Jack also comes with the first year of service included. It’s not exactly the same thing, it requires regular high speed home internet (It’s a VOIP phone, it works over the internet), but it’s pretty close. Depends what you need I guess!

Click here to see all of the information regarding Koodo Mobile’s wireless home phone service.

Cell Phone Accessories

Amazon is probably the best place to pick up accessories for your phone, be it Android or iOS. Memory Express is pretty good too, keep an eye on their daily deals and annual sales. Hard to beat the Amazon warranty though.

Should you switch to Koodo Mobile?

Yes, if a good promotion comes along. The Telus network is fast and solid, Koodo’s customer service is decent, and their prices aren’t too crazy with the right promotion. I have never had a regret using Koodo Mobile. The only reason I switched away in the first place was to save some money.

See my other mobile phone provider blog posts here:

Authored by: Crackmacs

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