The following is a review of Koodo Mobile based on my personal experience as a subscriber for almost 15 years (2009 to 2023).
If you want one of the latest smartphones at the lowest upfront cost (sometimes as low as $0) and financed interest free over the course of 24 months, then Koodo is a good choice.
Your service is almost entirely self-managed through your online account (done-for-you customer service is available for a fee), so if you’re comfortable with other online self-serve services such as online banking, utilities, CRA my account, etc., then Koodo is a good fit.
As is the case for most mid-level and discount providers, customer service can be quite poor for any issues that fall outside of the capabilities of their online self-serve tools. Call wait times are long, but you can schedule a callback through their chatbot. However, they will charge you significant fees if they have to take any actions on your account on your behalf.
On February 16, 2022, Telus throttled the data speed on new Koodo plans to 100 Mbps, advertising them as “4G” instead of “4G LTE”, where they had not previously been throttled and capable of speeds of up to 250 Mbps. New customers are still connecting to the same 4G network, but the data speed is throttled. Existing customers will continue to receive unthrottled 4G data speeds, unless they change to a new Koodo plan. This is likely a step toward pushing customers towards their 5G offerings which are faster and much more expensive.
Koodo is worth it if:
- You want a brand new phone
- You want to pay it off over time
- 4G speed up to 100 Mbps meets your needs
- You frequently travel to the US
- You can manage your own account online
Koodo is probably NOT worth it if:
- You already own your own phone outright
- You want family plan discounts
- Customer Service
- Put new phone on the tab
- eSIM available
- Bring your plan with you roaming
- Includes call display, voicemail, call waiting and conference calling
- Long hold times for phone customer service
- No 5G access
- No unlimited data plans
- Loyalty is not valued
- Call forwarding costs extra
|Parent company||Telus Corporation|
|Network access||3G, 4G throttled to 100 Mbps (no 5G)|
|VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling||Yes, Yes (optional)|
|SIM||Physical SIM, eSIM|
|SIM cost||$5 (eSIM $10)|
|Connection/activation fee||$50 (waived if ordering online)|
|Refer-a-Friend||$25 bill credit each for referrer and referee ($5 per month for 5 months)|
Koodo Mobile coverage map and network
Koodo uses Telus’ network, which is the largest 4G LTE network in Canada by a small margin over Bell since the two companies share the same network through a reciprocal network sharing agreement.
Network frequency bands
Koodo uses the following frequency bands:
- 4G LTE and LTE Advanced (LTE-a): 2100 MHz downlink and 1700 MHz uplink (AWS), 1900 MHz, 700 MHz, 850 MHz
- HSPA: 850 MHz and 1900 MHz (UMTS)
What is Koodo Mobile?
Launched in March 2008, Koodo Mobile is a mid-market mobile brand (MVNO) owned by Telus that offers postpaid and prepaid phone plans with 4G (up to 100 Mbps) and 3G (up to 3 Mbps) data speeds on the Telus network and wireless home phone services. It competes in the same market segment as Fido (Rogers) and Virgin Plus (Bell).
The brand name is a variation of the Ancient Greek word “κῦδος” (the source of the English word “kudos“), meaning “praise, renown, glory” and more recently “acclaim for something well done”.
Koodo’s success in its first year with its simple plan lineup and lack of carrier-charged system access fees, prompted competitors to mimic their monthly plans. Fido made changes on November 4, 2008, and Virgin in 2010.
Koodo launched Canada-wide plans on July 21, 2011 and they were again mimicked by competing brands. Virgin initially offered long distance as a $10 add-on on September 7, 2011, but reduced this fee to $5 about a week later on September 16, and removed it altogether on October 4.
All Koodo postpaid plans include:
- 4G data speed (throttled to 100 Mbps)
- Unlimited Canada-wide anytime minutes
- Unlimited messaging
- Call display
- Call waiting
- Conference calling
Additional data costs $13/100 MB.
New plans may only available to new customers
Koodo does not reward loyalty. Even though I’ve been a customer for years upon years, they won’t let you switch your plan to newer, better plans that are advertised to new customers Those plans are only available to new customers – giving their existing customers the short end of the stick.
New customers can get twice the data as existing customers. The only solution to this if you want this deal is to switch providers, and then switch back.
As stated on their website:
If you don’t see a particular plan you’re interested in, it’s likely because your current profile doesn’t qualify you, and you may be required to upgrade to a new phone on a Tab. The availability of rate plans depends on things like your Tab or any special promotions you received when you signed up.
Koodo’s “Tab” system reduces the upfront cost of getting a new phone by providing interest-free device financing. You can purchase a phone for $0 or low cost upfront and pay off the rest over the course of 24 months. It does require a credit check to qualify.
The total full retail price that Koodo charges for a new phone consists of 3 components, the upfront down payment, Tab and Tab Bonus:
- Upfront down payment: The portion of the phone’s full retail price at Koodo* that you must pay off up front.
- Tab: The next portion of the phone’s full retail price at Koodo* is paid off over the course of 24 months in equal monthly amounts. It is shown on your bill as a separate line item called the Tab charge and is subject to tax.
- Tab Bonus: The last portion of the phone’s full retail price at Koodo* that is ‘forgiven’ over time. The balance remaining decreases in equal monthly amounts over the course of 24 months. You do not actually have to pay the Tab Bonus off (it isn’t a line item on your bill) unless you cancel, upgrade or change to an ineligible rate plan before it reaches $0.
In effect, the Tab Bonus is a cancellation fee that decreases slowly over the course of 2 years It was formerly called the Phone Credit, Activation Bonus, or Activation Credit.
The Koodo Tab Bonus acts as a form of lock-in to get you to stay with them for at least a period of 24 months while you pay off your phone and the Tab Bonus penalty reduces.
The full retail price of buying phone through Koodo is equal to the sum of the 3 components:
Full retail price = upfront down payment + total tab charges + Tab Bonus
The cost is typically slightly higher than if you were to buy the phone outright from the manufacturer. See example below.
If you cancel your service or if Koodo terminates your Service Agreement in accordance with the Service Terms, any Tab balance plus the Tab Bonus balance (subject to any applicable adjustments) becomes due and payable. All other charges owing to Koodo for use of the service will remain due upon the termination of this Agreement. The remaining Tab balance and Tab Bonus balance will be calculated based on an equal monthly reduction over a 24-month period.
Tab cost example
For example, at the time of writing, the MSRP of the Pixel 7 Pro costs $1,179 (plus HST) from the Google Store.
If you buy the phone through Koodo on a Tab Plus, the total cost is:
Full retail price = upfront down payment + total tab charges + Tab Bonus
= $429 + $792 + $160
This is $42 (3.56%) more than if you had purchased the phone directly from the Google Store at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP):
|Component||Tab Plus||Tab Mid||Tab Basic||Retail Price|
|Upfront cost (downpayment)||$429||$861||$981||$1,381|
|Tab charge per month for 24 months||$33 x 24 = $792||$15 x 24 = $360||$10 x 24 = $240|
|Total paid for phone||$1,221||$1,221||$1,221|
|Pixel 7 Pro Retail Price (Google Store MSRP)||$1,179||$1,179||$1,179||$1,179|
|Minimum plan cost required||$60||$60||$33||$33|
And here are the tabs for the Pixel 6a:
|Component||Tab Plus||Tab Mid||Tab Basic||Retail Price|
|Tab charge per month for 24 months||$25 x 24 = $600||$15 x 24 = $360||$10 x 24 = $240|
|Total paid for phone||$600||$600||$600|
|Pixel 7 Pro Retail Price (Google Store)||$599||$599||$599||$599|
|Minimum plan cost required||$60||$60||$33||$33|
Comparing the two phones on Tab Basic, the numbers work out as follows:
|Tab Basic||Pixel 6a||Pixel 7 Pro|
|Total tab charges||40%||19.56%|
|Savings compared to MSRP||0%||-3.56%|
For the Pixel 6a, the Tab Bonus cancellation fee starts at 15.5% of the cost (MSRP) of the phone and reduces to 0% over the course of 24 months in equal amounts and does not actually make the phone any cheaper than buying it outright from Google. The only benefit is smoothing out the cost of the phone over time.
For the Pixel 7 Pro, the cancellation fee starts out at 13.1% of the cost (MSRP) of the phone and also reduces to 0% over the same duration, but the phone is actually 3.56% more expensive when purchased through Koodo compared to buying it outright from Google. The only benefit is smoothing out the cost of the phone over time.
These early cancellation penalties are steep and really psychologically lock you into a 2 year contract – the maximum allowed by the CRTC.
Koodo Mobile family plans
Koodo does not offer discounts or data sharing for adding family members to the same account. However, they make it easy to add additional lines to your account so you can managed multiple phone plans under one login and monthly bill.
All plans include Shock-Free Data, which means that Koodo will send you a text message letting you know when you’ve reached 50%, 90%, and then 100% of your monthly data limit. At 100%, they pause your data and you can send a text back to buy more.
As per the CRTC’s Wireless Code, service providers must suspend data overage charges once they reach $50 within a single monthly billing cycle, unless the account holder or authorized user expressly consents to pay additional charges.
Pick Your Perk
- Rollover Data – This doesn’t work like you might think it does. Unlike at other providers such as Eastlink where your rolled over data gets used first during the next billing period, Koodo uses the rolled over data LAST – only after the regular plan data for that month has been used. It is probably the furthest thing from rollover, that can still be called rollover. The rolled over data is only kept for 1 month before it expires. It also isn’t accessible while roaming.
- Visual Voicemail – Listen to voicemail audio files in your phone app in any order without calling your voicemail inbox.
- Speed Boost – Telus limited data speed on new Koodo plans to 100 Mbps on February 16, 2022. Speed Boost bumps the limit up to 200 Mbps download speed, but the speed you get will depend on your device, location and network traffic.
- Unlimited Long Distance Pack – Unlimited calling to the U.S., China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Bangladesh and the U.K. from Canada.
- Unlimited International Texting – Unlimited send and receive texts from Canada.
I personally don’t find any of these perks to be worth their cost per month or the requirement to subscribe higher cost plans.
Koodo Mobile phones
If you want the latest and greatest, they’ve got it.
Koodo carries a wide range of phones, from the latest phones from Apple, Google, Motorola, TCL and Samsung, which at the time of writing, this was the iPhone 14, Plus, Pro and Pro Max, Samsung S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.
They also have affordable, mid-range phones available such as Pixel 6a, Samsung Galaxy S10, iPhone 11 and certified pre-owned phones at the time of writing.
Bringing your own device
You can bring your unlocked device to Koodo, all you’ll need is one of their SIM cards. Most carrier-unlocked 4G/HSPA phones will work on the Koodo network. They have a phone checking tool to verify compatibility.
|Add-on||Cost per month|
|Extended Warranty (AppleCare+)||$7 to $15|
|Instant Voicemail (MMS)||$3|
|International Long Distance Saver||$5|
With Koodo’s Easy Roam add-on, you pay a flat fee per day to use your phone as if you were at home – using the same data, minutes, and texts included on your monthly plan. Phone calls to numbers in Canada and your destination country are included.
Once Easy Roam is enabled through self-serve, you’ll only be charged for the days you use minutes, texts or data while out of the country. You can leave your phone in airplane mode to avoid getting charged.
|Destination||Cost per day after March 8, 2023||Cost per day before March 8, 2023|
|International (200+ destinations)||$16||$15|
Maybe a little on the pricey side, with the prices increasing on March 8, 2023, I found Easy Roam to be very convenient and stress-free on a recent trip to Las Vegas and San Francisco as I could use my phone the way I would normally and didn’t have to worry about my usage. On days that I would have WiFi access most of the time, I turned on airplane mode to prevent the charge for that day. But be careful, if so much as a kilobyte of data is downloaded from Koodo, you’ll be charged the full daily rate.
Pay-per-use roaming rates are available, but are so expensive ($1.60/min, $10/50MB) to convince you that the daily Easy Roam rate is a comparatively good deal.
The transition from streaming wars to cable bundles 2.0 has begun.
Telus and Koodo customers can purchase “Canada’s first” bundle of the following streaming services for $25/mo:
- Netflix Premium
- Apple TV+
with any Koodo plan. This is 20% off based on the regular prices of Netflix Premium $20.99, Apple TV+ $5.99 and discovery+ $4.99.
You can use your existing streaming accounts by linking them to your Koodo or Telus account.
Self serve portal
Koodo provides a self-serve online portal. You’re able to manage your account and perform almost all the most common functions relating to your phone plan through their website, including: account activation, managing plans and add-ons, roaming, changing your personal or payment information and more.
VoLTE and WiFi calling
VoLTE and WiFi calling are available on the Telus network. iPhone 6 or newer, Pixel 3 or newer, as well as recent Samsung Huawei, LG, Motorola, TCL phones are capable.
Testing with SpeedTest.net and Fast.com, Koodo’s 4G LTE data download speed was 82 to 91 Mbps. Note that since I haven’t changed my plan in years, the speed cap of 100 Mbps applied to new subscribers to Koodo Mobile’s 4G plans on February 16, 2022 does not apply as consumers on the company’s older 4G LTE plans do not have a speed limit. And yet, my speeds are still below 100 Mbps:
If you need help, you can read through their help pages (which are pretty thorough in my experience), message the Koodo Assist chatbot for suggestions (not that helpful) or post your problem to the Koodo Community message board. If you’re still having trouble, they do still provide customer service over the phone, but will charge fees to do certain actions for you:
|Service||Fee if postpaid||Fee if prepaid|
Their customer service representatives were reasonably helpful in the few times I’ve had to call over the years, but the wait times were long and having to pay for their just-okay help is kind of a punch in the gut – especially when, in my opinion, we were only calling because the self-serve website wasn’t working properly.
For activations and SIM cards, Koodo Mobile has its own retail stores (see their store locator), sells its services through Telus stores, WOW! mobile boutique and Mobile Klinik and also allows third parties to sell and activate phones and plans: Best Buy, Loblaw Companies, Walmart, and London Drugs stores in Canada provide Koodo products and services. However, a $50 activation fee applies to activations that are not done online.
Koodo’s pay-per-use rates and fees for calls, data and texts including long distance that fall outside of your plan.
Koodo Mobile alternatives
- Fido – a direct competitor owned by Rogers
- Virgin Plus – a direct competitor owned by Bell
- Freedom Mobile – the 4th most popular network in Canada (not one of the Big 3) with solid prices, but coverage outside of cities is lacking
- Public Mobile – a sibling brand and fellow Telus subsidiary and provider of discount bring-your-own-phone plans
Frequently Asked Questions
Which network operator owns Koodo Mobile?
Public Mobile is owned by Telus Corporation.
Is Koodo’s network coverage good?
Yes, Public Mobile customers connect to Telus’ network, which is the largest 4G network in Canada covering 99% of Canadians. Customers get good reception almost everywhere.
Does Koodo have 5G?
No, Koodo does not offer service on a 5G network. However, they do sell 5G-capable phones.
Can I tether my phone and create a hotspot?
Yes, you can tether your phone to create a mobile hotspot.
Can I port my number to or from Koodo?
Yes, you can transfer your current phone number to Koodo by letting them know during the sign up and activation process and giving them your number. They will handle the transfer by contacting your previous provider on your behalf.
To take your phone number with out when leaving Koodo, contact your new provider and let them know you want to transfer and they will handle the transfer by contacting your previous provider on your behalf.
How to sign up for Koodo?
- Go to their website.
- Shop for a phone plan or a phone + phone plan.
- Enter your personal information and payment method to buy a Koodo SIM card and create an account.
- Once you receive the phone and/or SIM card, insert the SIM into the phone and follow the instructions to activate.
Note: A credit check is required for all new postpaid plan customers, but not required for prepaid customers.
How to cancel Koodo?
As per the CRTC’s Wireless Code, you can cancel your monthly subscription at any time by notifying your service provider. To cancel, contact Koodo with the date you want the cancellation to be effective. Otherwise, cancellation takes effect on the day that the service provider receives notice of the cancellation.
To do so, schedule a call back using Koodo Assist or call 1-866-995-6636 or 1-855-205-2112, Monday to Friday 9 AM to 9 PM and Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to 7 PM EST.
For postpaid plans, you’ll have to play any outstanding bills and charges on your account, including any Tab and Tab Bonus balances still owed.
To contact Koodo or get customer support:
- Store locator
- Phone: 1-866-995-6636 / 1-855-205-2112, Monday to Friday 9 AM to 9 PM and Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to 7 PM or schedule a call back through Koodo Assist
- Chat: Koodo Assist
- Forums: Koodo Community
- Mailing Address: 60 St Clair Ave E, Suite 400 Toronto, ON M4T 1N5
Note: Fees may apply you may request of them which can be done through their self-serve portal.
Reviews have not been good as of late. Koodo Mobile has a 1.22 rating on sitejabber and a 1.3 rating on TrustPilot and a 3.6 on PlanHub, primarily complaining about the chatbot (the company used to have a human chat), unexpected roaming fees and poor customer wait times.
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