Fido vs Public Mobile - Or "why nobody ever recommends Fido anymore"

For the life of me, I can't tell whether the person/committee who designed the current Fido prepaid plans was:

  1. Actually hoping to pull a fast one on unsuspecting consumers who walk into a legitimate-looking store and assume they won't be brutally taken advantage of and/or fleeced.
  2. Creating poor pre-paid plans so that if contrasted against their post-paid ones the post-paid would seem more palatable.
  3. Not intending to actually sell anything, but creating plans so that Rogers could meet technical requirements set out by the CRTC that had to be implemented by July 14 2021. Then burying them in junk plans to reduce the chance they're utilized.
  4. Intending something else less obvious.

How bad are the Fido plans? Let's stack them up against the Public Mobile options so you can see for yourself:

Fido vs Public Mobile (prepaid plans)

Fido doesn't even give a lick of data until their $55/month plan.

Fido doesn't give unlimited Canada-wide minutes until the $60/month price point.

Fido's top $70/month plan is actually worse than Public Mobile's $35/month plan.

These prices are, quite frankly, unacceptable. Rogers (the parent company) should be ashamed of themselves - this reflects badly on the Fido brand and on Rogers as a whole.

For reference, where Fido charges $60/month for Canada-wide talk, to get unlimited Canada-wide talk on prepaid plans offered by other providers: Public/Lucky/Chatr/Koodo/Virgin/Telus/Bell=$25 - Freedom=$29 (if in a Freedom City, $24).

For reference, where Fido charges $55/month before you get any data, to get some form of data on prepaid plans offered by other providers: Public/Lucky/Chatr=$25 - Freedom=$29 - Koodo/Virgin/Telus/Bell=$30 - Rogers=$50. To exceed the 750MB of data Fido offers for $55/month, the competitors range from $29-40 with Rogers clocking in at $65.

Keep in mind that Fido is not a premium brand, but is a lower tier 2 brand - there is no excuse for them getting beaten out by every carrier including the Tier 1's.

This time around the comparisons will be a bit shorter, simply because Fido is almost universally a terrible value proposition for prepaid in Canada with very minor exceptions.

The Fido yearly/annual plan

The CRTC mandated that the Big 3 implement 3 specific plans with minimum requirements by July 14 2021. One of these plans is a $100/year prepaid offering with 400 anytime local minutes and 400 SMS text messages.

Rogers appears to be meeting this requirement via their Fido brand, and as you can see, they have done the bare minimum here. So no special points for having a $100/year plan since they've literally done the bare minimum they're allowed to get away with.

Where Fido makes more sense

...against Public Mobile? The prepaid plans offered by Rogers and their off-brands (Fido/Chatr) have roaming and long distance available to more countries than most of the competition. Since Public Mobile roaming is limited to the USA and PM long distance is limited to about 41 countries, Fido does have a leg up here. Fido also has phone/chat/FB/Twitter support as well as store locations, where PM does not.

That said, since Fido doesn't offer VoLTE or VoWifi for prepaid plans, the only benefit they have over Chatr (Rogers tier 3 brand) is 4G data. But since you only get 1-2GB for your $60-70, you'd probably be better off with Chatr's 3G anyway since 3G decreases the chance any videos you watch immediately choose high-bitrates that burn through your data quickly and Chatr has substantially better value otherwise.

Compared to the main Rogers brand, Fido trades a couple blows here and there, but ultimately you have to dig into the details of precisely what you need to see which makes more sense.

Where Public Mobile makes more sense than Fido

Nearly every circumstance where you don't need the ability for customer service over the phone/live or in-store, and don't need long distance or roaming to countries that Fido supports and Public Mobile doesn't.

Other Fido mentionables

Fido top-ups expire - some in 30 days, though top-ups do extend the expiry date of unused funds. While Fido claims they'll give a grace period of 7 days after your anniversary date to restore any expired balance, obviously keeping a large degree of unused funds on Fido carries some risk.

Fido has 2 auto-refill options: A Low Balance option that will automatically top up any time your balance falls below $1 or is about to expire, and a Recurring option that charges you for the monthly plan and/or monthly addons on their due dates.

Fido does have addons, though they're all of the $X/month variety and get you data, texts, or cheaper long distance rates.

Short version: Fido or Public Mobile?

Public Mobile. Only choose Fido if you enjoy being ripped off, or have a really weird edge case requirement (for example if you need to use the Rogers network or Rogers LD/roaming setup but find Chatr offerings are insufficient).

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