Last week I switched my girlfriend and I to Koodo Mobile, after almost three years of cheap, unlimited service from Mobilicity, then WIND. I’m not entirely thrilled with the decision, but it needed to be done.
If you didn’t know, in October of 2010 yours truly took a leap of faith and jumped from Fido to Mobilicity, instantly cutting my monthly wireless bill by almost two-thirds. But there were issues that came with my new service, chief among them the fact that I had no usable signal within the confines of my home. Inside, I made do by relying on Skype and Google Talk; outside, I got unlimited data and fairly good reception in exchange.
That is, until Mobilicity started throttling data. In their ongoing push for new customers they ended up punishing the ones they already had, presumably to ease the strain on their modest network.
Sometime during 2010 WIND had leased some space on a nearby tower, and by the end of that year I had made the move from Mobilicity to their network. But WIND too seems to have become a victim of their own, albeit limited success; here in downtown Toronto their data speeds have steadily gotten worse. Upload speeds in particular are now a cruel joke, regularly clocking in at around 100kps — that’s kilobits.
I could live with the urban-only calling areas, but I was clearly not getting my money’s worth from WIND’s supposed HSPA+ data. Thus began the hunt for a new provider.
The two front-runners in my search were Koodo and Virgin Mobile. Both offer pay-per-use or “flex” data add-ons, same as my hotspots from Rogers and Bell. The scales tipped in Koodo’s favour after I read about the company winning a recent customer satisfaction survey. So off to the nearest Koodo kiosk I went…
Koodo, if you didn’t know, is owned by Telus — as such, I was able to snag a coveted 416 number for my new service. And as I already have a pentaband 3G device, I’m eligible for a 10% discount off my monthly bill.
There was a slight hiccup in getting Koodo’s service working on my phone. For some reason they use a proxy server for data which, among other things, prevents my speed-testing app from doing its job. Fortunately, bypassing the proxy is as easy as removing it from your settings, as discussed here. Once removed, I get download speeds as fast as 20Mbps. I’m fairly certain that upload speeds are throttled, but I consistently get better than 1Mbps up, about the minimum requirement for video conferencing.
Long story short, I’m satisfied. There was no contract or connection fee bullshit, and I no longer have to worry about losing signal when I spend a day in the country. Koodo’s HSPA+ data seems plenty fast, and I look forward to experiencing their LTE speeds on my next device.
I really want Mobilicity and WIND to succeed but honestly, using their services made me feel less like a customer and more like a martyr. And though I’m now technically paying my monthly fees to one of the Big Three, I can at least take solace in this: Koodo was the pioneer of device tabs in this country, a much more transparent means of offering handset subsidies to customers.