Koodo Mobile is a Telus-owned cellular provider that offers two kinds of budget plans:
- Prepaid: Where the subscriber pays their cellular bill in advance and paid-after-usage.
- Postpaid: No-contract plans.
The big advantages of Koodo’s postpaid plans over its prepaid service are Tab Balance, and the kinds of available phones.
What is a Koodo Tab Balance? (Only Available for Postpaid Plans)
Koodo offers its postpaid customers the option to purchase phones on credit, or a “Tab”. Tabs allow customers to lease-to-own phones with payments divided into 24 monthly installments with each payment reducing the balance remaining. You can completely pay off your Tab Balance whenever you like, except within the first 90 days.
Koodo’s high-end phones come with higher monthly payments on Tab Balances. The lower-priced plans and the availability of cutting-edge phones make Koodo a tantalizing option for a younger, less-affluent audience.
Also, while Koodo’s pre- and postpaid plans are technically contract-free, there’s a catch: its Tab program is a contract in all but name. For example, qualifying for a Tab Balance requires a credit check. Even more like a contract, for those who fail to make payments, Koodo hands over unpaid balances to a collections agency.
Another issue with Tab is that if you fail to pay your Tab Balance, Koodo suspends your account while continuing to issue charges. If you resume payments, Koodo charges a $35 “reconnection” fee.
Koodo Mobile No Contract Cell Phone Plans
Koodo’s contract-free plans include four options, all of which include unlimited text and either 500 minutes or unlimited talk time per month. The plans offer varying amounts of monthly data with additional amounts of data available for purchase. And thanks to Koodo’s “Shock-Free Data” option on all plans with data, it’s possible to pause a data connection rather than burning thorough the data cap. Koodo sends alert messages whenever you reach 50%, 90%, or 100% of your allocated cellular data. You can then use the Self Serve website to monitor and manage your internet usage.
Koodo Mobile No-Contract Pros:
- Tab allows customers to buy expensive phones on credit
- Postpaid plans include modern phones at reasonable prices
Koodo Mobile No-Contract Cons:
- Lots of hidden fees, including (potentially) some charges for customer service calls
- Delinquent accounts are assessed a “reconnection” fee
- Phones under a Tab are locked until the Tab is paid
Benefits of No-Contract Phones
Going contract-free costs less in the long-run but more in the short-term. In the past, prepaid phones were terrible, and in fact, Telus’s prepaid phones still are terrible. What Koodo does differently in the no-contract, postpaid market is offer midrange and high-end smartphones for reasonable prices. Not only can you choose better phones at Koodo, you can lease an otherwise unaffordable phone. Tabs come in six varieties ranging from bringing your own device (BYOD) to Tab Extra Extra Large.
The difference between the cheapest and the most expensive Tab is in the amount of money that the you borrow from Koodo. A Tab Small means repayment of the loan over 24 smaller monthly payments. A Tab Extra Extra Large means higher monthly sums. The other plans scale between the two extremes.
Koodo Prepaid Cell Phone Plans
Koodo prepaid plans have a similar price scheme as its postpaid products. While all of the service plans come with variable data caps or pay-per-use data plans, a pay-per-use plan charges you based on how much data is used.
The low-end plans do not include Canada-wide calling.
Koodo Prepaid Pros:
- Plans are cheaper compared to postpaid plans
- No contracts
- Koodo includes Shock-Free Data on more expensive plans
- Talk time, long distance and data add-on boosters carry over month to month
Koodo Prepaid Cons:
- Koodo plans cost more relative to competitors
- Prepaid is not compatible with roaming plans
- No data rollover (use it or lose it)
- Plans are more complex compared to competitors
- Plans are more expensive than some competitors
Koodo Mobile Coverage
Koodo’s use of the Telus Mobility cellular network gives them coverage over Canada’s major cities which is identical to Bell’s coverage. In terms of territory, Telus covers the majority of Alberta and the Southern half of Saskatchewan, as well as all major Canadian cities. Its 4G network speeds rank at the top of Canadian providers and in most of its markets Telus offers LTE Advanced.
However, the quality of streaming video content (Flash and MPEG4) on the Koodo network is degraded through compression. Koodo claims that their compression does not apply to high resolution screens , which means their higher end phones.
Koodo Add-Ons (Prepaid and Postpaid)
Koodo’s prepaid and no-contract plans allow customers to purchase “add-ons” which tack on temporary, additional features. An add-on package can include roaming, the ability to forward a call to another phone number, unlocking phones for use abroad, extended warranties, long-distance calling, and more. For the most part, a la-carte add-on packages give prepaid services features comparable to postpaid cellular services.
For example, if a customer activates a plan that does not include the ability to make calls, the Talk Booster add-on package allows customers to make Canada-wide, U.S., and international phone calls.
- Call forwarding
- Visual voicemail (iPhone only)
- Unlimited incoming calls
- Unlimited anytime minutes
- Easy Roam US
- Easy Roam International
- Extended warranty
- Long distance
An invisible add-on cost is customer service fees. Koodo plans on charging its customers fees in exchange for customer service access. However, the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) may soon prevent such attempts by the telecommunications industry.
Koodo’s Mobile Phones
Koodo’s mobile phones rank high among no-contract carriers because of their modern midrange and high-end phones. While some prepaid carriers only sell low-end and out-of-date phones on their networks, Koodo’s offerings include late-model and cutting-edge smartphones from Samsung, Apple, LG, and more.
Koodo’s prepaid service promotes low-end and underpowered phones.
It works like this: when starting a new line of service with Koodo, you have three options:
- Bring your own phone and pay the lowest rate.
- Buy a phone outright from Koodo, and pay for the same “Bring Your Own Phone” plans
- Buy a phone on a Tab plan and pay an increased monthly amount for the duration of your contract with Koodo
As with the majority of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), bringing your own unlocked device (BYOD) is the cheapest option both in the long and short term. However, Koodo also sells preowned and new phones so Koodo offers an excellent selection of smartphones from the low-end to the high-end even for customers who can’t do BYOD. In the prepaid space Koodo’s plans fall short of their competitors, offering more expensive plans with poorer phone options.