Why I Switched to Wind Mobile

Since I’ve been in Canada, I’ve used Fido for my cellphone service, and our relationship has been great: They let me bring my own iPhone, my plan is way cheaper than what I was paying in the U.S., and their customer service is about 100 times better than Verizon’s. On top of that, I didn’t have to sign a contract.

Today, however, I broke up with Fido.

Here’s why: I’m spending nine days in the U.S. starting Friday, and Fido’s U.S. “travel pack” is $80 for just 500MB of data. That cost is on top of what I’m already paying each month, and I’m planning on at least three trips back to the U.S. between now and the end of the year.

In other words, I’m being robbed on the highway back to America.

That led me to shop around, which led me to Wind Mobile — one of the challengers to the Big 3 wireless providers in Canada. For $50/month, they offer unlimited minutes, unlimited global texting and unlimited data in Canada AND the U.S. And like Fido, you can bring your unlocked phone, and there’s no contract.

With Wind, however, there are compromises:

  • Wind doesn’t yet have an LTE network in Canada, so you’re using 3G most of the time. (Although they say LTE will be in place sometime in 2016.)
  • Wind’s coverage doesn’t match the Big 3 and can be spotty even in downtown Toronto.
  • Data is unlimited but gets throttled after 10GB in Canada and 1GB in the U.S.
  • Wind isn’t an authorized dealer of Apple products in Canada, so iMessage and FaceTime functionality is limited.

However, Wind’s partner network in the U.S. is T-Mobile, which allows Wind users to connect to its LTE network south of the border. (In fact, two friends report that Wind’s service is actually much faster and more reliable in the U.S. than in Canada.)

So, today is Day 1 for Wind, and we’ll see what happens. I anticipate some frustration, but I can’t bring myself to pay $80 each time I want to cross the border. Best case scenario: The slower network speeds and spotty coverage aren’t enough to disrupt work life, and I save myself some money every time I head back to the U.S.

I’ll report back after a few months’ of usage.

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