Fonus

Fonus Mobile in Canada: A Full Review

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Fonus Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that offers unlimited data plans. Fonus Mobile claims to use the AT&T network to provide service to all of its clients. Founded in 2019, the California-based company offers unlimited calling and texting to over 50 countries around the globe. 

This prepaid carrier only has one plan listed on its website. For 30USD each member will have access to unlimited data uses and will be able to avoid roaming charges when in Canada, Mexico and the US. However, it is essential to note that all calls and texts must be sent directly from the Fonus platform. 

Fonus also gives its customers located in the United States access to a 5G network. Although Fonus offers “unlimited data”, customers have a maximum usage of 20GB on the fastest network available in the region. After reaching the previous usage level, Fonus mobile will lower users’ download speeds to 3G. 

What is an MVNO?

MVNO stands for a mobile virtual network operator. This type of wireless service distributor does not own any wireless network. In other words, MVNOs must sign partnerships with mobile network providers in order to have the right to use their infrastructure. These agreements generally allow companies like Fonus to have bulk access to the mobile network at discount rates. This can explain Fonus’ ability to offer unlimited data usage for the modest price of 30USD. To learn more about MVNOs, we recommend you take a look at our article MVNOs in Canada: A Guide.

Joining Fonus Mobile

Joining Fonus Mobile is a relatively simple process. You can do the whole process yourself directly on their website. To begin, users must order their Fonus SIM Card, which costs 15USD. This SIM Card is shipped for free to users that are in the US & Canada. While purchasing the SIM you will also need to pay for your first month of service. The Fonus SIM should arrive 3 to 6 days after your transaction is completed.

Once the Fonus Mobile SIM is received, you will need to activate it on Fonus. You will need to enter your SIM number, email and postal code. Afterwards, in order to complete your profile, you will need to enter a credit card for Auto-Pay.

Once your account is completely set up, you can put in a demand to port your current phone number to the Fonus service. In order to do so, it is important that you not cancel your previous plan until the transfer is incomplete. This process usually takes 48h to 72h, however, if some information is missing it can take up to 5 days.

Fonus Mobile Review

Users seem to have extremely mixed feelings and experiences with Fonus Mobile. Many do not trust the company because of its lack of transparency with customers. First of all, they advertise unlimited data usage although after 20GB of usage users are moved to a 3G Network. 

Customer service

Secondly, many have had issues cancelling their services. Customers have 2 ways to cancel their subscription. They can either do it themselves directly on their client portal under the settings tab or by calling Fonus’ customer service line. Sadly, some clients have tried cancelling via the customer service phone number and have had some issues. While messaging with an agent some clients who requested to cancel their line were told to call back 2 days before their plan is up. This caused them to continue to be charged for many months. Although they did not call back, cancelling a phone plan should not be as difficult of a process.

Fonus Mobile

Therefore, if you are interested in the Fonus service, we strongly advise you to stay alert and to always verify that you are not still being charged after cancelling your plan. This issue also brings into question if Fonus is truly a prepaid service. By definition, a prepaid plan is one where you pay for your services in advance and are disconnected when your plan runs out. In order to have access to the service again, you must repurchase the plan. If Fonus is charging credit cards automatically every month, this means that it is simply a normal plan that is contract-free and that can be cancelled at any given moment without any penalties or fees.

Data Network

Due to Fonus not using their own network many users have seen their service suddenly cut off. In one case a client used 50GB of AT&T data and had his SIM card permanently disconnected by the service provider. They then justified the termination by stating that he had violated the terms of service. Fonus promises unlimited data usage to its clients, therefore, this should never happen. 

 

It is also very unclear what network is used for the users that are located in Canada. On Fonus’ website, they claim to use the Telus, Bell and Rogers networks for their clients in Canada. However, Telus has stated that they have no agreement with Fonus and that they have never been in contact with the California-based company.

Fonus App

According to many reviews online, the Android app seems to have many bugs. Many users randomly stop receiving calls from the Fonus app. The only way they start receiving their calls again is after force-closing the app and re-opening it after. This also happens with the text messages that are received through the app. The call history also seems to be very inconsistent. If the caller has not left the Fonus customer a message, their number may not appear in the call log.

Fonus’ legitimacy

Before picking Fonus Mobile as your data provider, we must advise you that many have raised concerns regarding its Founder Simon Tian. Before starting Fonus, the Canadian businessman  was behind the Neptune Suite project. This company used crowdfunding to fund its project and never delivered the final product. Although many factors can lead to a company failing, the lack of information and transparency from Neptune Suite was unacceptable. Although many clients have had great experiences with Fonus, others have found it to be very suspicious.

Fonus FAQs

What Network does Fonus use in Canada?

While in Canada, Fonus Mobile claims that clients will be put on the following providers’ networks: Bell, Rogers and Telus. The selection is automatic, however, some devices allow users to manually select the network they use.

 

Will I have access to 5G everywhere?

No, Fonus only allows users who are located in the US to use the 5G network. If you are in Canada or Mexico you will most likely be on a 4G network for your first 20GB of usage.

 

Can I cancel my Fonus at any time?

Yes, Fonus is a prepaid service, therefore, it is contract-free. You can call their customer service or do it directly from your user account.

 

Can I hotspot with Fonus mobile data?

At the moment, hot-spotting is not allowed with their data plan. Fonus data can only be accessed by the phone containing the Fonus SIM card.

 

How do I contact Fonus?

Clients who need help with their account or would like more information on how to use the service can contact Fonus through a number of different methods. They have chat boxes available on their website, as well as Telegram chats for customer support personnel!

Conclusion: Is Fonus Mobile a Good Alternative?

Fonus Mobile is an alternative if you are planning on travelling to the US or Mexico. It will allow you to stay in contact with your peers no matter where you are and will eliminate the stress associated with finding data when travelling between Canada, Mexico and the US. It is also a reasonable option for Canadians who want to save money on their telecom plan. By opting for a data-only plan, you will avoid paying for all the extra services included in more conventional plans. However, we advise consumers to do their own research and to proceed with caution when signing up for Fonus Mobile. If you have the means, we recommend keeping your current Canadian telecom plan until after you have had the chance to test the Fonus Mobile service.

It is also important to note that this company is not registered under the CRTC. In other words, Fonus Mobile is not subject to the same regulations as other Canadian telecom providers.

 

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15 Comments

  1. I tried Fonus recently. I trusted their advertising of unlimited data and low price. After 20g at 4g rates, it was supposed to revert to 3g rates, “unlimited”. They lied. Today data was not available, wasted time thinking phone problem. Soon after received an email with a warning I was using too much data? How is this possible with unlimited data? After 20g, I revert to unlimited at 3g. That was the deal. I argued on chat, pointing out the above. They said by using so much data (about 40g) I had violated the AT&T fair use policy. I had no agreement with AT&T. I asked them to return my money since I did not receive the service they sold me. Had the service for less than 2 weeks. Then they suddenly disconnected my chat session, minutes later received an email that my account was cancelled. Just like that. In my opinion it is a scam. They are just parasites trying to skim a little price margin piggybacking on real telecom systems. It is a bate and switch scam. Looks like a future class action case.
    Hope my experience helps others avoid the mistake I made. Thanks for your research, wish I had found it before I went with them.

    1. Thanks for the comment, we hope it’ll help others. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience.

    2. If you used more than 40GB in less than two weeks, that means you were on track to use more than 80GB per month

      In my experience, that kind of usage will get you banned with nearly any carrier providing a similarly-priced phone plan. A friend of mine was using similar amounts of data on Rogers and got banned as well

      You can’t expect a $30 per month service to replace the internet at your home, that’s just not possible and shouldn’t be expected

      Yes the plan may be advertised as ‘unlimited’, but there are fair usage policies that come with every ‘unlimited’ plan on the market

  2. Just activated first line of two last night. So far so good. With a savings of almost a 100 bucks a month per line over Telus, I’ll give it a shot.

  3. I have been using the service for over 4 months now. It works great in the US and Canada. Couldn’t be happier with the pricing

  4. I have been using fonus for the last 3 years and I am very happy with it,customer service is excellent and anybody willing to use fonus will not regret it.

  5. We are very happy with fonus since we can make free long distance calls overseas.
    As for data usage, I normally use 20G per month and never had any issue .
    I think it’s reliable service and did as advertised.

    1. Don’t get greedy to use 100GB a month if they say 20 GB use that limit good for those saying it’s a scam these cheap people Bells $100 monthly plan nice lesson for them

  6. I have been using Fonus for quite some time and it has served me well. Any dealings I’ve had with customer service have been polite, quick and efficient. When Rogers dropped the other day, the sim simply switched to Bell on its own. Works great on a cellular iPad as well!!

  7. Long time Fonus user here. I have no issues with it and am happy with service. Not a heavy data user so I never exceed 20 G in a month.

  8. I have been using the Fonus SIM card for a while now without any major issues. I use it mainly for data. A few weeks ago i used it in USA and it worked like a charm. A friend of mine uses it as a daily driver and hasn’t complained about it.

  9. After AT&T shut down the 3G network, my phone would not work with AT&T and I was requested to buy a new phone exclusively from AT&T. I decided to abandon AT&T and look for another option. Given the fact that I need to use my phone in the US and Canada, I came to know about Fonus. I have looked into several articles about Fonus and read through lots of reviews before I decided to use this service. I purchased a SIM card and it was delivered to me in only 2 days. I installed the card and by following the instructions, I was able to activate my SIM card and select a new number of my preference. Since I started using Fonus, I had no problem and I am totally satisfied with its service. I am saving over $20USD by paying only $30USD for Fonus compared to AT&T and with better service!

  10. What the fonus site is claiming to be. Is not what the actual product actually is. I have never witnessed “break neck speeds” as stated on their site. Google Play store identifies the app as unsafe and harmful. Using the portal is unsecure. Especially, when inputting your CC details. Data appears to have an extremely high latency. Which degrades the performance of VoIP usability.

    CEO of Fonus is also the CEO of Neptune computers. The CEO stole a large sum of funds from their original customers back when Neptune computers was around. To sum up, Fonus product and CEO is terrible. I hope this never happens to anyone else.

  11. I have been a Fonus customer for a quite while, almost since Fonus started. Fonus has been providing reliable and excellent service. Clearly remembered that when the Rogers service was down for the entire day last month (July 2020), Fonus still provided non-stop & reliable service…BIG THANKS to Fonus! For sure, I would highly recommend Fonus to everyone!!

  12. I ordered a fonus SIM card and received it in the mail however I was charged twice on my visa. They showed me that I ordered two one minute apart but I only received one. Not happy. I don’t think I want to move forward with this company.

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