Fonus Mobile in Canada: A Full Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.