- Fido Solutions
"Giving low prices a good home."
Industry Wireless services Founded December 1996 Key people Fadel Chbihna General Manager for Fido Products EDGE, GPRS, GSM, HSDPA, HSUPA, wireless data services, two-way messaging Website www.fido.ca
Fido Solutions is a Canadian cellular telephone service provider currently owned by Rogers Communications. It was formerly owned by Microcell Telecommunications. Fido does, however, remain a separate entity from Rogers. Although Fido's parent company Rogers Communications also operates another wireless brand named Rogers Wireless they remain mostly separate as Fido has retained its own retail chain, customer service call centres, network servers and CEO. Fido pioneered the concept of providing unlimited service in select Canadian cities. Fido was the first carrier in Canada to launch a GSM-based network and the first wireless service provider in North America to offer General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) on its network.
The original development of Fido was funded in part by Voicestream, now T-Mobile USA. Fido was the first provider in Canada to offer a network with the GSM standard. In November 2004, Microcell was bought out by the other competing GSM carrier, Rogers Communications, for an estimated $1.4 billion. The company's name was changed to Fido Solutions shortly thereafter. Fido has retained its data roaming service with T-Mobile.
The Fido network runs on GSM 1900 and offers coverage in major urban areas in Canada. It has been so since its inception. After Microcell was purchased by Rogers, the Fido network was available to Rogers customers. The Rogers GSM network operates at 850 MHz, and while a fee was previously required for Fido customers to access the Rogers network, this is no longer the case. The end result is that both Fido and Rogers customers can now access and use either network or both with a single account, device and SIM card. Regardless of which network is accessed, Fido customers will see "Fido" as the network name, and Rogers customers will see "Rogers" as the network name.
Similarly, HSPA+ service is available in 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequencies. The maximum theoretical download speed is of 21 Mbit/s. Fido customers should also be able to access Rogers' LTE network shortly after it becomes available as of 2011 in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Since the company's inception, Fido offered unique services to differentiate itself from its competitors. Notably, its CityFido plans include either multiple or unlimited local calling minutes in certain zones throughout Canada. Fido was also the country's first mobile service provider to bill airtime by the second while other companies typically rounded up calls to the next minute. The FidoDollars program offers a selection of rewards to loyal customers. Fido also offers several plans and add-ons for mobile Internet access.
The CityFido Unlimited plan costs $35 per month and it is available to customers living in one of eleven select cities throughout Canada. Customers with this plan can make and receive unlimited calls inside any of Fido's eleven city-based coverage zones, but must purchase additional minutes when leaving such zones or making long distance calls without a long distance package. This plan also includes unlimited international text messaging and, for BlackBerry users, unlimited BBM service. The unlimited BBM add-on cannot be combined with any other mobile Internet add-on.
For Quebec City and Montreal customers, there is also a $30 per month CityFido plan available. It is identical to the $35 plan, with the only exception being that it offers 2000 minutes billed per second instead of unlimited. Both services are called CitéFido in French.
For prepaid customers, the CityFido Prepaid plan costs $39.75 per month. Unlike CityFido Unlimited, the Prepaid plan only offers 2000 minutes to use for any incoming or local outgoing calls. Additional local minutes cost 40¢ each. Also, text messages sent to a non-Canadian mobile number require an additional fee. Incoming international text messages, however, can be received at no extra cost.
Additionally, one can add a long distance package to the CityFido Unlimited plan. This allows unlimited calling to certain countries:
- $10 per month for unlimited Canadian long distance within CityFido zone
- $20 per month for unlimited international long distance within CityFido zone
- $30 per month for unlimited Canadian and United States long distance within CityFido zone
For the international long distance package, only landline numbers for the 60 listed countries are included. Mobile-to-mobile calls to these countries costs 55¢ per minute. The United States long distance package excludes Puerto Rico and Mexico. However, calls to both mobile and landline numbers are included. This is also true for the Canadian long distance package.
Due to the success of this package, newer entrants such as Wind Mobile, Mobilicity and Vidéotron also introduced plans similar to CityFido featuring the zone concept. Telus Mobility's Koodo Mobile and Clearnet brands as well Bell Mobility's Virgin Mobile and Solo Mobile brands all have unlimited local calling plans with concepts very similar to CityFido. Koodo and Virgin, however, also offer a "no zones" options for unlimited local calling within any served city in Canada.
In 2011, Fido relaunched its phone-based customer service centre by renaming it FidoANSWERS. This service is known as Fido à l'écoute (Fido is listening) in French. The company claims that with this new centre, it is "now easier" for customers "to speak to a real person." This is apparently done by reducing the amount of menus and call transfers. One can obtain this new customer support by calling 6-1-1 from a Fido device or 1-888-481-3436, the toll-free number's last four digits spelling out FIDO. It is also possible to reach Customer Service through the Contact Us page on the website Fido.ca. Existing customers may also use the Fido Live Chat service, accessible through Fido My Account. Alternatively, customers can access the Fido Forums or the Fido support website for technical support.
Fido has a loyalty rewards program known as FidoDollars. For every Fido monthly bill or prepaid top-up, a customers receives 5% of the pre-tax total in FidoDollars. This currency can be used towards the purchase of a new device, such as a mobile phone or an Internet access stick. They can also be used to temporarily try out new plan features, such as additional minutes, unlimited Canadian long distance, or ½ GB of mobile Internet. Prepaid customers can also use their FidoDollars to purchase top-up credits. FidoDollars have no cash value and are non-transferable.
The New Fido
On November 4, 2008, Fido announced a re-branding and subsequent relaunch of their services. This repositioned the company as a discount wireless brand, offering postpaid plans similar or identical to those of Koodo Mobile and Solo Mobile with no "system access fee" or carrier-charged "911 fee". Clients using legacy plans, however, may keep them only if they continue to pay both fees.
As of May 3, 2011, the following Fido postpaid plans are available for customers:
Monthly cost Local minutes included Sent SMS[note 1] Evenings and weekends[note 2] Incoming calls $15 50 50 $20 $25 150 $30 200 $35 350 $50 750 $70 2000
- ^ The $15 and $20 plans include 50 SMS to Canadian mobile numbers. The $25 plan includes unlimited SMS to Canadian mobile numbers. Plans costing $30 or more include unlimited SMS to Canadian, USA or international mobile numbers. For all these plans, received SMS from a standard mobile number are included at no extra cost.
- ^ For "evenings and weekends", a yellow check mark indicates that calls to a local number made from 7pm to midnight and from midnight to 7am every day are included at no additional cost. In addition, there are no fees for local calls made on Saturday or Sunday. The same rules apply for a green check mark, with the exception that the 7pm requirement is 5pm instead.
This table excludes CityFido plans, which are only available in select cities.
Solo Mobile's monthly plans are nearly identical to Fido's postpaid plans, but there are some differences. Virgin, on the other hand, offers plans identical to Fido's $15, $20 and $25 offerings. Both Solo and Virgin include unlimited sent SMS to USA and international mobile numbers in their $25/month plan. Virgin members, however, can also replace the unlimited sent SMS option with the caller ID and voicemail features.
Fido has recently improved their plans "in response to Koodo's new Canada-wide price plans." Fido's $25 and $30 monthly plans previously had 100 and 150 local anytime minutes, respectively. Both plans now have an additional 50 minutes. The evenings and weekends calling period was also changed during weeknights on all Fido plans costing $25 or more per month. Like Koodo, it now begins at 5pm instead of 7pm.
All plans listed in this table include the call waiting and conference call features. Circle Calling is also included, which allows "free [local] calls between people on the same account", with up to a total of five people per account. They also offer a minute tracker, similar to the one used by Virgin Mobile Canada, to remind customers when they have used 75% and 100% of their monthly minutes.
Optional features include a $10 value pack which bundles Caller ID with Name Display, an enhanced voicemail, and the WhoCalled feature which was pioneered by Rogers. There is also a $15 value pack, which includes 50 Canadian long distance minutes, unlimited MMS and 2500 local call forwarding minutes plus all the features found in the $10 pack. Both packs include the first month free for new subscribers.
Fido offers several plans and add-ons for customers wishing to access Internet content via its mobile network. Each device is limited to only one of these plans, and certain plans are only available for certain devices:
Monthly cost Data included Available for $0[note 1] Unlimited BBM BlackBerry $10 100 MB (less than ¹/₁₀ GB) [note 2] Smartphones and feature phones $10 Unlimited social & IM [note 3] BlackBerry $10 Unlimited email & IM [note 3] $25 500 MB (less than ½ GB) [note 2] $25 Smartphones and feature phones $32 Mobile broadband modems $37 1 GB $52 2 GB $67 5 GB
Fido has been heavily criticized for discontinuing its unlimited Internet access plan and options. In response, the company temporarily released several add-ons designed to provide larger data allowances for mobile Internet service on the iPhone. This included $30 per month for 6 GB of data, as well as $80 per month for 8 GB of data. These add-ons were only available for a limited time after the release date of any iPhone device sold by Fido. Although they can unofficially be used with other smartphones, the also required a voice plan and hence cannot be used with an Internet access stick.
Fido once offered a wide range of products and services which are no longer available on the market.
The following services were removed after Rogers purchased Microcell:
- Several CityFido plans
- Sprint Canada home phone and Fido Wireless bundles
- Unlimited mobile Internet access in Canada for devices other than feature phones
- Unlimited mobile Internet access in Canada and the United States
Only some legacy CityFido plans were grandfathered, and Fido now has new CityFido offerings; see the "CityFido" section above. Sprint Canada and Fido bundles were replaced by Better Choice Bundles after Rogers purchased both companies. All bundles are now discontinued; see the following paragraph. The unlimited mobile Internet access plans were replaced by tiered and rationed Internet access options, although an unlimited plan continues to be available for feature phones; see the "Mobile Internet" section above.
The following services were removed after "The New Fido" re-branding:
- Better Choice Bundles
- Couples plans
- Danger Hiptop service
- Fax messaging
- Mobile TV
None of these services were grandfathered. The Better Choices Bundles once offered up to 15% off a pre-tax Fido monthly bill when combined with one or more Rogers services, but Fido is now listed as a "service that do[es]n't qualify for the Better Choice Bundles™ Program.". Couples plans were replaced by Circle Calling in 2011; see "The New Fido" above. Fax messaging was discontinued on September 22, 2009, but fax numbers could be ported out until December 22 of that year, and a similar service is still available at competitor Mike. Offering over 25 channels via Fido's HSPA network, Mobile TV was discontinued due to a lack of subscribers, but competitor Bell Mobility and its MVNO Virgin Mobile Canada both offer a very similar feature.
Fido has its own corporate retail stores, and also allows third parties to become exclusive dealers. For example, Best Buy, Costco, Future Shop, Tbooth, Walmart and WirelessWave sell Fido products along with prepaid and postpaid services. Additionally, Loblaw Companies and Zellers stores sell prepaid feature phones and top-up vouchers. Loblaw stores have a special booth, called The Mobile Shop, where the phones are displayed.
While Shoppers Drug Mart carried only Rogers Wireless prepaid phones at one time, the stores temporarily partnered with Rogers. As a result, Shoppers stores added both prepaid and postpaid products and services for Rogers and its two other brands, Fido and Chatr. Customers could also try out the iPhone 4. As of March 2011, however, Shoppers stores ended their partnership. They only sell prepaid top-up vouchers for these providers.
- "Fido to ramp up down market push." Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/530677
- "Ring in the new - Canadian cell phone users big "winners" of wireless spectrum auction." ITbusiness.ca: http://www.itbusiness.ca/IT/client/en/home/News.asp?id=49258&PageMem=3
- "Rogers relaunches Fido without system access fee." CBC.ca: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/11/04/tech-rogers.html
- Fido Monthly Plans. http://fido.ca/web/page/portal/Fido/MonthlyPlans?forwardTo=monthlyPlans
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