andy brandt's blog

fonus mobile review for canadians

fonus is a US-based MVNO offering a low cost alternative available to canadians. i have been using them for a few months now and would like to share my experience with them so far.

plan overview

they only have one plan. $30 USD for 20 GB/month, which is dirt cheap when compared to any similar plan you can get locally. on top of that, you can roam anywhere in US/Canada without paying any roaming fees (which would have been great if not for COVID!). they advertise that they support up to 5G speeds, but i believe that’s only in the US, for now. i’ve only ever gotten 4G connections here in winnipeg.

since i live in winnipeg, when set to automatically choose my network provider, it always uses the Rogers work. if i choose manually, i can pick between Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Telus generally appears to give me the best speeds, but there doesn’t appear to be a way to “rank” the providers. and my phone sometimes just seems to switch on it’s own back to “automatic”.

my setup

i decided to port my existing manitoba phone number to a low cost voip provider, while fonus does support porting canadian numbers to them, i didn’t 100% trust that, and since i’ve had this phone number forever, decided to port to, and just use a third-party VOIP app to receive calls on my main number (since i rarely get/make phone calls, it works out to maybe $1-$2/month for the service).


i discovered that many automated text messages (seems to be when coming from short codes from specific services, such as apple, discord, my bank, and maybe others?) don’t work with voip services. i also tested with a twilio number, and the local fonus #, without any success. this was a fairly big deal for me, since my bank only does 2fa via sms (yuck!). i’ve gotten around this by using a speakout by 7-eleven sim card in a spare phone, and using tasker for android to forward any received sms’s to e-mail, which has gotten around the issue for me.

as of writing this, fonus doesn’t support eSIM, although their FAQ says it will be “availabe soon”, so it may be possible for fonus to use eSIM while using the speakout SIM on the same phone, which would save me some hacks.


i am happy with the service so far. activation was painless and fast, the service has been good, and you really can’t be the price, especially if you factor in the roaming. the not receiving short codes thing may be a dealbreaker for some, but with my current setup, things work well enough.