It might seem like a lot of info to sift through if you want to figure out if Fido or Virgin Mobile is best for your BYO cell plan, but once you break it all down it's actually quite simple. It mostly comes down to cell service in your area, but first you need to figure out what kind of plan you need.
Both Fido and Virgin offer identical pricing; Canada-wide (CW) anytime minutes; unlimited text, picture, and video messages within Canada; and unlimited evenings and weekends from 5pm.
Virgin does have one advantage, depending on whether or not you have family and friends abroad. Along with its unlimited CW messaging, Virgin offers unlimited worldwide text, and unlimited picture messaging to the US.
Note: Folks in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec enjoy different (usually lower) pricing than the rest of Canada. If you live in these regions, follow the data links at the top of each table and select your province at the top of the page.
1GB is about as close to a standard entry point as the mobile plan industry has. This will get you some moderate daily usage, but still try to steer clear of things like YouTube, or music streaming services. You'll also want to make sure any updates or downloads happen over WiFi.
2GB is where you can start to breathe a little easier. Occasional music streaming is fine, as are smaller app updates and downloads.
3GB and up is for people that use the internet heavily every day. If you're one of these people you probably know that you are, but still beware of HD video streams and some mobile games.
These plans are for people that don't, or rarely use the internet. If you have mobile broadband switched on at all, you will need at least some form of data cap. Notifications for web apps use data, as does GPS and quite a few other background operations.
100MB is the absolute least you could get by with if you have a smartphone with mobile broadband switched on, but you're better off going higher, even if you never actively use the internet when out and about.
500MB will get you some very light, occasional browsing and social media usage. 750MB slightly more, but still be careful and keep an eye on the meter.
So how do I choose?
Thanks to identical pricing between Fido and Virgin, it comes down to which carrier has the best service where you live, work, and in the places you frequent.
It might help to know that Virgin Mobile is owned by Bell, and operates over the Bell network. Fido is owned by Rogers, and operates over that network.
Check coverage maps for both carriers, but if you want the best picture possible then ask your friends, family and co-workers as well. How do people on either Bell or Rogers (or Virgin or Fido) find the reception in your home or neighborhood? How do your co-workers on those networks find reception in your workplace?
If one of the two is a clear winner, then that's the one that will likely be the best choice for you. If later it turns out to be a bad experience then that's no problem; BYO Cell plans work on a month-to-month basis. That means you can ditch your plan any month you want and make the switch.
Just be sure to remember that your first month with any carrier tends to incur an activation fee. In this particular case it's $15 for Virgin and $10 for Fido.
If you'd like to compare more BYO cell plans, check out our WIND vs Koodo, Koodo vs Virgin, Fido vs Virgin, WIND vs Virgin, WIND vs Fido, and Fido vs Koodo articles. Alternatively, you can compare all BYO cell plans using our search & compare tool. Be sure to pop your province in up the top, select how many minutes and how much data you want, and off you go.