Beware of the Fido Roam

Beware of the Fido Roam

Beware of the Fido Roam

I'm Helpful Level 1

Beware of the Fido Roam

If you have a Fido Pulse plan, Fido will have enabled (whether you wanted it or not) the Fido Roam plan. You might think you can just ignore it if you have no interest in using their roaming services but that is not the case. There are in fact a few sneaky little gotchas that may cost you upwards of $180 in extra charges on your next bill if you aren't fully informed. Read on.


It used to be that when you arrive in a destination country, you'd recieve a text message informing you that you were roaming and that pay-per-use roaming charges would apply. You would then even be given some roaming package you could choose to opt-in to. Cool!

Not the case anymore. Now with Fido Roam enabled, what happens it that once you arrive in your destination country, you'll recieve a text message that looks something like this:41945306_10155496318011734_1795333541324652544_n.jpg



















It would be very easy to think that by just not turning on your data (and data roaming) you'd be ok BUT that is not the case at all. There in lies the grand trap that cost me a small chunk of change! 


You will automatically enable Fido Roam services for a 24 hour period at whatever cost was specified in the initial text if you simply send a text message OR recieve an MMS message (a text with a picture) OR recieve a call and reject it (rather than letting it ring and go to voicemail). You won't have any idea that you activated it either until you get your bill at the end of your billing cycle. Further more, you can't even disable it from your customer account portal, you need to either get onto live chat or call a customer service representative to have them disable it!


I have a dual-SIM phone and in my case, it used to be that upon leaving, I'd disable Fido's data and enable my host countries data plan and I'd be free and clear. If I recieved a text or call on my Fido line, I could simply respond to it and pay the one time usage fee... turns out this year, that wasn't the case and rather than paying $10.50 for sending about 14 text messages I was dinged $84! Now that's one hell of a markup in price! 


I highly recommend you disable Fido Roam ASAP before travelling and instead, get a SIM chip for the country you are visiting. You will almost ALWAYS get a far superior deal to any roaming package Fido offers you! 


Going forward, here is what FIdo should do:

1) When the roaming plan has been activated for a 24 hour period, you should recieve a text message indicating it has been activated and should also give you the exact time it will be deactivated (as it lasts for a 24 hour period).


2) There should be a quick and easy way to opt out by text message.


3) It should NOT be automatically enabled on any plan, instead users should be able to opt-in to it like before.


4) It should be easily enabled/disabled via the customer service portal as opposed to having to actually have a customer service rep do it for you.


I don't forsee any of these happening though because there is money to be made as data overage and roaming charges bring HUGE dollars to telecom providers. 


Hope this helps someone from falling into this trap because if you think Fido will reimburse you, you are sorely mistaken. You will be told that their roaming policies are "clearly laid out" on some part of their site for anyone to read... sadly this is all after the fact that you've fallen into the trap!


Now cue the customer service reps and community mods to chime in with their copy-pasted responses indicating how sorry they are that I feel this way and that it's not for everyone and so on....

Accepted Solution

Re: Beware of the Fido Roam

Solved by Moderator

Hey @Fredyo!


Thanks for your feedback! That's certainly a lot of points to cover and I promise not to copy/paste anything. Smiley


I just have a few points to clarify there:


1. We extended Fido Roam to everyone so all our customers can take advantage of it while traveling. In general, there's more value in using Fido Roam then pay-per-use. Hence why we went with the opt-out model rather than the opt-in one.


2. Although we extended this to everyone, you do have the options to opt-out anytime to use our pay-per-use rates. Those rates and Fido Roam information can be found here.


3. Usage that triggers Fido Roam includes making or receiving a phone call, retrieving voicemails, sending a text (receiving is free), sending/receiving a picture message or using data. Rejecting a call will not trigger Fido Roam.


That all being said, I completely understand if Fido Roam doesn't meet your particular needs. We will certainly take all your other suggestions in consideration.


If you would like to discuss you billing, I would be quite happy to send you a PM to discuss it further with you. Smiley


Let me know.

View solution in context

Hello again,


  Firstly, I don't work for Fido...


  I understand your frustration. I had previously tried to warn people that this could happen. However, I was assured that simply rejecting a call would no longer trigger the Fido Roam charge (see above link). Could we please get some clarification from @FidoSolutions ?




Hey @Jvajna and @Cawtau!


We've confirmed with our roaming team that rejecting a call while abroad should not trigger a roaming charge. We're investigating why this happened on our end Smiley


Hope that helps everyone out! 



I'm a Participant Level 1

The fix Fido Roaming is a SCAM. It's opted in by default. There is no communicate on how this is charged. I still got charge when i turn OFF data, no text and no voice!!  You guys are just making more angry customers.

I'm a Participant Level 2

wow fido. I'm in Europe and just fell into this trap. Well never again. I'm switching off my phone and researching better providers as soon as I get back.I do hope that more people become aware of this trick! This is awful business practice.

Hey @maudie


It's unfortunate to see your experience with Fido Roam has left you feeling this way however I can assure you that there is no trap. If you do not wish to have any charges for roaming with Fido Roam, you can simply choose not to use any of your services from your Fido phone while abroad. 


You are only billed for what you use and you are notified of the applicable charges as soon as you connect to a foreign network. 

I'm a Participant Level 2

HI @FidoAmanda


Yes, I do get that now. I know now that you have to turn off your phone completely in order to avoid charges. I could tell by the 200 dollars overcharge in my bill for sending and receiving a few text messages.


But it is definitely designed to trick customers with the charges. Fido Roam is turned on by default and unless you turn your phone all the way off/ remove the SIM, it IS going to be activated one way or another, without you even getting a notification that you're being overcharged and entering a 24 hours activation period.

And you can't even just turn it off without calling customer services. 


 If I had realized it would be like this I wouldn't have brought my phone and just got a temporary phone here. It's certainly cheaper than fido roam charges.


thanks for your response though.


We're really sad that you feel this way about Fido Roam @maudie! That's certainly not the impression we want you to have of the service. As my colleagues mentioned before, we only bill you for the usage incurred on your account. If there is no outgoing usage, there is no charge. 


I personally received email notifications both times I activated Fido Roam on my line to advise me of its impact. Did you check your email if you received it too?

I'm a Participant Level 3

@FidoSaira "I personally received email notifications both times I activated Fido Roam on my line' - please provide a step by step description of how did you "activate Fido Roam" on your line! Thank you



Hello Lololo,


  While I don't necessarily wish to speak for FidoSaira, she likely referred to using her services abroad.


@FidoSaira wrote:


The fee is only triggered if there is an outgoing usage that we detect through your Fido SIM card. The following usages would trigger the fee:

  • Outgoing SMS/MMS
  • Calls (making a call, responding to a call)
  • Using data on apps
  • Retrieving voicemails

~ taken from here.


Hope the helps 😀






I'm Helpful Level 1

I sure as hell received no email or text! 


I know this because I would have terminated Fido Roam there and then! 

Hey @Fredyo!


A roaming text is sent as soon as your phone connects to a foreign network in order to let you know that you're roaming and of the possible charges.


If you've travelled recently and did not get this please let us know.



I'm Helpful Level 1

Yes you get welcoming text when you arrive in a new country but you don't get any sort of indication that Fido Roaming has been enabled for a given period.

Hello again,


@Fredyo wrote:

Yes you get welcoming text when you arrive in a new country but you don't get any sort of indication that Fido Roaming has been enabled for a given period.

  I think the issue is related to the likelihood that home networks do not necessarily get usage information in real-time:


  For post-paid roaming, when the user first switches their phone on, the visited network checks in real time whether the home network authenticates the customer and authorises its use abroad...  ~ taken from here.


  That would result in the Welcoming text message we receive when our phones connect to a foreign network.


  ...But the data records (CDRs) with the details on each SMS and data session are sent to the home operator with some delay (up to several days).. ~ also taken from link above.


  If home networks don't receive usage information in real-time, it's not possible for them to provide customers with notification that a roaming session has begun without a delay.


  The situation is different with pre-paid services where a real-time exchange is required to prevent the balance of the roaming customers' accounts from becoming overdrawn. That's likely the reason why pre-paid roaming often costs more than post-paid roaming.


Hope this helps 😀





I'm Helpful Level 1

I'm not buying it. I'm able to send and receive texts in near real time with anyone when I'm abroad there is no reason I couldn't get a text and/or email about Fido Roam kicking in moments after it does. 



I'm a Participant Level 2

i just got caught in the same trap. Went to Vegas last December and got Roam enabled.  After I returned to Canada, I assumed it was reset, and i would have to activate it again when i needed it.  I dont look that closely at my bills, so I just noticed that it had been billing me 7 bucks every time i enter the states, even for an hour., for the last 6 months.  i never made or received any calls, or sent any texts. So I assume something must have been using data.


Fido can try to justify it all they want, but it is clear to me that this is an incredibly poorly designed product, and is purposely deceptive and predatory to extract maximum revenue from unaware customers.


I called customer support and have had it disabled, and i certainly will never use it again.  They were unwilling to refund any of these past charges. I will also take this into consideration when making future carrier decisions.

I'm a Participant Level 2

Same happened to me. Except I turned on airplane mode immediately after I got the text, knowing Fido's tactic of charging for 24 hour period (regardless of fido roam or pay per use). Guess what? I still got charged the day's worth of roaming with a few KB showing on my statement. When I call the customer service the staff basically imply I'm lying about the airplane mode and it's all fair charges. He also mentioned same thing like the mods here are saying: it's more than reasonable to pay $7 for roaming per day, he said he finds it cheap (or implying I am cheap lol). The rep finally reimbursed it after I asked for a supervisor.


I've experienced such drama previously when I was in a trip to Asia. Back then I only disabled data (not just data roaming) and I got charged $12/day. The bill was about $300 and obviously I told them to either reverse it or I'll bring it to CRTC, ombudsmen and media. Those roaming charges were waived. I've also learnt to not trust Fido about roaming and simply turn my phone to airplane mode since. 


I have used other carriers in Canada and Fido really seems to be the only one doing this. It's sneaky way to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) when many people will not complain/not checking their bill/letting pre-authorized payment go through. My work phone is with Rogers and I haven't seen something like this at all. All I have to do was to disable data roaming. Other carriers I've used in the past will charge an amount per data usage and not $7 or $12 for tens of Kilobytes.


By the way, when Fido say pay per use, it's also a daily charge not per KB. It's also more expensive than Fido Roam. I've also tried to ask Fido to disable all roaming to prevent this from ever happening. They told me I'll get much worse coverage because extended networks are considered roaming, even though it's free for my plan to use. 




Hey jrdunno, this is definitely not the type of experience that we aim for, we do recommend to turn off all data roaming if you're not planning on using the Data Bytes service in order to avoid unwanted usage.


Airplane mode is also a good alternative although some devices make it easy to remove it which could cause additional fees if the data roaming option is activated.


In regards to the price of the service, we all have different perspectives in regards to what we perceive to be great value. It is unfortunate that some of my colleagues were not sensitive to that fact when addressing the situation with you.


Our goal is to be as transparent as possible when it comes to roaming which is why you receive a text message as soon as we're able to find out that you're outside of the country. We appreciate any feedback that would help make that process more enjoyable.


In regards to our pay-per-use option, we do have options if you wish to be billed by the text or by the minute for your phone calls and daily rates do not apply to those services. If you do wish to use your data while abroad on pay-per-use I would not recommend it since it can get quite costly and the pay-per-use service is mostly meant for those looking to talk and text.


As for shutting down all roaming, it is your choice to decide whether or not you'd like the option to be activated or turned off. Sadly we're not able to be selective with the networks that we're able to turn off on your device, either it's all of them or none of them. Then again these are options that you can easily manage from your own phone if you wish to proceed that way.


If you do have other questions, please contact us here and we'd be glad to help you with your inquiries.

Press them harder for a refund. It took me a while but I had them refund me the difference of what the regular roaming charges should have been and what they were with Fido Roam. I made it clear that  I had no issues paying for regular roaming charges as that's what I was expecting to pay.

I'm Helpful Level 1

Find a WIFI hotspot, log into your customer portal and get a service rep to shut it off. You'd think there would be a super easy way to do this but it seems they lack the technology to do this very thing. It's quite odd. Yes I'm being sarcastic.

Also, depending where you are in Europe and assuming your phone is unlocked, you can buy a SIM chip in the country you are in with a pay-as-you-go type service and you can get GB's of data for a fraction of what we pay. On top of that, because roaming fees have been banned in the EU, you can usually use your data from one EU country in another. 

I'm a Participant Level 2

@Fredyo thanks for the advice. I'm on airplane mode now and only using wifi!

I'm a Participant Level 3

With all the due respect to the OP, I am glad to use this Fido Roam feature as I never faced issues the OP mentioned and I travel pretty often. To me personally, Fido Roam is more valuable than pay per use and I see the logic Fido decided to put this option first. I would hate to pay per use until I realize that my Fido Roam had to be manually turned on. The good thing is that Fido does not force anyone to use it and let you switch if you want. Days when I do not plan to use the phone, I switch the data off, and Fido does not charge me. Rejecting calls never costed me a penny. I just wish Fido did not increase their US roaming rates from $5 to $7 and limit from 10 to 15 days.