When visiting Canada, you are sure to want to stay in touch with family and friends. Maybe even business, if you have to. Lucky for you, Canada has plentiful network coverage and SIM card options for travelers. Whether you are exploring the vast wilderness in the north, traveling coast to coast, or playing tourist in one of the many metropolises, you will be able to snap a pic and send it to your friends back home. The first four carriers, Rogers, Telus, Bell, and Freedom Mobile, are the largest and cover nearly all of the Canadian population, from Toronto to Ontario, to Vancouver and all the towns in between. Many of the smaller carriers utilize the larger networks but can provide some more budget-friendly packs and plans for those who are interested in getting the most bang out of their buck. Take a look at the options outlined below and remember to follow up with your own research because often times there are promotions and special deals taking place. Take a look at our list of the best SIM card providers for Canada.
Rogers is the largest network provider in Canada. Some plans available include 100MB of data for $10 (CAD), $20 (CAD) for 250MB, $30 (CAD) for 500 MB and $40 (CAD) for 1GB. These plans also include unlimited calls and SMS to national lines. Rogers has very widespread coverage and is in the process of phasing out 2G for 3G/4G across the country.
Bell is the third-largest network provider in Canada. It is the only provider that has SIM cards for modems and tablets that can also be used in phones. Plans can be purchased online or in stores. Prepaid options include 250MB and 150 local minutes for $30 (CAD) per month, 500MB and 500 minutes for $45 (CAD) per month, and 1GB and unlimited minutes for $60 (CAD) per month.
Telus is the second largest network provider in Canada. It has phased out 2G for 3G/4G. Its sub-brands include Koodo and Public Mobile. For $80 (CAD) per month you can bring your own phone and get a new SIM with 3 GB of data and unlimited national calling and text. If you just need to talk and text, there are more affordable plans including a $10 (CAD) per month plan with 50 minutes talk and 50 SMS. Or upgrade for $15 (CAD) a month and get 100 minutes and 100 SMS.
4. Freedom Mobile
Freedom Mobile is one of the smaller carriers in the country and has more limited coverage. It is perfectly fine for using in large cities, but if you plan to travel to more remote locations you will be better off with one of the other providers. That being said, Freedom Mobile offers competitive pricing. Be sure to check if your phone is compatible first. Plans include the Home 250MB package for $15 (CAD) per month which also includes 100 minutes of talk and unlimited text. For $25 (CAD) per month, you can upgrade to 1GB of data and calling at $0.05 (CAD) per minute.
Fido has plans starting at $35 (CAD) per month if you bring in your own phone and are just looking to get a SIM card. The $35 (CAD) pack gives you 500 national minutes and unlimited text with pay per use data. There is also a $50 (CAD) per month option that includes 3GB, 500 national minutes and unlimited text. For those who need even more data, consider the $60 (CAD) per month option that includes 5GB, 500 national minutes and unlimited text.
Chatr offers larger data plans for a better rate than some of the aforementioned providers. Plans include 6GB and unlimited Canada and U.S. talk and text for $50 (CAD) per month. Current promotions also offer 5GB for $45 (CAD) and 4GB for $40 (CAD) per month, both with unlimited Canada and U.S. talk and text. The cheapest options offer 50 Canada minutes and texts for $10 (CAD) per month, or a local calling plan or $20 (CAD) per month with unlimited local calls.
Koodo runs on Canada’s largest 4G LTE provider. The cheaper options include 500MG of data, no minutes, but unlimited incoming messaging for $30 (CAD) a month, or pay-per-use data, 500 minutes, and unlimited messaging for $35 (CAD) per month. Upgrade to $45 (CAD) a month and you will get the same deal with unlimited minutes. The cheapest option with data is the $50 (CAD) per month pack with 3 GB, 500 minutes and unlimited messaging.
8. Lucky Mobile
Editor’s Note: There’s no photo available at the time of writing
Lucky Mobile offers plans based on zones within Canada, so check their options based on your travel plans. As the base level, you can get unlimited local zone calls for $20 (CAD) per month. The next level offers unlimited Canada-wide calls and texts, with 2GB of data, priced at $40 (CAD) per month. For just five dollars more you can get the same deal with 5.5GB of data.
While better known as a convenience store, 7-Eleven in Canada offers SpeakOut prepaid cell phone plans. They include voicemail, caller ID, free incoming text messages and 365-day expiration on all top-ups. You can add credit to your SIM and then you are subject to the following rates: $0.30 (CAD) per minute local talk rate, $0.45 (CAD) per minute U.S. long distance talk rate and $3.50 (CAD) 411 call rate charges. If you just need talk and text, this is a good and affordable option.
10. Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile divides its plans by a limited 500 minutes of talk, or unlimited. With 500 minutes your options include pay per use data for $35 (CAD) per month, 3GB for $50 (CAD) per month or 5GB for $60 (CAD) per month. Unlimited talk rates are slightly higher, coming in at $45 (CAD) for pay per use data, $55 (CAD) for 3GB and $65 (CAD) for 5 GB of data per month.
Coverage in Canada
Depending on how long you will be in the country, which regions and how much traveling within Canada you will be doing, there are different plans and packages to meet your needs. Rates in Canada are more expensive then other countries, so it may be worth considering your access to WiFi and opting for a talk and text option only if you are considered about overspending. As with all network providers, there are oftentimes special promotions so keep your eyes open.