Planning on visiting Canada soon? Make sure to know what to expect when it comes to purchasing a Canada SIM card.
Unfortunately, Canada is one of those countries that don’t make it easy for travelers. You won’t be able to find a cheap SIM card in Canada. In fact, most Data packages are ridiculous! But don’t worry – we found solutions for you!
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In this guide, we’ll explain where to buy a SIM card in Canada in-person and online.
Before you start reading this guide, you may be wondering if you actually need a SIM card in Canada. If you don’t mind not having Internet, you’ll likely find free Wifi in restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels.
That said, if you wish to drive a car around, call a Uber, translate in French or English – you may want to get a SIM card for your travels in Canada.
Note that if you’re American, your mobile phone provider may be offering coverage in Canada. If that’s the case, you won’t need a SIM card for Canada.
Best SIM Cards In Canada
Canada is a huge country and there are several mobile providers. Unfortunately, finding an affordable SIM card that provides a lot of data isn’t that easy.
The thing is that in Canada most providers only offer contracts, and prepaid SIM cards aren’t really popular.
We recommend using a SIM card from Telus, T-Mobile, or Airalo. (I’ll get back to Airalo later on, so keep reading to learn more!)
How To Buy A SIM Card In Canada
You can either buy a Canada prepaid SIM card in person in some international airports, in mobile provider stores, in a convenience store, or on Amazon.
Usually, you can expect higher costs and low data offers at the airport, so we don’t recommend buying a SIM card at the airport. That said, only a few airports offer Canadian SIM cards, so it doesn’t mean you’ll find one on arrival.
For this reason, I’d recommend buying a SIM card directly in the mobile provider store. Note, that you may need your passport in order to buy one. You’ll need to specify you don’t want to have a contract.
You can search for Telus, Rogers, Bell, or Koodo to purchase prepaid SIM cards. Now – from my experience (even as a Canadian), the data packages are expensive and barely provide data.
This is why I’d recommend using Airalo instead. (Skip to the eSIM card section to learn more about Airalo.)
How To Buy A Canada Prepaid SIM Card Online
If you wish to have your SIM card ready for your arrival, you could purchase it online on websites like Amazon.
For example, you could get a SIM card for North America like the North America TravSIM from T-Mobile.
This SIM card offers 50 GB to use in the United States, but also adds 5GB in Canada and Mexico.
The cost is around $45 and the card is valid for 30 days. In my opinion, this SIM card is only good if you’re traveling to the United States and Canada.
Although, If you’re traveling only in Canada, 5 GB isn’t a lot, really. If you think it’s enough, then it may be a good option for you.
Now, you’ll find plenty of SIM cards from different mobile providers on Amazon, but they aren’t coming with a prepaid package.
In order to get Data, you’ll need to register in person or online to buy a prepaid data package.
You can do this easily with Telus.
You could either order the Telus SIM card on Amazon and then pick a plan online, or order the SIM card directly from the Telus website.
Here’s an overview of the prepaid plans available on Telus:
- 500 MG, valid for 30 days for $30 – includes calls and SMS
- 2.5 GB, valid for 30 days for $40 – includes calls and SMS
- 4.5 GB, valid for 30 days for $45 – includes calls and SMS
- 8 GB, valid for 30 days for $55 – includes calls and SMS
Alternatively, you could buy an eSIM card for Canada.
How To Buy An eSIM Card For Canada
eSIM is a new concept allowing you to have a virtual SIM card inside your phone. If your mobile phone supports eSIM cards – it’s definitely the best option to get Data in Canada.
Curious? Learn more about eSIM for travelers.
I started using eSIM as soon as my mobile phone was supporting it. And I first tried it when visiting my family in Canada. To buy an eSIM, I use Airalo. This website offers lots of eSIM cards around the world.
Here’s an overview of the options available in Canada:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $7.50
- 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $17.50
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $25
- 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $36
As you can see, these are the most affordable rates for SIM cards we’ve seen so far. An eSIM card also means you’ll get data right away on your arrival which means it’s very convenient.
Final Thoughts On SIM Cards In Canada
I believe Canada has a lot to catch up on regarding SIM cards, and Data prepaid plans for travelers. In many countries, you can get a SIM card at affordable rates, easily – but Canada makes it more complicated for travelers.
I believe the eSIM card is the most convenient way to get Data in Canada.
Traveling to Canada soon? Read one of the following blog posts: