Planning a trip to Canada and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Don’t waste money on high roaming costs, buy a prepaid sim card for Canada. In this article you will find all the pay as you go sim card operators in Canada, the best 4G/5G network in Canada, up to date prices as per May 2022 and information about international and e-sim cards for Canada.
LET ME WARN YOU! Canada is probably the most ridiculous country when it comes to prices for data. I sincerely have no clue how Canadians deal with this, but for 1 GB data you easily pay about $30 CAD! Therefore have a look at my article with the best International sim cards in 2022. MUCH BETTER DEALS!
Prices for prepaid sim cards in Canada are through the roof and the value for money is INSANELY BAD! You are MUCH better off buying a Canada sim card online! Keep reading and you will understand...
The first thing I do in a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card to get connected as it normally is the cheapest way. In total I wrote more than 150 local prepaid sim card guides from all over the world: Europe, Guatemala, Istanbul, Nairobi, Cairo, Cape Town, Lisbon, Oslo, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Vietnam, New York, Bogota, Dominican Republic and many more! How I get to all these places? I am trying to visit every country in the world.
When arriving in Toronto I also looked for buying a sim card at Toronto Airport, but damn those prices were insane and value for money was terrible! What's up with your prepaid sim cards Canada!?
There are some pretty good deals for world sim cards with coverage in Canada. Also, most of the Mexico and USA prepaid sim cards cover all of Canada and data bundles are valid in Canada too with free roaming. Check my article about the Best Prepaid USA Sim Cards in 2022 or the best Mexico sim cards for those with free roaming in Canada.
Why buying a sim card in Canada
A local prepaid sim card is the cheapest way to stay connected and it is easy, reliable and gives you the fastest data speed connection! Therefore Traveltomtom normally always recommends buying a sim card on arrival in a new country.
Most hotels, bars, malls and restaurants offer free pubic WiFi in Canada, yet I still recommend you to buy a sim card in Canada. Having a working data connection can save you a lot of hassle and traveling gets simply more convenient. Canada is a HUGE country and staying connected while on long straight boring roads keeps you entertained, but what about getting directions from Google Maps, finding a nearby restaurant or ordering an Uber to get back to your hotel. Many reasons I can come up with to buy a sim card for your trip to Canada.
Keep in mind that surfing the web on free public WiFi is through an unsecured network. The use of a VPN is recommended!
Traveltomtom recommends a Telus Mobility sim card for Canada, they have the best network coverage in Canada and the best value data packages. For $70 CAD you get 20 GB data.
As you can see Canada sim cards are very expensive and therefore it is wise to look at other North America sim cards or international sim cards that you can buy online. Therefore we also recommend global sim cards with for example 10 GB for $30 USD. Check out our comparison of the best world travel sim cards in 2022.
However, the easiest way to get connected these days is an e-sim card. Arrange everything online in just a couple clicks.
E-Sim card for Canada
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling abroad are e-sim cards. No more swapping physical sim cards! Order online, receive a code, change your settings and you are online. Plus e-sim cards for Canada are great value. Check out the following e-sim card deals:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $7.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $17.5 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $25 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $36 USD
For more info or to order one of the above e-sim cards for Canada directly online click on the link. With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number. However, e-sim cards are data only sim cards.
If you also want to make phone calls you are better off ordering a physical sim card for Canada. For $49.90 you get 10 GB and for $79.90 you get 30 GB data and unlimited calling and texting in Canada, USA and Mexico. Click here to see all online deals for a sim card for Canada. Some are amazing sim card deals for North America.
Where to buy a Canada sim card
There is always an option to buy a sim card at the airport, but in Western countries that is not always the best idea, as they are more expensive. I did for example research for buying a sim card at Toronto Airport and the value for money was terrible!
If you want the best Canada sim card deals you will have to drive to a mall and walk into one of the official retail stores. On top of that you can now also get sim cards for Canada in bigger gas stations, convenience stores like 7Eleven, Dollarama and even in some grocery stores. However, in these places the service is terrible, meaning these people have zero knowledge of the prepaid sim cards they are selling.
TIP: When buying a Canada prepaid sim card bring your passport! You need it to register you prepaid sim card. And of course make sure your phone is unlocked!
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Mobile internet operators in Canada
Canada is a damn huge country, but not that many people live here. Surprisingly there are a lot of mobile internet providers in Canada. But are they all offering a temporary Canada sim card?
These are the 4 main mobile internet providers in Canada who all offer Canada wide pay as you go sim cards:
- Telus Mobility
- Virgin Mobile
- Bell Canada
On top of that there are a handful local mobile internet providers like Freedom Mobile, Chatr, Videotron Mobile, WIND Mobile, etc. These providers do NOT operate Canada wide, but could still be a good fit if you do a city trip in Canada.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Canada
These are the Canada sim card prices as per May 2022 that you will find on arrival in Canada
1. Telus Mobility
They offer 4 different Canada tourist sim cards:
- $30 CAD = 500 MB data + unlimited sms + calling
- $40 CAD = 2.5 GB data + unlimited sms + calling
- $55 CAD = 4.5 GB data + unlimited sms + calling
- $65 CAD = 8 GB data + unlimited sms + calling
All Telus prepaid sim card packages are valid for 30 days in all of Canada. For more info head over to the Telus prepaid deals on their website.
2. Virgin Mobile Canada
Virgin Mobile operates on the Bell Canada network. They charge $10 CAD for activating their prepaid sim card. On top of that they offer the following sim only deals:
- $40 CAD = 2.5 GB data - unlimited minutes in Canada
- $45 CAD = 4.5 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada
- $55 CAD = 8 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada
- $75 CAD = 10 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada
All Virgin Mobile Canada prepaid sim card packages are valid for 30 days. For more info have a look at the prepaid plans on the Virgin Mobile Canada website.
3. Bell Canada
Bell Canada prepaid sim cards are rather expensive:
- $45 CAD = 4.5 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada
- $55 CAD = 8 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada
Bell Canada offers the exact same prices for prepaid sim card deals as Virgin Mobile Canada. They are both slightly cheaper than Telus prepaid sim cards. Check the latest Bell Canada prepaid plans on its website.
4. Rogers Canada
To be honest I don’t think Rogers prepaid sim cards are even worth mentioning. For example the biggest data bundle is 1 GB and that costs already $65 CAD! May you still be interested then click on the link to go to the prepaid plans on the Rogers Canada website.
Best 4G/5G network in Canada in 2022
Now that we have seen the (ridiculous) prices, let’s have a look at the best mobile network coverage in Canada so that we can determine what is the best sim card for Canada travel. Virgin Mobile operates on the Bell Canada network.
Is there 5G in Canada?
Yes, there is 5G in Canada. Bell, Telus and Rogers all have a 5G network nowadays. However, for prepaid sim card users it is not available yet, only for postpaid users.
Telus Mobility Canada 4G/5G network coverage
Bell Canada network coverage (also Virgin Mobile)
Rogers Mobility Canada network coverage
From the above Canada coverage maps updated in January 2022 it is clear that Telus Mobility has by far the best 4G/5G network coverage in Canada. Especially if you are traveling to West Canada it is recommended to buy a Telus sim card for Canada. Bell Mobility has a great network In East Canada: Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, Halifax.
Best prepaid sim card in Canada in 2022
After reviewing all the pay as you go deals and the network coverage it is an easy conclusion that Telus Mobility is the best prepaid Canada sim card. For $75 CAD you get 20 GB data plus unlimited calling and texting.
But Traveltomtom's recommendation is to order a sim card for Canada online before your trip or an e-sim card. Why? Because they are simply cheaper!
Order a sim card for Canada online
Before diving more into the best prepaid sim card for Canada, I can already tell you that you save a lot of hassle by buying one online. These are the 3 best sim cards for Canada travel I could find online.
- 6 GB data all over Canada
- Valid for 15 days
- 10 GB data all over Canada, USA + Mexico
- Valid for 14 days
- 30 GB data all over Canada
- Unlimited calls and sms to Canada, USA and Mexico
- Valid for 30 days
The above AT&T sim card for Canada is your best buy for your trip to Canada!
All the above sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip to Canada. They are already activated so you will be online as soon as the plane touches the ground. In case you don’t want to order your Canada sim card online, you can also buy a local sim card on arrival.
Also another reminder that the easiest way to get data on your phone in Canada is an e-sim card. Check out the Canada e-sim card offers in the link. Trust me you won't get disappointed as there is a great offer for $36 that gives you 10 GB dat
North America sim cards
As you have read in this article there is FREE ROAMING in all of Mexico, Canada and the USA. Regardless where you buy your sim card. Buying a sim card in the USA, you get free roaming in Canada and Mexico. Buying a sim card in Mexico you get free roaming in Canada and the USA. There are basically no borders for these 3 countries when it comes to North America sim cards. Therefore you might want to buy a USA sim card for your trip to Canada, or even a Mexican sim card.
Canada travel blogs
I hope all the above information for buying a Canada sim card was helpful for your upcoming trip. In case you are heading to Halifax, Montreal, Jasper, Edmonton, Niagara Falls click on the link for my travel guides. Or see all my Canada travel blogs in this link.
In case you still have questions please send me a message on my Instagram account: @traveltomtom or leave me a comment below. Visiting my Instagram account might fuel you with wanderlust though as I am trying to visit every country in the world and have visited more than 130 countries as of May 2022.
Enjoy your trip to Canada!