When traveling to Canada don’t waste money on high roaming costs, buy a prepaid Canada sim card! In this article you will find all the pay as you go sim card operators in Canada, the best network in Canada, the prices and even Canada sim cards that you can order online. A local prepaid sim card is the best way to stay connected and it is easy, reliable, cheapest and gives you the fastest internet connection!
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. This article is updated with the latest information and prices as per September 2021.
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 2021. 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...
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 and many more! How I get to all these places? I am trying to visit every country in the world.
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 2021 or the best Mexico sim cards for those with free roaming in Canada.
Why buying a sim card in Canada
Although most hotels, bars, malls and restaurants have free WiFi 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.
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 expensive and therefore it is wise to look at other North America sim cards or international sim cards that you can buy online and cover Canada.
Buy a Canada sim card online
To save the hassle of finding a mobile phone store on your Canada tripI recommend buying a Canada sim card online. For $49.90 you can already 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.
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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.
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.
Prepaid sim cards for Canada in 2021
These are the Canada sim card prices you will find on arrival in Canada
1. Telus Mobility
They offer 3 different Canada tourist sim cards:
- $45 CAD = 1 GB data - unlimited sms + calling.
- $65 CAD = 3 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 = 1 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada - unlimited texting worldwide.
- $50 CAD = 5 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada - unlimited texting worldwide.
- $65 CAD = 7 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada - unlimited texting worldwide.
- $75 CAD = 10 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada - unlimited texting worldwide.
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 = 1 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada - unlimited texting worldwide.
- $65 CAD = 3 GB data - unlimited calling in Canada - unlimited texting worldwide.
Bell Canada is half the value for money compared to Virgin Mobile Canada. An absolute no-go as they even operate on the same network. If you are still interested to get more info about their prepaid sim cards click here to go to the Bell Canada prepaid plans on their 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 mobile network in Canada
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 (source nperf.com). Virgin Mobile operates on the Bell Canada network. Is there even 5G in Canada yet?
Telus Mobility Canada network coverage
Bell Canada network coverage (also Virgin Mobile)
Rogers Mobility Canada network coverage
From the above Canada coverage maps from January 2021 it is clear that Telus Mobility has by far the best Canada mobile network. With a bit of luck you can also get a 5G signal, but it seems that the Virgin and Bell network is NOT yet ready for 5G.
Best prepaid sim card in Canada
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.
Order a Canada sim cards 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
- Price: $35.95
- 22 GB data in Canada, USA and Mexico
- Unlimited Calling/Texting
- Valid for 15 days
- 5 GB data all over Canada + Mexico
- Unlimited calls and sms to Canada, USA, Europe, Brazil and many more
- Valid for 15 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.
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.