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Basics

Canada has 3 national mobile providers:

*    Rogers Wireless
*    Bell Mobility
*    Telus Mobility

This is added by their resellers, subsidiaries and MVNOs, we skip regional providers like SaskTel and Bell MTS Wireless (Formerly MTS Mobility), that are only present in one Canadian province.

A list of all providers in Canada can be found here.

Frequencies and coverage[]

In the last few years all networks have moved to the GSM-based technology on 3G and 4G/LTE, CDMA is gone.

All operators have 3G (UMTS) on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. 4G (LTE) is widely available on all providers. If you have signal, chances are you will be getting at least 3G.

The only exception is Freedom Mobile, where its 3G operates on 1700 MHz AWS band in a limited number of cities. They have now deployed LTE on 700 MHz (B13), 1700 MHz (B4/66), and 2600 MHz (B7/38). Most phones will work with at least one of those frequencies and you can ask in store to test before buying.

SaskTel is limited to Saskatchewan, though it will roam on other networks in other provinces, usually at the same rate as is charged in their home province.

In Canada, UMTS-based HSPA+ and DC-HSPA+ used to be called "4G". Real 4G on LTE began some years ago on the Big Three networks on 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4). Bell, Telus, Rogers and Freedom additionally support the 2600 MHz (B7) frequency, which is far more compatible with devices from overseas, but it is usually not deployed throughout the full footprint and is generally confined to the big cities. Bell and Telus have also refarmed some 1900 MHz (B2) to LTE. Extended coverage (meaning Rogers roaming on Bell/Telus, and the reverse) is not available to prepaid customers, while Freedom "Nationwide" coverage (Freedom roaming on any of the big 3) is available on most prepaid plans. As a general rule, Bell and Rogers are stronger in the east and Telus is stronger in the west, but Bell and Telus have implemented RAN sharing, so they can effectively be seen as one network. Also important to note is that Rogers only has "extended" (EXT) coverage in the north of Canada (Yukon/Northwest Territory/Nunavut), so you will not have coverage as a prepaid user on Rogers. If you need coverage in the north, avoid Rogers and their sub-brands, or get an Ice Wireless SIM once you arrive.

5G does exist in Canada, however as of 2023 only the Telus 5G network is available to prepaid customers with some plans from Public Mobile. But most Canadian prepaid plans will still be limited to 3G and 4G. The only regional carrier so far that has a 5G network is SaskTel.

While Public Mobile (TELUS), Lucky Mobile (Bell) and Chatr (Rogers) are known to offer cheaper throttled "3G" plans, wireless providers in Canada have not publicly been known to generally offer lower speeds, network/tower priority or access than to their post-paid brands and customers - this is different than in the United States, where providers are publicly known to throttle mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) actively.

In Canada, the only major difference between the brands and post-paid exists in customer service hours and device availability.

Frequencies used in Canada

Network 3G 4G 5G
Rogers 850, 1900 MHz
Bands 2, 5
600, 700, 850, 1700, 1900, 2600, 2500 MHz
Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 25, 38, 46, 66, 71
600, 1700, 1900, 2500, 3500
Bands n2, n41, n66, n71, n78
Bell 850, 1900 MHz
Bands 2, 5
700, 850, 1700, 1900, 2600, 2500 MHz
Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 29, 46, 66
600, 850, 1700, 1900, 3500
Bands n2, n5, n66, n71, n78
Telus 850, 1900 MHz
Bands 2, 5
700, 850, 1700, 1900, 2300, 2600, 2500 MHz
Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 29, 30, 40, 46, 66
600, 850, 1700, 1900, 3500
Bands n2, n5, n66, n71, n78

Regional providers[]

In some provinces regional providers operate. Their products are sold only within a limited subscription area. They rely on roaming agreements for national coverage. Some regional operators merged with one of the big three in the last years and only these operators are left:

  • Freedom Mobile: operating in Ontario, British Colombia and Alberta. 3G/UMTS is on 1700 MHz (AWS) and 4G/LTE on 600 (B71), 700 (B13), 1700 (B4/66) and 2600 MHz (B7/38) and national roaming on Rogers, Bell and Telus. In 2023, they were acquired by Québecor, the parent company of Vidéotron.
  • Vidéotron: operating its own network in Quebec and East Ontario. 3G/UMTS is on 1700 MHz (AWS) and 4G/LTE on 700 (B13/B17) and 1700 MHz (B4). They have now integrated the Freedom Mobile network into their own, with national roaming on Rogers for places that Freedom does not cover. They so far sell only contracts under their own brand, but they recently changed their previously online-only brand fizz to a prepaid brand and made it available in physical stores in Quebec.
  • SaskTel: operating in the province of Saskatchewan. 3G/UMTS is on 850 and 1900 MHz and 4G/LTE on 1700 (B4) and 2600 MHz (B38) in this Province only. 5G NR is available in 1700 MHz (n66). Canada roaming is on Bell and Telus.
  • Eastlink: operating in the provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Southeast Ontario, Newfoundland and New Brunswick a 4G/LTE network on 1700 MHz (AWS) as a triple player without a prepaid offer. 5G NR is available on 600 MHz (n71).
  • Ice Wireless: operating in the northern territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and northern Quebec, it operates a 3G/UMTS network on 850MHz and 1900MHz and a 4G/LTE network on the same bands (B2 and B5). It now has three prepaid plans with data included along with voice and SMS: $25 for 1 GB, $39 for 20 GB, and $45 for 35 GB.

eSIM[]

From 2018 some Canadian providers offer eSIM support for certain compatible iPhones and a few Android devices. As of 2024 this is offered by Chatr, Bell, Fido, Freedom, Lucky Mobile, Public Mobile, Rogers and Virgin Plus. Instead of a physical SIM you can download an eSIM profile, if you have a phone that supports it. If you want to set up service before arriving in Canada, the following providers support online activation:

  • Bell
  • Virgin Plus
  • Lucky Mobile (free activation on eSIM)
  • Public Mobile (discounted activation fee on eSIM = $5)
  • Freedom Mobile (requires assistance from live chat support)
  • PhoneBox

The following providers support eSIM but require a store visit (no discounts on activation fee):

  • Telus
  • Koodo Mobile
  • Rogers
  • Fido
  • Chatr Wireless

Market situation[]

UK internet comparison site cable.co.uk has ranked Canada as 216th out of 237 countries/territories in terms of mobile data affordability with data costing on average CA$7.32 (approximately US$5.37) per GB (July 2023). This is US$3.72 per GB higher than the global mean, only New Zealand, the US, and Switzerland have more expensive data than Canada amongst OECD countries. [Cable 1]

In Canada, most providers are geared toward postpaid customers with contracts, rather than to prepaid clients. Only Freedom Mobile offers all postpaid plans as a prepaid option too. That’s why Canada has had some of the highest prices for prepaid voice, text and data on the American continent for a very long time. As in the United States, Canadian prices are always given without taxes. The existence of three large wireless companies and their respective sub-brands means that price fixing was common and unfortunately reduced competition due to the expense of building and operating a wireless network. However, Videotron's purchase of Freedom Mobile in 2023 and improved Canadian regulations regarding network sharing has built it into a serious competitor and resulted in a major shake-up of the Canadian market.

Because of the still quite high rates in Canada for short-term visitors (after taking into account the activation fee) , some roaming SIM cards and plans from other countries can offer more choices. They are especially appealing when you travel north from the US or Mexico having bought a SIM plan for the previous country already. So at the end of the article some good roaming plans for Canada are shown.

Fees and taxes[]

Most prepaid providers charge a $10 activation fee to set up service and receive a SIM or eSIM. Exceptions are Telus and Koodo Mobile, which charge $20 but give you the same credit on your SIM or eSIM, Lucky Mobile, which waives this fee for an online eSIM activation and only charges $4 for physical SIM if you buy from Dollarama, and Public Mobile, which discounts the fee by 50% for online activation, but sometimes will waive the fee in stores.

Local sales taxes of 5% to 15% apply additionally depending on province. A monthly provincial or municipal fee for access to the 911 emergency services number is collected by some carriers in certain provinces. The amount of the fee is $0.40 to $0.75 and regulated in each province. Customers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland are affected. This fee is deducted already on the 1st day of usage from your account. Some operators charge a flat rate of $1.25 per month regardless of province (i.e. 7-Eleven). Some others don't charge any (Public Mobile). Data-only plans don't have this fee.

Rogers (Fido, Chatr)[]

Rogers

Rogers and its sub-brands has slightly less coverage than other two but you will not notice much difference unless you are deep in the mountains or in the north where they do not have their own network. A device capable of 850 MHz and 1900 MHz in 3G or 600 MHz (B71), 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4/66)/1900 MHz (B2/25) in 4G is essential. For details see Rogers coverage map. Rogers Coverage Map

Availability and start-up[]

Rogers and Fido SIMs can be purchased online to be sent to a Canadian postal address, in their own shops and at many independent mobile retailers. Rogers Store Locator: here. Fido store locator: here however be aware that the Fido SIM starter is now only available bundled with a $100 annual voice and SMS plan, which can't be recommended here. Data plans listed below for Fido can be added to a SIM that is still active.


Corporate stores (and kiosks) for both Rogers and Fido charge $10 for a SIM card on a new prepaid line. If you have a Costco membership and purchase your SIM card at a Costco store, this is sometimes discounted to $2.

Top-ups[]

Rogers and Fido moved to a new credit card processing system in 2011. As a result, you can no longer top-up your account with a foreign credit card. If you go to a Rogers or Fido store in Canada, you must use cash as the store credit card readers will not accept foreign credit cards as well. This only applies to corporate stores, however, so look for third-party dealers if you wish to use your credit card from home. Top up vouchers of $10, $20, $30, $40 and $100 are available. The vouchers $10-40 give a validity of 30 days, the $100 of 1 year. So you can't keep your SIM alive topping up from abroad. The only workaround solution to save the SIM is a Canadian prepaid VISA like the 3V-Voucher card available in stores to be combined with the SIM.

You can also top up and recharge online via a global online portal such as swiftrecharge.com.

Rogers[]

You can choose from these 30-days combo Talk, Text and Data plans:

Voice Text Data Price
unlimited
Canada-wide
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
0.5 GB $ 30
2.5 GB $ 40
4.5 GB $ 45
8 GB $ 55

There are also these 180-days plans:

Voice Text Data Price
unlimited
Canada-wide
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
6 GB $ 150
18 GB $ 200
30 GB $ 225

The default data rate outside of packages is a choice you get before accessing data: $1 for 10 MB in 24 hours or $5 for 60 MB in 7 days. Overuse fee is $0.15 per MB.

Fido[]

Fido

You can choose from these 30-days combo Talk, Text and Data plans if you already have a SIM:

Voice Text Data Price
unlimited
Canada-wide
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
0.5 GB $ 30
2.5 GB $ 40
4.5 GB $ 45
8 GB $ 55
10 GB $ 75

There are also these 180-day plans:

Voice Text Data Price
unlimited
Canada-wide
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
6 GB $ 150
18 GB $ 200
30 GB $ 225

Overuse rate is $ 0.05 per MB on plans without data paired with a data pack, or $ 0.02 on plans with data included.

Chatr Mobile[]

Chatr

Chatr is another sub-brand of Rogers. They are offered in different stores (locator). Their SIM card or eSIM voucher is sold for $10. Having a foreign credit card, you can expect to use only their vouchers for recharges (see above). For reload points check the locator, but note that if you buy a voucher from a Chatr store, you may be charged a service fee of up to $3. As of February 2019, they no longer limit their plans to certain cities; all allowances are now valid nationwide.

You can choose from these 30-days combo 3G Talk, Text and Data plans (up to 10 Mbps) or 4G Talk, Text and Data plans (up to 150 Mbps):

Voice Texts Data max. Speed Price Other
unlimited
(Canada)
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
0.5 GB 10 Mbps $ 25 0.5 GB of
additional data
when using
auto pay-up
1 GB + 5 GB $ 30 2 GB of
additional data
when using
auto pay-up
1 GB + 5 GB 150 Mbps $ 35
2.5 GB + 20 GB $ 40
5 GB + 27 GB $ 45
unlimited
(Canada & US)
10 GB + 37 GB $ 55
15 GB + 37 GB $ 65
20 GB+ 37 GB $ 75

The bonus allowance indicated with + will be added every month to the given plan for no extra cost with each month's top-up for 12 months (for the 1 GB plans) and for 24 months for all other plans.

On these plans (above), you can add this monthly data add-on up to five times a month:

  • $ 10: 2 GB

On these combo plans data will be throttled having reached volume limits. Plans without data have now been removed, as data add-ons are no longer allowed for those plans.

Additionally, if keeping the SIM for repeat visits, Chatr offers the option to pay daily instead of monthly starting with the following month. Send "ENROLL" to 4962, and you will be able to use the Day Pass rate below as long as you top up less than the full amount of the plan you have chosen:

  • $ 3 for unlimited Canada-wide talk and internatl. text with 250 MB

International Roaming (except in the USA)[]

As of 2022, Rogers no longer allows US roaming on any of its prepaid plans or brands. They will not connect to a US network at all. Depending on the brand, roaming in other countries is either priced by usage at $36/MB (Chatr), disabled entirely (Fido), or charged $15 per day (Rogers).

More info[]

  • Tethering: a profile for the iPhone is only supplied with data packs of 1 GB or more.
  • APN for Rogers: internet.com; Username: wapuser1; Password: wap
  • APN for Fido: ltemobile.apn
  • APN for Chatr: chatrweb.apn

Telus (Koodo / Public Mobile)[]

Telus

Telus's coverage is identical with Bell due to their tower sharing agreements. Telus and its sub-brands Koodo and Public Mobile have a GSM 3G and 4G network which is slightly better than Rogers in terms of speeds and coverage. Their 3G/4G footprint is identical with Bell as they share the same towers. A device capable of 850 MHz and 1900 MHz in 3G or 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4/66)/1900 MHz (B2/25) in 4G is essential. 5G is available on bands n2, n5, n66, n71, n78 with Public Mobile. For coverage map click on coverage.

Availability[]

Telus SIM is $20 and comes with $20 activation credit at Telus stores (store locator). Koodo is also $20 (store locator) and comes with $20 credit. Public Mobile is $10 and sold at Walmart and London Drugs.

Telus plans[]

With Telus, a prepaid plan is not necessary for service, meaning that you are able to use exclusively add-ons. Data add-ons are offered and should be used due to the fact that the default rate for data outside of plans or add-ons is $ 2 per MB.

The following 30-day plans with data are offered:

Plan Voice Text Data
(4G speeds up to 150 Mbps)
Price
Nationwide Talk, Text & Data 35 unlimited
Canada-wide
unlimited 1 GB + 4 GB $ 35
Nationwide Talk, Text & Data 45 5 GB $ 45
Nationwide Talk, Text & Data 55 10 GB $ 55

The 4 GB bonus data for the $35 plan is automatically applied with every month's top-up for 18 months from activation.

These 30-day add-ons for data are offered:

  • $ 10: 100 MB
  • $ 20: 500 MB
  • $ 30: 1 GB

Overuse is charged with $0.15 per MB within the month. Activation is done online or by calling *123.

Koodo plans[]

Kodoo

Their sub-brand Koodo mobile sells prepaid SIM cards for $ 20. However, the high cost of the SIM card is offset by the $20 bonus automatically added to your account during activation. In addition, if you use a referral code when signing up, you can get an additional $10 bonus and 1 GB bonus data.

These base plans are currently offered:

Voice Texts Data max. Speed Price
(30 days)
Price
(360 days)
Other
unlimited
(Canada)
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
0.5 GB 3 Mbps $ 25 none 0.5 GB of
additional data
when using
auto Top-up
1 GB + 5 GB $ 30 2 GB of
additional data
when using
auto Top-up
1 GB + 4 GB 100 Mbps $ 35 $ 350
2.5 GB 3 Mbps $ 35 none
2.5 GB + 20.5 GB 100 Mbps $ 40 $ 400
5 GB 3 Mbps $ 40 $ 400 4 GB of additional

data when using auto Top-up

5 GB + 26 GB 100 Mbps $ 45 $ 450
unlimited
(Canada & US)
10 GB 3 Mbps $ 50 none
10 GB + 41 GB 100 Mbps $ 55
15 GB 3 Mbps $ 60
15 GB + 41 GB 100 Mbps $ 65
20 GB 3 Mbps $ 70
20 GB + 41 GB 100 Mbps $ 75

For the 360 day plans all data is given upfront, without bonus data. The bonus data indicated by + will be added with every top-up for 24 months after activation except for the $30 plan for which it is only added for 12 months after activation.

These are the add-ons available:

Type Data Price
Canada-Wide
Data Booster
100 MB $ 10
500 MB $ 20
1 GB $ 30
US Roaming
Data Booster
1 GB $ 15
2 GB $ 25

Add-ons can be added at any time and do not expire as long as you have a base plan. Given the high price of in-Canada data boosters, consider buying a plan larger than what you will need to avoid the risk of having to pay these higher prices.

Occasionally, Koodo runs "double booster" promotions where one can purchase a booster and receive two for the price of one.

Top-ups

Telus allows recharges through credit card, but your credit card's billing address must be in a Canadian province. Koodo offer reloads through any international credit card (unlike Rogers). They also sell top-up cards through various retail outlets like supermarkets, gas stations or pharmacies. $10 gives 30 days of validity, $25 and $50 each 60 days and $100 one year. After that, the SIM is useless and the remaining credit will be lost.

Public Mobile[]

Public-Mobile-Logo

Old Public Mobile Logo

Public mobile is their 3rd brand with a better pricing for lower tiers. You can get a SIM card or eSIM from any Canadian Walmart store (locator), The Mobile Shop (locator), Wow! Mobile boutiques (store locator), or London Drugs for $10 (this fee is sometimes waived if the SIM is activated in store) or you can activate an eSIM on the Public Mobile app without visiting a store if you have a US or Canadian bank card (credit, debit, or prepaid).

You do not need Canadian credit card to use their service: you can pay cash or any foreign credit card at a store at time of activation. Different store chains have different payment voucher increments. Some have $10, $20 and some are missing $15 ones. If you can't fit your desired plan into one of those, then look for Real Canadian Superstore (where The Mobile Shop stores are generally located), which also carries $5 vouchers.

Voice Texts Data max. Speed Price Other
unlimited
(Canada)
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
4 GB 100 Mbps $ 24
10 GB $ 39
20 GB 250 Mbps $ 45 5G enabled
30 GB $ 55
60 GB $ 65 5G enabled, valid in US roaming

These are the add-ons available:

Type Voice and Texts Data Price
Canada-Wide
Data Add-Ons
none 200 MB $ 15
1 GB $ 25
US Data Only 250 MB $ 10
1 GB $ 20
3 GB $25
US Roaming unlimited US
Talk and Text
3 GB $30

More info[]

  • APN for Telus with smartphones: sp.telus.com
  • APN for Telus with modems and routers: isp.telus.com
  • APN for Koodo: sp.koodo.com
  • APN for Public Mobile: sp.mb.com
  • Proxy for all brands: 74.49.0.18

Bell Canada (Virgin mobile, Lucky Mobile)[]

Bell

Bell's coverage is identical with Telus, due to their tower sharing agreements.

A device capable of 850 MHz and 1900 MHz in 3G or 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4/66)/1900 MHz (B2) in 4G is essential. 4G/LTE is given out for prepaid: Bell Coverage Map

Availability and start-up[]

Prepaid SIM cards for data are sold in Bell shops (store locator) for $9.95 without credit. No ID necessary, they only ask for your name. They activate the SIM in store and give you your number that is assigned to that SIM.

Bell is the first Canadian carrier to offer prepaid eSIM activations online when you bring your own phone, although others have followed.

Voice and Data Prepaid Plans[]

Bell now has a few monthly prepaid plans with data included:

Voice Text Data
(4G speeds up to 150 Mbps)
Price Other
unlimited Canada-wide unlimited 0.5 GB $ 30 0.5 GB of
additional data
when using
auto-pay
1 GB $ 35 2 GB of
additional data
when using
auto-pay
2.5 GB $ 40
5 GB $ 45 10 GB of
additional data
when using
auto-pay
10 GB $ 55
20 GB $ 75
40 GB $ 85

Data add-ons:[]

These data add-ons for the voice and data plan, you activate online in store or later after having recharged. The cheapest base option is at $ 5 with 10 mins included. They are the only option, that don't have to be locked to a (Canadian) credit card. You can use Bell's refill vouchers instead. The plans renew automatically, if there is credit. To stop, you must call customer service or cancel it online. Overuse is charged at $0.15 per MB.

  • 100 MB: $ 10
  • 500 MB: $ 20
  • 1 GB: $ 30
  • 2 GB: $ 50

Top-ups[]

You can recharge your SIM with a (mostly Canadian) credit card. Otherwise, you can buy refill cards in many stores like supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies. $15 give 30 days validity, $25 and $50 give 60 days and $100 a year. After that, your account will be closed, the SIM deactivated and the credit is lost.

More info[]

  • all data-add ons include tethering
  • APN: pda.bell.ca

Virgin Plus[]

Virgin Plus logo

New Virgin Plus Logo

Virgin Plus in Canada is a MVNO owned by Bell. Virgin Plus was formerly named Virgin Mobile (up until 16/JUL/2021).

Availability[]

The SIM card is sold for $10 in their stores (store locator) (prepaid description) or for $4 at Dollarama stores as a triple SIM (mini, micro and nano sizes) without value. There you have to choose a plan.

The only prepaid plan without a base rate is the by-the-minute plan. Default rate for data is $1 for 10 MB in 24 hours on 3G.

Top-up cards are available in the Virgin stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. $15 gives 30 days of validity, $25 and $50 give 60 days and $100 one year. After that the account and SIM will be discontinued and its credits will be lost.

Prepaid plans[]

They also offer plans with talk and text and nationwide data for 30 days:

Voice Text Data
(4G speeds up to 150 Mbps)
Price Other
pay per use pay per use 0.25 GB $ 15 0.1 GB of
additional data
when using
auto-pay
1 GB $ 28
unlimited Canada-wide unlimited 0.5 GB $ 30 0.25 GB of
additional data
when using
auto-pay
2.5 GB $ 40 0.5 GB of
additional data
when using
auto-pay
4.5 GB $ 45
8 GB $ 55
10 GB $ 75

Overuse is at $ 0.15 per MB.

More info[]

Lucky Mobile[]

Lucky mobile

Lucky Mobile is a new prepaid sub-brand of Bell Mobility launched in December 2017. It's a no-frills operator considered to be "low-cost" by Canadian standards and uses the Bell network in 3G and 4G/LTE.

Availability[]

Lucky Mobile was initially available to consumers in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, in 2018 extended to Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The service was extended in summer 2018 to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador. So in most major cities across the country in stores like Walmart, Wireless Wave, TBooth wireless, Wireless etc., Cellular Point, Visions Electronics and select The Source locations (store locator) it can now be found. SIM cards are sold for $10 except at Dollarama stores, where it is sold for $4. eSIM activation can be performed without a SIM card charge by calling 1-833-885-8259 on an existing phone.

All plans are prepaid and require top-ups. You can link them to a credit card by auto-pay which gives additional data each month, but only US- or Canadian cards are accepted. For manual top-ups all international credit, but not debit cards will do. Finally, they also sell top-up cards starting at $15 in many locations. Check balance by *58259.

Lucky Mobile’s plans are now all nation-wide; zone plans are no longer being sold to new customers.

Canada Plans[]

With a Canada Plan you can use data nationwide on Bell's network. Here you need to choose a base plan for talk and text and an additional add-on for data. These plans are offered for 30 days:

Voice Texts Data max. Speed Price Other
unlimited
(Canada)
unlimited
(dom./interntl.)
0.5 GB 3 Mbps $ 25 Basic data

allowance doubled
when using
auto Top-up

1.5 GB + 5 GB $ 30
10 GB + 18 GB 150 Mbps $ 40
15 GB + 18 GB 150 Mbps $ 45
unlimited
(Canada & US)
25 GB + 18 GB 150 Mbps $ 55
50 GB + 18 GB 150 Mbps $ 75

If you go over your monthly data allotment, speed is reduced to up to 128 Kbps.

You can continue using data at these reduced speeds or you can purchase more data with a Data Add-on:

  • $ 15: 2 GB nationwide data

More info[]

Freedom Mobile[]

Freedom Mobile logo 2016

new logo

Freedom Mobile is the 4th carrier in the country, but has very limited home network coverage, as they use their own infrastructure and have yet to expand outside of urban areas in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. In 2023 it was taken over by Videotron and has now supplemented its own coverage with Videotron's network in Quebec as well as full access to the big 3 in national roaming.

Freedom Mobile has 3G on 1700 MHz (AWS-1, band 4) reaching 44% of the population, 4G on 1700 MHz (B4/66), 600 MHz (B71) and 700 MHz (B13) throughout their network with 2600 MHz (B7) in downtown city centres. It's very unlikely that a cheaper device from Europe/Asia will fully work on their network other than limited band 7 support, but higher-end phones like iPhones will be fully or mostly compatible. On this coverage map the Freedom Mobile network is in a dark shade of orange. Yellow refers to national roaming coverage, and light orange refers to places where you may or may not get Freedom Mobile signal. They have a phone checker by IMEI no. to see, if your phone works.

Their network upgrades have improved network quality and enabled additional features including VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling, however data speeds may still be slower than on one of the big three. If volume of data or price is more important than speed, then Freedom Mobile is the most affordable prepaid option in Canada.

With their second ownership change, being acquired by Videotron, they have now made a new push to become competitive in the market, resulting in better pricing than any of the big 3 once again.

Availability[]

The SIM card or eSIM is available for $10 in their stores (store locator), where you can buy refills as well. If you want to activate an eSIM online, you will need to activate service through live chat support, as normal online ordering only supports mailing a SIM to a physical address.

Freedom Mobile owns their own network which, at the moment, is only present in major and medium-sized cities. However, as part of Videotron, they have access to Videotron's full network in Ottawa and Quebec, and better-negotiated roaming agreements have resulted in all plans including domestic roaming, and many even including US roaming.

Nationwide (Prepaid Canada-wide or Canada+US)[]

All prepaid plans are now valid both on their own network, on Videotron's network in Quebec, and on the big 3 in domestic roaming. "Canada and US" plans are also fully valid in US roaming on AT&T.

  • Unlimited Canada-wide voice and SMS and 1 GB data: $24
  • Unlimited Canada-wide voice and SMS and 4 GB data: $29
  • Unlimited Canada and US voice and SMS and 20 GB data: $34
  • Unlimited Canada and US voice and SMS and 50 GB data: $39
  • Unlimited Canada and US voice and SMS and 75 GB data: $45
  • Unlimited Canada and US voice and SMS and 100 GB data: $55

Note that you may see these plans advertised at lower prices, but those are inclusive of a $5/month "digital discount" that requires linking a credit card for automatic top-up.

Add-ons are available for additional data both in Canada and internationally, valid for 30 days:

  • 1 GB Nationwide data: $15
  • 5 GB Nationwide data: $25
  • 1 GB in 73 destinations: $20
  • 5 GB in 73 destinations: $30
  • 1 GB in 94 destinations: $30
  • 5 GB in 94 destinations: $50

Passes with international roaming include local calls and SMS as well as calls and SMS back to Canada. To check if one of the passes applies to where you will be going, use Freedom's roaming checker here.

More info[]

Fizz (Videotron/Freedom Mobile)[]

Fizz is Videotron's budget brand, and operates on Videotron and Freedom Mobile's network, with national roaming on Rogers available where these networks are not. It was previously not listed here because it was a contract-only provider, however they have now become prepaid (although requiring a credit or debit card for automatic monthly payments instead of allowing top-up vouchers) and have started stocking SIMs in stores in Quebec, Ottawa, BC, and Alberta.

Within Quebec and in Ottawa, Videotron's network operates on band 4 (2100/1700MHz) and Band 12 (700MHz) 4G LTE, and outside Quebec, it uses Freedom Mobile (as "home" area) and Rogers (as an MVNO); see their listings for network bands. No 5G access is available on Fizz.

Availability[]

Within Quebec, Fizz SIMs are available at Couche-Tard convenience stores and Jean Coutu drugstores as well as in Montreal Metro stations. In BC and Alberta, they are available in Circle K stores. In other "subscription areas" outside Quebec, it is only available online to be delivered to a postal address. No eSIMs are available. You will need to activate service online and link your credit or debit card for automatic payments (foreign bank cards are accepted). Despite this, it can be worth it for the very low price in these areas.

Pricing[]

Fizz pricing is option-based; there is a base price for a given amount of data in Quebec/Ottawa, Canada, and Canada+US plans (Quebec option only available when signing up with an address in Quebec or Ottawa), and adding voice, SMS, and voicemail adds to the price. Prices for data will be given below, then prices of voice, SMS, and voicemail add-ons given below that. Note that due to ongoing promotions, some data tiers are cheaper than the tier below (for example, compare 15 GB pricing to 10 GB pricing in Quebec).

In Quebec/Ottawa
Amount Quebec Canada Canada+US
1 GB $15 $19 $23
2 GB $16 $20 $24
4 GB $17 $21 $25
10 GB $18 $22 $26
15 GB $17 $21 $25
20 GB $23 $27 $31
25 GB $23 $27 $31
45 GB $28 $32 $36
In other "subscription areas"
Amount Canada Canada+US
2 GB $12 $16
3 GB $14 $18
6 GB $15 $19
10 GB $16 $20
20 GB $18 $22
30 GB $20 $24
40 GB $22 $26
60 GB $28 $32

For voice/SMS, prices are given below:

  • Unlimited voice: $4
  • Unlimited SMS: $2
  • Voicemail: $1

For additional data, prices are as follows:

Canada:

  • 500 MB for $10
  • 1 GB for $20
  • 2 GB for $30

US roaming:

  • 500 MB for $5
  • 1 GB for $8
  • 2 GB for $10

Given the prices for additional data within Canada, it is significantly cheaper to buy one tier above what you think you will need than to pay for additional data on a one-off basis.

Cancellation

Because Fizz plans automatically renew, once you are done with your service you will need to cancel it here. Cancellation requests submitted within 15 days of activation will take effect immediately and receive a full refund as long as less than 50% of the purchased data allowance has been used, while cancellation requests submitted after that time or if more than 50% of the allowance has been used will not be refunded and will automatically take effect on the last day of the billing cycle (30 days after activation or last renewal).

More info[]

7-Eleven Speak out []

Seven eleven

These two MVNOs operate on the Rogers network in 3G (see Basics and Rogers for details). Given the low amount of data you get for the price, they are hard to recommend unless you need the very long validity period this provider gives for top-ups.

Availability[]

7-Eleven SIM cards are available in 7-Eleven stores and online. The stores can be found only in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan (store locator), not in Quebec for instance, though the SIMs operate nationwide. They are sold for $10 and available in standard, micro, and nano SIM sizes. Check which one you get some stores have old stock that are either size, or newer combo style.

Top-Ups[]

The big advantage of this 7/11 card is that a recharge of only $25 keeps it alive for one year. Recharge coupons can be bought at 7-Eleven stores and online. The top-up can be applied online or over the phone. This is the only prepaid plan in Canada that gives you 1 year validity for only $25 and is ideal for long term voice usage (ie: you only call 10 minutes a month and need it for 6 months) or for people who want to keep the same number over multiple but occasional trips.

7-Eleven packages

There are now five different data plans available. The $25 plan is pay per use for voice and SMS, other plans have unlimited domestic minutes and SMS to anywhere in the world included.

  • $ 25 for 1 GB (+1 GB bonus per month for the first 3 months)
  • $ 35 for 2.75 GB (+2.75 GB bonus per month for the first 3 months)
  • $ 40 for 5 GB (+5 GB bonus per month for the first 3 months)
  • $ 45 for 7 GB (+7 GB bonus per month for the first 3 months)
  • $ 50 for 9 GB (+9 GB bonus per month for the first 3 months)

To add a plan, you must have an airtime balance greater than $2 + the amount of the plan you're activating, and your account must not expire within the next 30 days. Data usage outside packages will be charged at $0.15 per MB with no add-ons available. Packs renew every month. To start or stop log online to your account or call customer service at 611.

More info[]

PhoneBox []

Phonebox logo

PhoneBox is a Canadian MVNO on Rogers network in Canada. It was created in 2011 in Vancouver and added stores in other cities.

Start-up and availability[]

With PhoneBox you can obtain a SIM card (nano, micro or regular) for $10 and bring your own device, rent a device or buy a new device in one of their stores (store locator). An eSIM is now available as well online. You just have to bring your valid ID (such as passport) and a credit card, both of which do not have to be Canadian issued. There is a store in Vancouver and one in Toronto for in-person assistance, but they will deliver to any worldwide address without surcharges.

Plans[]

PhoneBox's current prepaid plans are listed below.

All of these plans include unlimited Canada-wide calls and texting. These plans include data in 4G/LTE and unlimited voice and text in Canada plus a data pack:

  • $ 9: 2 GB for 7 days
  • $19: 5 GB for 7 days
  • $ 35: 5 GB for 30 days
  • $ 45: 20 GB for 30 days
  • $ 55: 35 GB for 30 days
  • $ 65: 45 GB for 30 days
  • $ 100: 100 GB for 90 days

Top-up data is at $15 per 1 GB.

More info[]

Foreign SIM cards roaming in Canada[]

Canada has the highest prices for data on the North American continent right now. This makes it quite expensive to buy a local SIM card for a short visit. Alternatively, you may think of bringing a SIM for roaming from the US, Mexico or overseas. Compare their rates with local Canadian rates given above.

Roaming SIM cards from US providers[]

If you are coming or travelling north from the USA, it may be more efficient to use your US home plan or buy a US prepaid plan to be used north of the border. Many US contracts include data, minutes and texts in Canada now, so check it out.

There are a few prepaid plans by US carriers that include heavily reduced Canadian data, voice and texts debited on the domestic US allowance (given $ prices are in US$):

  • T-Mobile Prepaid: Canada coverage with the $5 "Talk, Text, and up to 5GB of 4G data in Mexico & Canada" add-on to any plan. After the 5 GB 4G/LTE data allotment is used up, unlimited throttled data is provided.
  • Metro by T-Mobile: with the $5 per month "Mexico and Canada Unlimited" add-on, up to 5 GB in Canada can be used as domestic data on rate plans $40 or more
  • AT&T Prepaid: Data in Canada is included on any plan except the 5 GB $ 30 plan (25 GB per month limit applies to unlimited plans). 2G speeds may apply.
  • Cricket Wireless: Data in Canada is included on any plan except the 5 GB $ 30 plan. 2G speeds may apply.
  • Verizon Wireless: Data in Canada is included in all plans up to 2 GB per day, after speed reduced to 3G.

Most roaming plans given out by US providers in Canada are restricted by their Terms of Service (TOS). You have to give a US home address and should have more than 50% domestic usage. So it can't be used for permanent roaming. However, the period of time used by the US provider varies. For example, T-Mobile and Cricket measure time and usage over a 90-day period (Verizon applies 60-day period) to decide when to cut off for excessive int'l usage, so if you stay in Canada for less than that or you used a lot of data in the US before going to Canada, you should be fine. If you are concerned, go with AT&T; they do not restrict Canada usage on their prepaid plans (except for the 25 GB limit on unlimited plans) as long as you initially activate service in the US.

Roaming SIM cards from Latin American providers[]

Some prepaid plans of the Mexican network providers now include roaming data in the US and Canada too without surcharges. Thus, the lowest rates can be obtained for now using a Mexican SIM card on roaming in Canada. For more details about the plans, check the Mexico article:

  • Telcel: all Amigo data packages of 400 MB or more and all combined combo packs of Amigo sin limite include data (combo: plus talk and texts) in Canada and the US without surcharges at Mexican rates.
  • Movistar: combo packages of the ilimitado prepaid plan contain for MX$ 200 1.5 GB and for MX$ 300 2 GB to be used on roaming without surcharge plus unlimited calling and texting in Canada and the US.

To some Movistar networks in Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama and Costa Rica) roaming in Canada can be added for around $5 per day in their sin fronteras program.

Roaming SIM cards from other national providers[]

  • Robi Bangladesh: Applicable for roaming in Canada and 76 other countries.
    • Roaming Cost:
      • BDT 99 (US$ 1.56) per day or
      • BDT 599 (USD 9.39) per week or
      • BDT 2,599 (US$40.76) per month.
      • Each of these packages give you unlimited data. 3G speed capped at 1GB/day. Then 2G afterwards.
      • For details please see Robi Bangladesh
  • Free Mobile France: 35 GB 4G data, unlimited calls and SMS included in their €19.99 plans (+ €10 SIM fee), for more see France chapter. This SIM card is only sold in France.
  • TIM In Viaggio Pass Italy: users of prepaid TIM SIM Cards from Italy can activate the In Viaggio Pass for €20. The pass includes 500 minutes of voice traffic (= 250 mins incoming and 250 mins outgoing), 500 SMS and 10 GB data valid for 30 days in Europe (incl. Switzerland, Monaco, UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Faroe Islands), USA, Canada, and Brazil. For more see Italy chapter.
  • Orange Poland: users of prepaid Orange SIM cards from Poland can activate GO 10 GB package valid in selected countries for 15 days for 79 zł (= €18.50). 5G is available on Bell and Telus network, rest at 4G. For more see Poland chapter.
  • Three Hong Kong: International Roaming Mobile Data Prepaid SIM for HK$ 280-328 (around CA$ 50) giving unlimited 3G data on Rogers for 14 days, for more see Hong Kong chapter. Alternatively, if you have a phone that supports eSIM like the iPhone XS, their new International Roaming eSIM is at HK$138 (around CA$ 24) and offers 10 days of "unlimited" 2G/3G/LTE on Rogers with a FUP is 500 MB per calendar day based on Hong Kong time (which translates to the FUP allowance resetting between 8:00 AM and 12:30 PM depending on where you are in Canada). Overuse in a given day is throttled to 128kbps. Unlike the physical SIM, the eSIM can be purchased from anywhere in the world directly from 3 with a Visa/MasterCard/American Express credit card from anywhere and activated on arrival in Canada (you type in your current mobile phone number and email, receive a one-time code to your e-mail, confirm the code and pay, and then receive an email with the activation QR code to scan).
  • StarHub Mobile Singapore: the Happy Roam Mobile Prepaid SIM has multiple data plans that you can purchase as needed: e.g. SGD 7 for 1 GB data/7 days, SGD 20 for 3.6 GB data/30 days, for details check Singapore.

International eSIMs for Canada[]

For those who do not live in or have a package in the aforementioned countries, international eSIMs can be a popular, more cost-effective alternative. However, you need to ensure your device is eSIM compatible. Please see the article eSIM for more info on the eSIM in general. This section focuses on the popular international eSIM providers that offer national plans for Canada. Make sure to compare pricing before buying; recent pricing changes have led to lower per-GB prices for local SIMs, so for higher usage, a local SIM may still be more competitive. For example, for the price of Airalo's 20 GB plan you could get 51 GB on Koodo Mobile or 100 GB on Freedom Mobile after including their activation fees.

Airalo[]

Price(in US$) Data(in GB) Duration(in days) Network 5G? Calls & SMS Effective cost(in US$ per GB*)
6.00 1 7 Rogers, Bell, Telus Bell and Telus only 6.00
11.00 2 15 5.50
15.00 3 30 5.00
18.00 5 3.60
35.00 10 3.50
49.00 20 2.45

Nomad[]

Price(in US$) Data(in GB) Duration(in days) Network 5G? Calls & SMS Effective cost(in US$ per GB*)
7.00 1 7 Bell, Telus, SaskTel 7.00
6.00 1 30 Bell, Rogers, Telus, SaskTel, Videotron 6.00
12.00 3 4.00
18.00 5 3.60
32.00 10 3.20

GoMoWorld[]

Price(in €) Data(in GB) Duration(in days) 5G? Calls & SMS Effective cost(in € per GB*)
3.99 1 7 3.99
19.99 10 30 2.00

Holafly[]

Holafly offers unlimited internet for Canada, although local networks may impose a fair use policy data of 3 GB per day, after which data will be throttled until the next day in the plan.

Price(in US$) Duration(in days) 5G? Calls & SMS Effective cost(in US$ per GB*)
27 5 1.80
34 7 1.62
37 10 1.23
47 15 1.04
54 20 0.90

*based on a 3GB per day expected fair use policy


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