Do I need a Canadian SIM card in Canada?
Meanwhile, many of your home mobile phone providers offer a “travel option” in which you can also use your own plan in Canada and the USA for a fee. A Canadian SIM card is not a must, but it makes Canadian life easier.
For example, if you include your foreign phone number in applications, fewer employers will call back because they don’t like to call foreign phone numbers. Another example is the banks that insist on a Canadian mobile number when opening an account.
What carrier is the best?
There are three main networks in Canada: Telus, Rogers, and Bell. The SIM card plans of the main providers are usually very expensive, so there are third-party providers that can offer cheaper rates. Below is an overview of the most common third-party providers, where you can check the current offers on their homepage because they change constantly.
Don’t expect to have coverage in every corner of Canada as the network in general is very sparse outside of civilization. That applies to all Canadian carriers.
Heads up! Mobile phone plans are very expensive in Canada. The cheap plans from home cannot be compared to Canada. The “cheap” rates of Canadian SIM cards start at $35 upwards (data, talk, text). You first have to decide what is important for a plan. Do I want more data, or no data at all? The prices are also based on what options you choose.
When you look at the phone plans on the below webpages, look for the category “Bring Your Own phone”. Those are the plans that run from month to month and you can cancel them at any time.
- Public Mobile
- Virgin Mobile
- PC Mobile
- Lucky Mobile
- Petro Canada Mobile
Where can I buy a Canadian SIM card?
If you are in Canada, you can order the SIM card online directly from the providers to get it shipped to the Canadian address. If you order online, you also save the activation fee, which costs $50 with some providers. The PhoneBox SIM card can be sent worldwide and for free. That’s the great thing about this SIM card!
A Canadian SIM card can also be bought in various shops in Canada:
- in electronic stores, like The Source, Best Buy
- in the electronics corners of the big supermarkets, e.g. Walmart, Real Canadian Superstore (The Mobile Shop at the entrance)
- in all shopping malls there are smaller mobile shops that offer different carrier options