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Mobile internet in Canada: What is the best option?

If you want to have internet during your trip to Canada, then learn all about the alternatives to stay connected.

31 sierpnia, 2023

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If your next destination is this coutry, and you want to enjoy your trip fully, you are going to need a way to get mobile internet in Canada and avoid international roaming. This way, you can find a great restaurant, call an Uber, or use Google Maps to ask for directions. You will be able to keep in touch with your loved ones using WhatsApp.

We will tell you all you need to know about how to connect to mobile internet in Canada. One of the greatest options is the Holafly eSIM card for Canada because of its cheap price and the simple installation and activation process. Keep reading to learn more!

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How to get cellular internet: all the available alternatives

There are many ways to connect to the internet during your trip. Some of them are the following: eSIM card for Canada, Pocket WiFi, prepaid SIM cards, international roaming, and public WiFi networks. Here we are going to help you decide which alternative is best for you.

eSIM card for Canada

The eSIM card or virtual SIM card is the digital version of the traditional SIM card we all know. It works thanks to a device that is already installed on your cellphone and lets you install eSIM profiles with cellphone numbers and data plans. Technology has advanced a lot, nowadays, remote work has become very popular, and that’s one of the reasons why we need to be connected all the time.

The eSIM card is expected to replace the traditional SIM card in the future. It has become very popular among travelers and tourists, and it will be available for all smart devices.

In this case, we are going to talk about eSIM cards for travelers. These types of devices can be used in many different situations and for different purposes, but the advantages they offer for international trips are very attractive so that you can have a cellular internet connection in Canada with one of them.

Holafly eSIM card for Canada: data plans and prices

eSIM for Canada
Unlimited data eSIM for Canada from Holafly.

Holafly is one of the virtual stores where you can purchase an eSIM card. You only need to visit their website, choose the data plan that best suits you, and complete the purchase process. The Holafly eSIM card for Canada has the following characteristics:

  • High-speed connection in Toronto, Quebec, Vancouver, and all of Canada.
  • Unlimited data plans are available.
  • You receive the QR code to connect immediately.
  • You keep your WhatsApp number.
  • Easy to configure, with no registrations or subscriptions.
  • It connects to the best Canadian carrier network.
  • Forget about roaming and public WiFi networks.

Their prices and data plans are the following:

Days of UseMobile DataPrice (USD)
5 DaysUnlimited data27 USD
7 DaysUnlimited data34 USD
10 DaysUnlimited data37 USD
15 DaysUnlimited data47 USD
20 DaysUnlimited data54 USD
Table 1. Price comparison of the different eSIM plans of Holafly

Prepaid SIM card for Canada

Prepaid SIM cards for Canada are similar to the ones you use in your country from your local operator. All you have to do is to put it on your cellphone when you land at your destination, and that’s it.

Its features are very similar to those offered by eSIM. You can enjoy excellent internet coverage, share data with other devices, and choose between different delivery options, one of which is free on some ocassions.

Pocket WiFi for Canada

It is a portable device that will let you have cellular internet in Canada as long as you carry it with you. You can take it anywhere and be connected, no matter where you are! The problem is that if you lose this device or you break it, you will have to pay a fee or penalty that can be above $300. Another thing you have to know about this alternative is that you have to pay for the renting or purchase of the device and for the data plan as well. Basically, everything is paid for separately.

Some companies that offer this type of service are Travel WiFi and Cello Mobile and renting one of their services could cost anywhere from $60 to around $349.99 for a week of use. In addition, in numerous instances, you will have to pay for the amount of delivery, extra accessories, and even insurance for the device. So, the final price could be pretty high.

International Roaming service in Canada

On the other hand, international roaming from your domestic operator is another option with which you can have an internet connection in Canada. However, you must consider that this is one of the most expensive options, as roaming charges you for each used MB. Here is a list of the most popular operators worldwide to give you an idea of the prices.

Cellular operatorPrice in USD
Vodafone $6.05 / MB
Orange $12.1 / MB
AT&T $2 / MB
T-Mobile$15 / MB
Telstra$3 / MB
Optus$1 / MB
Table 2. Comparison of roaming prices of different mobile operators.

As you can see in the previous chart, the price of the roaming service goes from $1 to $15 per MB, a price that can be very high if you consume a lot of data. However, prices vary by operator. Therefore, we recommend you check your domestic operator’s prices before activating the service.

Public WiFi

If you want to save some money, public WiFi can be a great option. The problem is that you will have to look for places that offer public WiFi. With a WiFi-searcher, you will be able to use this alternative. But it is not the best, since its internet connection may not be very good.

Also, keep in mind that if you connect to a public internet network, your information could be at risk. That is why if you do connect to one of these free networks, we recommend that you do not log into banks or place passwords on any web pages or applications.

What network frequencies work in Canada?

Firstly, you have to know what a frequency band is. We can tell you that a frequency band lets your cellphone be connected to the internet in a particular country.

What is a frequency band?

As we already told you, your cellphone can connect to the internet with them. For example, if you have a Samsung Galaxy 20, and you want to use it in Canada, it will work because it is compatible with the frequency bands of that country.

Why are frequency bands different?

Each frequency band may work or not with a particular device and provides internet from a local operator.

What frequency bands are available in Canada?

You can check below all the frequencies available in Canada.

  • 2G: There are no frequencies.
  • 3G: 850MHz, 1900MHz, AWS.
  • 4G: Band2-1900MHz, Band4-AWS, Band7-2600MHz, Band13,700MHz, Band17-700MHz, Band40-2300MHz, Band41-2500MHz.
Operator2G3G4G
Bell MobilityNo frequencies.850MHz, 1900MHzBand7-2600MHz, Band4-AWS, Band17-700MHz, Band2-1900MHz
Sask TelNo Frequencies.850MHz, 1900MHzBand4-AWS, Band41-2500MHz
VideotronNo Frequencies.AWSBand13,700MHz, Band4-AWS
TelusNo Frequencies.850MHz, 1900MHzBand40-2300MHz, Band7-2600MHz, Band4-AWS, Band2-1900MHz, Band17-700MHz
Table 3. Network frequencies of the different mobile operators in Canada.

How do I know if my cellphone is compatible?

Nowadays, there are many compatible cell phones, some of which are iPhone devices and Samsung, which have a lot of eSIM compatible devices, the main one being the Samsung S20.

On Kimovil.com you can see what network frequencies that work with your cellphone. It’s not difficult to go online and look for more information, just follow these steps:

  • Enter kimovil.com/en/frequency-checker
  • Then go to Does my cellphone work in…? Click on the drop on the menu, and pick the country.
  • Write and pick your cellphone in the search, and that’s it.

Under the search bar, you will find the list of compatible frequencies organized like this: coverage type (2G, 3G, and 4G), cellular operator, and coverage.

(You may be interested in how to have mobile internet in Los Angeles)

Where can I find great 3G and 4G coverage in Canada?

On the nperf.com web, you will be able to know in which zones you can find great 3G and 4G coverage and in which don’t for cellular operators (Bell Mobility, SaskTel, Videotron, and Telus).

Bell Mobility 3G and 4G coverage map

It has coverage, mainly in the southeast area and some cities in the southwest, some bordering the United States. This operator covers the southern part of the provinces of Ontario (Ottawa), Quebec (Montreal), Nova Scotia (Halifax), part of Newfoundland and Labrador, and some cities in southern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

SaskTel 3G and 4G coverage map

SaskTel has coverage only in the province of Saskatchewan, in the cities of Yorkton, Saskatoon, Swift Current, North Battleford, Prince Albert, and its capital, Regina.

Videotron 3G and 4G coverage map

It has coverage only in the southern cities of the province of Quebec: Montreal, Pontiac, Abitibi, Shawinigan, Charlevoix, and others.

Telus 3G and 4G coverage map

Telus has better coverage than the previous operators, mainly in the southeast and some cities in the southwest. Telus covers the southern provinces of Ontario (Ottawa), Quebec (Montreal), Nova Scotia (Halifax), parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, and some cities in southern and central British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Prepaid Canadian SIM cards

Rogers Prepaid SIM card

Rogers, one of the most important operators in the country, offers a SIM card (that also lets you make calls) at only 0.65 dollars per month, and you can top it up it with data in the following monthly packages: 100 MB at $8.62, 250 MB at $17.25, 500 MB at $25.87, 1 GB at $34.49, and 2 GB at $43.11. After exceeding the data consumption of your package, you will be charged for each 10 MB consumed in the span of 24 hours 8.62 dollars, and for each 60 MB in the span of seven days, 4.31 dollars.

Telus Prepaid SIM card

The next largest operator in the country, Telus, offers three alternatives to stay connected to the Internet, and also provides free local calls and SMS. The first one offers 250 MB at $31.90, the second 500 MB at $38.80, and the third 1 GB at $57.77. After consuming your data, you can increase your package to 100 MB ($8.62), 500 MB ($21.56), and 1 GB ($25.87).

Bell Mobility prepaid SIM card

The Bell Prepaid SIM cards cost $9.95 and also include one of the data packages that come in five presentations: The one that gives you 100 MB at $8.62, 500 MB at $21.56, 1 GB to $25.87and 2 GB to $43.11. Also, there is one that gives you 20 MB at $1.72for 24 hours. If you consume all your data, each MB costs $0.15.

The prices and coverage of these providers are less competitive than those offered by Holafly, with the benefit that you already have it before you travel and you will be connected to the internet as soon as you land.

Can a SIM card from Canada work in the United States?

Yes, just like we have told you in the article: Internet in the United States, a SIM card from North America can have coverage in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

There are some SIM cards for all of North America, you can read about them below:

  • America Travel SIM: A SIM card with cellular data offers 5 GB (LTE) for North America, for 15 days at $32.99.
  • AT&T Prepaid: It offers a SIM card with cellular data with 6 GB 4G LTE for Canada, Mexico, and the USA, for 30 days at $55.90.

Which option should I pick to get cellular internet in Canada?

In this article, we have shown you all the alternatives to get cellular internet in Canada: the Holafly eSIM card, public WiFi, Pocket WiFi, international roaming, and the traditional SIM card. After reading this article, you may have noticed that the best way to connect to the internet is by getting an eSIM card: you will be connected all the time, it is a safe option, and you won’t have to pay the expensive price of international roaming from your local provider.

With the eSIM card, you will be able to connect in the main Canadian cities, like Quebec City, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and more, without having to use a physical SIM card or chip. Some of the advantages it has are that you can save cellular data, and it does not occupy space in your cellphone, so you can keep your traditional SIM card as you use the international eSIM!

We hope this article has helped you pick the best alternative for your needs and budget.