If you’re travelling to Canada, having the right SIM card can save you lots of money. Discover the best value SIM cards for using your mobile phone in Canada.

Every year, more than 700,000 Brits make a visit to Canada, with popular destinations including Vancouver, Toronto, Banff, and the Niagara Falls. Whether you’re there to enjoy the vibrant landscapes or the beautiful cities, it’s likely you’ll want to use your mobile phone whilst you’re there.

Having access to your mobile phone in Canada makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family when you travel. It’s also helpful for finding your way around (e.g. with directions on Google Maps) and for calling a taxi, your hotel, or a nearby restaurant for reservations.

Thankfully, it’s now really easy to use your mobile phone in Canada with packages available from only £15 for 8 days usage on a UK-based SIM card. You’ll be able to use your roaming package in both Canada and the USA. Alternatively, you can buy a local SIM card from the Canadian networks, or you can get a data-only eSIM for Canada.

In this article, we’ll review the best SIM cards for using your mobile phone in Canada. This includes roaming on a UK SIM card, getting a local SIM card in Canada or buying a Canadian eSIM online. We’ll also discuss network compatibility on your UK phone.

Best Canada SIM Card: VOXI by Vodafone (UK-based SIM)
Recommended Plan: £15 for 8 days usage in Canada
(up to 2GB data, 100 minutes & 100 texts)
Inclusive Features:
  • Set up & activate your SIM card in the UK, before you depart.
  • Choose from two Global Roaming Extras: £15 for 8 days or £25 for 15 days.
  • Use your Global Roaming Extra in Canada, the USA & more.
  • No contract & no credit check required.
Network Coverage: 99% population coverage in Canada
Compatibility: Works with most unlocked smartphones (including iPhone & Android)
Free SIM Card: Get a VOXI SIM card (with £10 top-up) →
eSIM Alternative: US$17.50 (~£15) for 3GB data on Tuque Mobile (Airalo)
(data only plan, valid for 30 days, requires an eSIM-ready phone)

Using Your Mobile Phone In Canada

If you’re planning a trip to Canada, there are three ways to use your mobile phone when you’re there:

  • You can roam on a UK-based SIM card. This is probably the easiest way to use your mobile phone in Canada. You’ll have a UK-based phone number (+44) and you’ll pay your UK mobile network for the usage.
  • You can buy a local Canadian SIM card on arrival. If you’re a frequent traveller to Canada and if you want a Canadian phone number (+1), you can get a local SIM from one of the Canadian networks. This is typically a more expensive option, especially when you take taxes and other fees into account.
  • You can buy a data-only eSIM for Canada. If you’re departing soon, you can get a data-only eSIM for Canada on Airalo. This will give you a low-cost allowance of 4G data when you’re travelling in Canada. However, you’ll need to use your normal SIM card for calls and texts (standard roaming fees will apply).

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of these three options:

Roaming on your UK SIM card Buying a Canadian SIM on arrival Buying a data eSIM for Canada
Best for one-off or occasional trips to Canada.
Best for frequent travellers to Canada. Best if you’re departing soon and need an eSIM quickly.
You’ll have a UK-based number (beginning with +44). You’ll have a Canadian phone number (beginning with +1). Data-only service. Use your normal SIM for calls (roaming fees apply).
We recommend VOXI’s Pay As You Go SIM. Add a Global Roaming Extra from £15 before you depart. Choose from Bell, Rogers & Telus. Prices start from $30/month (£20), plus tax and a $10 activation fee. Get an eSIM from Airalo (Tuque Mobile). Prices start from £15 for 30 days of data.
You’ll need to set up & activate your UK SIM card before you depart. You’ll need to buy & activate your Canadian SIM card on arrival (e.g. at a phone store). You can set up & activate your eSIM on any compatible mobile phone.
Use your plan in Canada & the USA. Use your plan only in Canada. Use your plan only in Canada.

For most people, we’d normally recommend roaming on a UK-based SIM card.

If your mobile network doesn’t have any special offers for roaming in Canada, consider getting VOXI’s Pay As You Go SIM.

Once you’ve activated your VOXI SIM card with a UK plan (starting from £10 for one month’s usage), you can add a Global Roaming Extra for use in Canada. You can also use it in the USA if you’re travelling there on the same trip. You’ll pay £15 for 8 days usage abroad and £25 for 15 days usage abroad. There’s no contract and no credit check on the SIM card from VOXI.

Get VOXI Pay As You Go SIM Card →

If you have an eSIM-ready phone (such as the iPhone 11, Galaxy S20, Pixel 3 and newer devices), a data-only eSIM from Airalo can also work out to be good value if you simply need an allowance of 4G data. On Airalo, you can get a 30-day plan with 3GB of data for US$17.50 (approximately £15). However, you won’t get any minutes or texts included on it. Instead, you’ll need to use your regular SIM card for calling and texting (the standard roaming fees will apply for that).

Roaming On Your UK SIM Card

The easiest way to use your mobile phone in Canada is to roam on a UK-based SIM card. This will often work out to be the best value option as you’ll be able to roam from just £1.67 per day in Canada (or less if your plan already includes it).

With a UK-based SIM card, you’ll be able to set things up before you depart, and the SIM card will allow you to call and text other UK-based phone numbers. This includes your friends & family back home, as well as other people who are travelling abroad together with you.

Inclusive Roaming Deals

  • EE
  • O2
  • Vodafone

As a first step, check to see whether your existing provider will allow you to roam at no extra cost when you travel in Canada:

  • EE Pay Monthly: If you’re an EE Pay Monthly customer with the Roam Abroad Pass, you’ll be able to roam at no extra cost when you’re travelling in Canada. This is available as a Smart Benefit on EE’s All Rounder and Full Works plans.
  • O2 Pay Monthly: If you’re an O2 customer, you can roam at no extra cost when you’re travelling in Canada if you have the O2 Travel Inclusive Zone Bolt-On. This is available on selected O2 Pay Monthly plans when you also join Virgin Media as a Volt customer. For everyone else, there’s a fee of £6 per day to use your phone in Canada.
  • Vodafone Pay Monthly: If you’re a Vodafone Pay Monthly customer with Global Roaming Plus, you’ll be able to use your mobile phone at no extra cost when you travel in Canada. Otherwise, it will cost you an extra £6 per day.

Best Canada Roaming Deals

If your current mobile network doesn’t give you inclusive roaming in Canada, we’d recommend ordering a VOXI Pay As You Go SIM card. On VOXI, you can buy one of the following Global Roaming Extras for use in Canada:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
VOXI 100 100 2GB £15.00
valid for 8 days
VOXI 200 200 4GB £25.00
valid for 15 days

You’ll also be able to use your Global Roaming Extra in the USA if you’re travelling there on the same trip.

The Global Roaming Extras are a one-off purchase on your VOXI SIM card – they will not renew automatically after the 8-day or 15-day period (see the full terms and conditions). However, you can purchase another one if you require (e.g. for longer trips away or if you’ve already used up all of the data).

If you’re not currently a VOXI customer, you can order a VOXI SIM card online. To activate it, you’ll need to buy a UK plan such as the £10 plan with 30GB of UK data. Even when you take this into account, it ends up being pretty good value (e.g. you’ll pay a total of £25 for the initial £10 UK plan and then £15 for the Global Roaming Extra).

There’s no contract and no credit check on VOXI. Although you’re able to continue using the SIM card when you get back to the UK, there’s no commitment and you can pause or cancel your plan at any time.

Get VOXI SIM Card (with £10 top-up) →

Standard Roaming Rates

If your provider doesn’t offer inclusive roaming in Canada, the following table shows the standard roaming rates you can expect to pay:

Network Making a Phone Call Receiving a Phone Call Sending a Text Accessing the Internet
BT Mobile £1.59/minute £1.42/minute 44p/text £6/day for 500MB
EE £1.35/minute £1.35/minute 67p/text £5.48/day for 500MB
giffgaff £1.00/minute £1.00/minute 30p/text 20p/MB
O2 £2.00/minute £2.00/minute 50p/text £7.20/MB
iD Mobile £6.00/minute £1.50/minute £1.20/text £9.60/MB
Lebara Mobile £1.49/minute £1.49/minute 49p/text £14.99/MB
SMARTY £1.00/minute 30p/minute 40p/text 25p/MB
Sky Mobile £2/day to use your UK allowance of minutes, texts & data
Tesco Mobile £1.29/minute 89p/minute 40p/text £5/MB
Three £1.40/minute 99p/minute 35p/text £6/MB
Virgin Mobile £2.00/minute £1.50/minute 50p/text £5/MB
Vodafone £6/day to use your UK allowance of minutes, texts & data
VOXI 60p/minute 36p/minute 8p/text 12p/MB

Comparison of roaming charges when using your UK-based SIM card in Canada. The costs shown are for calling the UK and sending a text message to the UK. It’s always free to receive a text message wherever you are in the world.

If you’re paying these standard rates, we’d strongly recommend against using international roaming in Canada. This is because the costs can add up very quickly. In the UK, the average smartphone user easily consumes more than 100MB of data per day. This would cost you more than £100 on many mobile networks at the standard rate.

Buying A Canadian SIM Card On Arrival

If you want a local phone number that’s based in Canada (starting with +1 instead of +44), you can buy a local prepaid SIM card upon your arrival in Canada.

Although it’s a fairly straightforward process getting a local Canadian SIM card, it’s unlikely to save you very much money. This is because the mobile networks in Canada have some the highest charges in the world.

You’ll pay at least CAD$10 (£6.60) upfront for your Canadian SIM card. On top of that, it’s at least CAD$30 (£19.70) for a entry-level plan with just 500MB of data (0.5GB). There’s also a local sales tax of 5-15% which you need to consider, as well as government fees for maintaining the emergency 9-1-1 service. All things considered, you’re looking at a £30 outlay for a basic one-month plan (and possibly more if you’re looking for a decent amount of data).

If you decide to buy a local SIM card in Canada, you can get one from various locations such as phone stores, grocery stores, convenience stores and the airport. You’ll be able to choose from three main providers: Bell, Rogers and Telus. All of them offer pretty much identical plans and allowances so it really comes down to the convenience of purchase and coverage.

Bell

Bell Mobility (more commonly known as Bell) is Canada’s second largest mobile network. For an upfront fee of CAD$10 (approx £6.60), you can get a new prepaid SIM card from Bell. You can then add one of the following plans from CAD$30 per month plus tax:

Network Minutes Texts Internet Monthly
Cost (CAD)
Approx
Cost (GBP)
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
500MB $30.00
plus tax
£19.70
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
2.5GB $40.00
plus tax
£26.25
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
4.5GB $45.00
plus tax
£29.52
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
8GB $55.00
plus tax
£36.08
plus tax

If you only want the ability to call and text locally in Canada, there are some cheaper plans available (CAD$15 for 100 local minutes and CAD$25 for unlimited local minutes). You’re not able to call UK-based phone numbers with your allowances on Bell.

All of Bell’s prepaid plans are restricted to 4G speeds (with a maximum download speed of 150Mbps). You can check the 4G coverage on their website (this should be very similar to the coverage on Telus as the two have a tower sharing agreement).

Bell also offers prepaid plans through their Virgin Plus subsidiary (previously known as Virgin Mobile Canada). However, the plans are almost identical. On Virgin Plus, there’s an additional CAD$75 plan which gives you 10GB data per month.

If you’d like to buy a prepaid SIM card from Bell, you can use the store locator on their site to find your nearest store.

Rogers

Rogers Wireless (more commonly referred to as Rogers) is Canada’s largest mobile network in terms of number of subscribers. They charge an upfront fee of CAD$10 (approx £6.60) for a prepaid SIM, with the following plans then being available on it from CAD$30 per month:

Network Minutes Texts Internet Monthly
Cost (CAD)
Approx
Cost (GBP)
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
500MB $30.00
plus tax
£19.70
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
2.5GB $40.00
plus tax
£26.25
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
4.5GB $45.00
plus tax
£29.52
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
8GB $55.00
plus tax
£36.08
plus tax

Cheaper plans are available if you only want the ability to call and text locally in Canada. There’s a CAD$15 plan with 100 local minutes and a CAD$25 plan with unlimited local minutes. You won’t get any international calls back to the UK included on your plan.

You’ll need to add local sales tax of 5-15% to all of the prices listed above. In addition, there’s a separate 9-1-1 fee, depending on where you buy your SIM card. This will add another “$1.88 in Saskatchewan, 46¢ in Québec, 43¢ in Nova Scotia, 97¢ in New Brunswick, 70¢ in Prince Edward Island, 95¢ in Alberta, and 75¢ in Newfoundland and Labrador”.

Rogers claims to have around 97% population coverage in Canada. You can check their coverage map here (choose their “4G LTE” map as 5G will not be available to you as a prepaid customer). In general, Rogers tends to have slightly poorer coverage compared to Bell and Telus. This is because the other two providers benefit from a tower sharing agreement.

If you’d like to buy a Rogers SIM card on your trip to Canada, you can use their store locator to find a nearby store.

Telus

Telus is Canada’s third-largest mobile network. Like the other two providers, they also charge an upfront fee of CAD$10 for a new prepaid SIM card (approximately £6.60). You can then choose one of the following plans from CAD$30 per month:

Network Minutes Texts Internet Monthly
Cost (CAD)
Approx
Cost (GBP)
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
500MB $30.00
plus tax
£19.70
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
2.5GB $40.00
plus tax
£26.25
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
4.5GB $45.00
plus tax
£29.52
plus tax
Unlimited
to Canada
Unlimited
to Canada
8GB $55.00
plus tax
£36.08
plus tax

As with Bell and Rogers, there are some cheaper plans available if you only need the ability to call and text locally inside Canada (CAD$15 for 100 local minutes, or CAD$25 for unlimited local minutes).

You can check the Telus coverage map here (this should give you fairly similar results to Bell as they have a tower sharing agreement in place). As a pre-paid customer, you’ll have access to 4G LTE and HSPA+ coverage on Telus.

You can use the Telus store locator to find a nearby retail store.

eSIMs For Use In Canada

The third way of staying connected on your mobile phone in Canada is to order a data-only eSIM from Airalo (Tuque Mobile). This requires you to have an eSIM-compatible device such as the iPhone 11, the Galaxy S20, the Pixel 3 or newer devices.

The main benefit of an eSIM is that you’re able to get it straight away as an over-the-air download. It’s also cheaper than buying a local SIM card from the Canadian networks.

The disadvantage of choosing an eSIM is the fact you’re getting a data-only service. This means you’ll need to use your normal SIM card for calling and texting, with all of the usual roaming fees that will apply for doing that. For that reason, it’s unlikely to be very much cheaper than roaming on a good UK SIM card such as VOXI’s Pay As You Go SIM.

At present, you can choose from the following eSIM plans on Tuque Mobile (Airalo):

Network Minutes Texts Data Cost
None None 1GB US$7.50
(~£6.50)
valid for 7 days
None None 3GB US$17.50
(~£15)
valid for 30 days
None None 5GB US$25
(~£21.50)
valid for 30 days
None None 10GB US$36
(~£31)
valid for 30 days

See all Canada eSIM deals →

You’ll get access to Rogers’ 4G network when using an eSIM from Airalo. Once activated, the eSIM will be valid for either a 7-day or 30-day period. You’ll only be able to use the eSIM when you’re travelling in Canada – it will not work if you’re also travelling to the USA.

For more information, see our Airalo review.

Handset & Network Compatibility

Most UK smartphones sold over the past 10 years should work on the mobile networks in Canada without any problems.

If you’re using a fairly old handset, or if your smartphone was purchased outside the UK, you should double-check to make sure your handset will work. Your phone will need to support at least one of the following frequencies for it to work in Canada:

Network Provider 5G Bands 4G Bands 3G Bands 2G Bands
Bell NR bands n66, n78 LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 29, 66, 71 WCDMA 850, 1900
Rogers NR bands n41, n66, n71, n78 LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 25, 66, 71 WCDMA 850, 1900 GSM 850, 1900
Telus NR bands n66, n78 LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 29, 30, 66, 71 WCDMA 850, 1900

You should note that 5G coverage is currently reserved for post-paid (contract) customers in Canada. If you’re roaming on a UK SIM card, using a prepaid Canadian SIM card or eSIM, you’ll be restricted to a maximum of 4G coverage.

More Information

At present, our recommended SIM card for use in Canada is VOXI’s Pay As You Go SIM. You can find out more about it on VOXI’s website. You can also read our in-depth guide to roaming on VOXI.

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