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Internet in Canada: Which option to choose for mobile data from the UK? | April 2024

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Last update: April 1, 2024
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK
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In a nutshell

If you are travelling and want to have internet in Canada to share your trip via Instagram, stay in touch with your loved ones via WhatsApp or use Google Maps, a virtual SIM may be your best option if you want to save the high price of roaming with your usual operator. Don't pay the high roaming service fees and surf the Internet with the Canada eSIM Holafly.

Buy your Canada eSIM now

Internet in Canada: all the options

Whether it's a holiday getaway or a business trip, if your next destination is Canada and you don't want to miss a thing on this new adventure, it's best to have an internet connection on your phone.

Having mobile data in Canada means you can quickly find that restaurant that sells poutine, take an Uber to get to the ice hockey game on time, or use Google Maps to traverse the Crowsnest Highway and enjoy the stunning mountains and charming towns.

If you want to know how to stay connected on your trip, avoid paying roaming charges in Canada and not waste time looking for free wifi, we have prepared a guide to tell you all the alternatives to have Internet in Canada and share the best moments of this trip with your family and friends.

Before explaining all the ways to have mobile data in Canada and what you should check when you are in the North American country, from Roams, we will show you in a very clear and summarized way the best options to have unlimited Internet in your next adventure.

How much does Internet cost in Canada?
Service Price/Days Data
Canada eSIM Holafly
  • From £27/30 days
  • Unlimited
Canada SIM card
  • From £31/30 days
  • From 25GB
Wifi in Canada:
  • Portable
  • Public

  • From £8/day
  • Free

  • From 1GB
  • Unlimited
Canada roaming
  • From £6
  • From 1MB

What are eSIM?

The first piece of news: physical SIM cards are coming to an end in the near future (1) . eSims are the new and improved way to have data on your phone abroad and are activated by scanning a QR code that arrives in your phone.

What is an eSim card?

All you have to do is buy your eSim online and the QR code will be emailed to you instantly, so you can start using it immediately, if you wish. You don't need to sign up for a contract, there are no activation fees and no subscriptions are required.

It is important to note that an eSim will not give you a new local number, so if you want to make phone calls you will have to do so via Skype or WhatsApp. But with the Internet, that's not a problem.

Buy your Canada eSIM now

eSIM Holafly: best virtual SIM Card in Canada

Travelling with an eSIM card with data to Canada is an excellent option for your trip to the North American country with the cheapest mobile internet. It is one of the best choices, especially if you purchase it before your arrival in Canada, as you will have internet when you land, and you won't have to worry about buying anything extra to tell your loved ones of your arrival or to locate your accommodation.

The eSIM has been gaining ground among travellers worldwide, not only because it has coverage throughout Canada, but also because it is the best travel sim card for the USA and Canada, if you plan to make this journey on your trip.

The eSIM Canada is, from our point of view, the fastest and cheapest way to have internet in Canada for travellers. Although there are other operators that offer this virtual SIM service, such as SimOptions, Truphone, Airalo or Ubigi, from Roams we recommend you to check the eSIM Holafly Canada, compare the advantages it has for your trip and make a price comparison.

To make it easier for you to compare the advantages and disadvantages of buying a Canada eSIM with Holafly, we list them below:

Advantages and disadvantages of Canada eSIM Holafly
Advantages
  • Enjoy unlimited data in Quebec, Montreal and all over Canada.
  • Receive your QR code and connect instantly.
  • Keep your WhatsApp number on your cellphone.
  • No registration required. Easy to set up.
  • Connect to the best network in Canada.
  • Forget about roaming and searching for public wifi networks.
Disadvantages
  • No phone number or SMS included, but you can use WhatsApp.
  • You cannot share data with another person.
Our expert opinion

As we have shown you, the advantages of a data plan with an Canada eSIM are even greater. From Roams, we encourage you to choose this option to have unlimited data on your trip in the North American country.

author's photo
Roams UK

How much does the eSIM for Canada cost? Here are all the Holafly eSIM rates for mobile data plans in Canada.

Holafly Canada eSIM: all plans
Days of travel Capacity in GB Price in GBP
30 10 £27
30 20 £34

If none of these alternatives meet your needs, remember that there are other companies that offer internet with an eSIM in Canada. Here are some of the companies that offer this service:


What is the best prepaid sim card in Canada

If your mobile phone does not support eSIM technology, traditional SIM cards in Canada are available at official Bell, Rogers or Telus shops that are available at international airports, shopping areas and in large chain stores in Canadian cities.

Although the cost of a SIM card in Canada can change depending on the phone company and the plan you choose, in general the price of a SIM card is very affordable for all types of tourists. The average ranges from £31 to £80 (an average of $50CAD to $130CAD), but you'll need to purchase them at established centers once you arrive at your destination.

These are the characteristics of the most recognised internet SIM cards in Canada that you can buy when you land in some of its cities:

  • Bell: This is one of the leading telecommunications companies in Canada. It offers SIM cards with data plans that include calls and text messages with capacities between 25GB and 100GB, as well as 5G speed.
  • Rogers: Another of the most recognised operators in Canada, offers SIM cards with data plans that include unlimited calls and text messages, with capacities ranging from 25GB to 100GB. It allows internet sharing with other people and has 5G speed.
  • Telus: This Canadian operator offers SIM cards with plans for surfing and streaming at 5G speeds with unlimited data, calls and texts, as well as personalised service and good coverage across the country.

These cards are easy to purchase and use. However, we have now identified a number of disadvantages of using SIM cards in Canada, as we discuss below:

  • You have to exchange your regular SIM and risk losing or damaging it.
  • Customer service will only be in English or French, depending on the province.
  • You will have to travel to buy it or wait for the card to arrive at the place where you are staying.
  • If your travel SIM contract runs out, you will have to replace it with another one.

There are other SIM card options in Canada such as Fido, Koodo, and Public Mobile that offer lower prices and prepaid plans, but with less coverage and reduced services than the companies mentioned above.

Buy your eSIM Canada card with a 5% discount with the code ROAMS.


Wifi in Canada: connecting to free or portable wifi

Connecting to the internet in Canada with free wifi and portable wifi are two options that offer different advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, public wifi is free, but speed and reliability can be variable. On the other hand, portable wifi provides security and a stable connection, but the costs are high.

We've listed the benefits, drawbacks and prices of both services if you want to sign up for mobile data in Canada for your next trip.

Free wifi in Canada: a cheap but unreliable option

Although Canada is a very large country, you can find many free wifi hotspots in Canada, whether in airports, museums, shops or shopping centres, so if you plan to travel alone using free wifi hotspots to save money, it is advisable to check that you will find places with these services on your travels.

There are several websites or apps that can help you find these free wifi hotspots in Canada, depending on the city you are staying in.

We recommend that you do not access your bank account or accounts with information that is important to you when using public internet in Canada or any other country, as you may be a victim of hacking and your trip will not be as pleasantly remembered.

Best portable wifi in Canada: the expensive alternative

Also called pocket wifi, portable modem or MiFi, portable wifi is a device that allows you to connect all your devices to the internet while you are travelling. Here are three examples to show you how much it costs to have portable internet in Canada.

  • XOXO WiFi: by renting this portable wifi you will get high speed internet in Canada for a cost from £10/day. You will have 500MB to use daily on your trip.
  • MyWebspot: this pocket wifi includes 512MB per day, the ability to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, and a 4G connection. The price is £10/day.
  • Travel WiFi: TravelWiFi's pocket wifi device costs from £8/day and offers 1GB to connect up to 5 devices and up to 4G LTE speed.

As we told you before, the prices of this service are a bit high. If we make a list of advantages and disadvantages, we can conclude that it is not an alternative to have mobile data in Canada.


Data roaming in Canada

Roaming in Canada if you are travelling from the UK can be expensive if not managed properly. Prices vary depending on the operator and the plan you have, but in general, having this internet service for your trip is not cheap. You could expect to be charged £6-£13 per MB. So if you watched a movie on Netflix, that could mean paying hundreds. That’s why we recommend buying a SIM card instead.

The most popular carriers with roaming in Canada:


Internet coverage and speed in Canada

Mobile internet coverage and speeds in Canada are generally good, with widespread availability of mobile broadband services in major cities and rural areas.

As measured by the OECD (2) , Canada has one of the highest mobile internet penetration rates in the world, with over 90% of the population having access to high-speed mobile internet. The country's leading mobile operators are Bell, Telus and Rogers, which offer 4G and 5G services in major cities.

In terms of speed, Canada ranks 14th in the world for mobile internet speed, according to OpenSignal (3) . The average download speed in the country is around 69,5Mbps, which allows for a satisfactory browsing and streaming experience. However, speed and coverage may vary depending on geographic location, as some rural areas may have limited access to high-speed services.


Advantages of having internet in Canada

In addition to communicating with your loved ones, accessing your favourite social networks and having your hotel reservations and plans at hand, having internet on your trip to Canada has a number of benefits that will make it an unforgettable experience.

Benefits of having mobile data in Canada include:

  • Access to Information: Internet provides easy access to vast amounts of information and resources, enabling individuals to research, learn, and stay informed.
  • Connectivity: Internet connectivity enables Canadians to stay connected with friends and family, both locally and globally, through various communication platforms.
  • Telecommuting: The internet allows individuals to work remotely, which offers flexibility in work arrangements and can lead to increased productivity.
  • E-Government Services: Internet provides Canadians with access to various government services, such as online tax filing, renewing licenses, and accessing government information.
  • Online Entertainment: The internet offers a wide range of entertainment options, including streaming services for music, movies, and TV shows, as well as online gaming.

In addition to all of the above, having internet in Canada on your mobile phone will also help you to book a visit to the CN Tower in Toronto or buy a ticket to enjoy Niagara Falls, book a tour of Banff National Park, buy an internal flight and visit Whistler to stay at the ski resorts, considered the best in North America.

Also, if you are lucky enough to be able to visit other destinations, we recommend that you check how to get internet as you could have several, here are some options that may be of interest to you:


Internet in Canada: some recommendations for your trip

Finally, Roams has listed a few things to consider with your internet connection in Canada that will not only help you get the most out of your trip, but will also make your trip one to remember:

  • Take advantage of offline apps: download maps, tourist guides and other information before your trip, so you can access them even without an internet connection.
  • Set up your device to avoid unexpected expenses: make sure to turn off automatic data services and avoid downloading apps or watching high quality video.
  • The battery in your devices: Canada handles a voltage of 120V and a standard frequency of 60Hz. Check the label on your chargers and electronic devices to make sure they can be used safely, with plugs, which are type A and B.

FAQs

How can I connect to the Internet in Canada?

Like the United States, Canada offers typical DSL, cable, satellite and fibre Internet connections. The main Internet service providers are Telus, Bell and Rogers. They cover much of the country, from British Columbia to Manitoba, and Bell and Tek Savvy cover Ontario and Quebec.

How else can I connect to the internet in Canada?

You can activate data roaming and use data provided by your current provider. But be aware that this will be very expensive. If you plan on using this option, you can expect a hefty phone bill when you get back home. Alternatively, you could buy Pocket Wi-Fi (a portable device that generates a wifi connection for your phone). This option is also expensive, and you’ll have to carry the device everywhere. A eSIM Canada Holafly is the cheapest and most convenient way of connecting to the internet.

How much does roaming cost in Canada?

You can be charged between £31 to £80 per MB. So if you watch a movie on Netflix, that could mean paying hundreds. Therefore, we recommend getting an eSIM.

How do I know if my phone is compatible with the eSIM?

The following phones are compatible with the eSIM: iPhone SE, XR, XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, 11 Pro y 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 12 Mini, Samsung S20, Galaxy Z Flip, Note 20 Ultra, Fold LTE, Huawei P40, P40 Pro, y Google Pixel 3, 3a,4, 4a, Motorola Razr 2019.

Fuentes del artículo
  1. admin, T. The end of the SIM card. TechInformed. https://techinformed.com/the-end-of-the-sim-card/
  2. Broadband Portal - OECD. Consulted in https://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/broadband-statistics/
  3. Canada, August 2022, Mobile Network Experience. Opensignal. https://www.opensignal.com/reports/2022/08/canada/mobile-network-experience
Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

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Laura Burón
Edited and revised por Laura Burón