Mobile Internet in Canada for Travelers: 5 Ways to Get Data & Cost

Getting mobile internet in Canada is the most convenient way for tourists to stay in touch with their loved ones as well as use essential apps for a smooth trip in this stunning country. In this article, we will reveal the five ways to get data during your Canada trip and help you choose the option that best fits your priorities and budget.

I. Mobile Internet in Canada – Coverage and Speed

Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility, Bell Mobility, and Freedom Mobile are the four main network carriers in Canada. Now let us delve into the coverage and speed of the mobile internet in Canada.

1. Canada Mobile Internet Coverage

Coverage maps of Canada's four main mobile network carriers
Coverage map of the four major carriers in Canada

Here is an overview of the mobile internet coverage of the four main providers in Canada:

  • Rogers boasts the widest 4G/5G coverage across Canada. It covers urban centers and remote towns as well, helping travelers get online even while on the move between spots.
  • Telus ranks second for coverage in Canada with 4G and 5G networks in the main centers.
  • Bell is Canada’s third-largest operator, with extensive coverage mainly in the Southeast area and several cities in the Southwest. Bell’s 5G network is gradually being rolled out.
  • Freedom covers the main urban centers in Western Canada.

▶ Our recommendation:

For the best coverage and network performance, you may choose Telus or Bell. Their networks deliver high-speed LTE connectivity across most of Canada. Rogers also has excellent coverage nationwide, but plans tend to be more expensive.

2. Canada Mobile Internet Speed

Mobile internet speeds in Canada
Mobile internet speed in Canada

According to the Speedtest data for Canada, we can see that:

  • Canada ranks 17th in the world for cellular internet speeds, the average download speed is 99.22Mbps, the average upload speed is 12.91Mbps, and the latency is 23ms.
  • In terms of median download speed for main mobile carriers in Canada, in Q4 2023, Bell delivered the fastest download speed at 121.33Mbps, followed by Telus at 115.02Mbps and Rogers at 105.87Mbps.

▶ Our conclusion & recommendation:

Bell Mobility offered the overall fastest speed and the most consistent performance on Canada’s mobile networks in Q4 2023. You may choose this carrier for your Canada trip. Telus is also an amazing option.

II. What are Connectivity Options for Tourists to Canada?

There are a variety of options to access the mobile internet in Canada such as physical SIM card, eSIM for Canada, international roaming, free Wifi, and pocket Wifi. Here is a table comparing these connectivity options:

OptionHow it worksCostWhere to buyProsCons
Canada SIM cardInsert SIM card into phone to get Canadian mobile plan with dataAffordableMajor airports, mobile stores, onlineEasy to use phone as in home countryUnlocked phone required
Canada eSIMRemotely activate eSIM data profile on compatible deviceReasonableOnline retailersNo swapping SIM cards needed, Simple activation processLimited to eSIM compatible devices
Roaming with Canada operatorsUse existing plan’s roaming agreements in CanadaVery pricey, depending on your domestic provider and planVia home operatorNo buying new SIMExtremly high per MB charges, Data capped on most plans
Public WifiFree Wifi at cafes, malls, airports, hotels, restaurants, etcFreeMajor public hotspotsNo cost, can be found in most areas, No subscription or rental needed Speed/coverage varies, security concerns
Pocket WifiRent portable WiFi hotspot from rental companiesQuite expensiveRental companies in airports or onlineOne device to share internet amongst group, take anywhere without changing SIMs.Extra cost to rent. Device needs recharging.

▶ Our recommendation:

A physical Canada SIM card or Canada eSIM is a top recommendation if you appreciate the convenience and affordability. For those with eSIM-embedded devices, opt for an eSIM for Canada from GIGAGO.

Pro Tip:
It is essential to confirm if your mobile phone is unlocked before getting a Canada SIM card.
Check out the most up-to-date list of eSIM-compatible mobile devices if you want an eSIM for your Canada trip.

III. Internet Rates in Canada

Good to know: CAD 1 = USD 0.74 and USD 1 = CAD 1.35 (as of February 2024)

The following table displays the internet rates of different mobile network options for Canada.

OptionRate (USD)
Canada SIM card2.5GB data + unlimited Canada-wide talk for 30 days: CAD 40
Canada eSIM5/10/20GB or daily 1GB/2GB; valid for 5,7,15,30 days; $14.00-$141.50
Roaming with Canada operatorsExpect to pay around $0.25/MB without any included roaming benefits, depends on your home operator
Public WifiFree
Pocket WifiAround $5-10 per day, $25-40 per week

Note: The above details are for indicative purposes only. Contact your selected operator for the latest information.

▶ Our recommendation:

  • If you have a price concern, a Canada physical SIM card might be a great option.
  • If you want Internet access as soon as you land in Canada, get a Canada eSIM from a trusted provider.

IV. Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in Canada

A data physical SIM card for Canada is a top choice for tourists to this charming country. Tourists using Canada SIM cards may enjoy a smooth Internet connection thanks to its wide coverage, great data plans, and affordable costs.

Rogers, Telus, Bell, and Freedom are the four main mobile network providers in Canada
Rogers, Telus, Bell, and Freedom are Canada’s four main mobile network providers
OperatorCostData
Rogers Wireless$40 CAD2.5GB data + unlimited Canada-wide talk for 30 days
Rogers Wireless$55 CAD8GB data + unlimited Canada-wide talk for 30 days
Telus Mobility$30 CAD500MB data + unlimited SMS & calling 30 days 
Telus Mobility$55 CAD8GB data + unlimited SMS & calling for 30 days
Bell Mobility$35 CAD1 GB data + unlimited nationwide talk + text for 30 days
Bell Mobility$55 CAD10 GB data + unlimited nationwide talk + text  for 30days
Freedom Mobile$34 CAD20GB data + unlimited talk & text in Canada for 30 days
Freedom Mobile$45 CAD50GB data + unlimited talk & text in Canada for 30 days

Note: The data plans above are just some of the many Canada SIM card options for travelers. The plan details are subject to change over time.

V. Data eSIM for Canada – Best Option to Get Mobile Internet for Tourists

Getting an eSIM for Canada is the best solution to access the mobile internet in Canada effectively. eSIM has a range of outstanding benefits compared to physical SIM card:

  • No store visit, easy online purchase and activation process
  • Multiple eSIM profiles on a device
  • Instant Internet connection upon arrival
  • No risk of SIM loss or damage

Tourists can choose to buy Canada eSIMs from major Canadian mobile network carriers or purchase from trusted eSIM providers like Gigago.

Gigago offers various competitive eSIM plans for Canada
Gigago Canada eSIM plans

Why choose Gigago rather than other eSIM suppliers?

Gigago is a worldwide eSIM supplier that delivers eSIM services to over 200 countries around the world. If you are considering buying eSIM for your Canada trip, eSIM service from Gigago is the best choice for many reasons:

  • Easy setup, online purchase and activation
  • No identity check
  • Multilingual client support 24/7
  • A variety of plans for travelers to select from

Gigago’s eSIM plans start at 1GB/ day for 5 days for only $14.00 , much cheaper than roaming services. What is incredible about Gigago’s Canada eSIM is that the prices of plans range from $14.00$141.50 . Thus, regardless of your Internet usage or the length of your vacation to Canada, Gigago always has a solution for you.

How to buy Canada eSIM plan with Gigago?

To purchase a Canada eSIM from Gigago, you may follow these steps:

  • Select the eSIM plan (validity, data) that best fits your needs, budget, and trip duration;
  • Make online payments using credit cards or e-wallets;
  • Check your mail for a QR code to activate your eSIM
  • Turn on data roaming in your phone’s settings and your eSIM is now ready.

VI. FAQs

How can I get mobile internet in Canada?

You can get mobile internet by getting a data plan from one of the major carriers like Rogers, Bell, or Telus. An eSIM for Canada is an excellent option. You can also use international roaming, pocket Wifi, and free Wifi.

Where can I get a Canada SIM card or eSIM?

SIM cards for Canada are available at mobile shops, airports, and many other retailers in Canada. eSIM can be bought from reliable eSIM providers like Gigago. Getting an eSIM plan before departure is highly recommended.

What speed can I expect on LTE/5G networks?

Speeds vary depending on location and carrier but typical LTE speeds range from 50Mbps to 150Mbps. 5G speeds are much faster but 5G coverage is still limited to major cities. Speed and coverage also depend on your device and signal strength.

VII. Conclusion

To sum up, there are a variety of options to get mobile internet in Canada. Of all alternatives, Canada SIM cards and eSIMs are the best solution thanks to wide coverage, convenience, and affordability. Tourists with eSIM-supported devices should get an eSIM plan for the best value and flexibility. Do not forget to select the option that best meets your needs and budget.