How to Buy a SIM Card at Vancouver Airport (YVR): Best Plans + Updated Price

Heading to Vancouver soon? Wondering whether you can get a prepaid SIM card at Vancouver airport? The good news is that there are several options to buy one. This article will explore everything you need to know about SIM cards for Vancouver: where and how to buy, finest packages, and current prices.

Guide to buy a sim card at Vancouver airport

I. Why Buy a SIM Card in Vancouver?

Tourists visiting Vancouver need the Internet to navigate the map, order transportation, and keep in touch with family and friends. Then a Canada prepaid SIM card will be the best option thanks to its unlimited access to Canada’s 4G and 5G networks, unlimited calls & texts, and reasonable rates. 

Besides, you can connect to the Internet via free Wifi, pocket Wifi, or international roaming. However, with these options, you may have to face some issues like insecurity, inconvenience, additional rental fees, high charges, and so on.

Which type of SIM card to buy for Vancouver?

There are 02 SIM card options in Vancouver for you to choose from:

  • Physical prepaid SIM card: affordable rates, diverse plans (data-only/ data+voice), widely available
  • Prepaid eSIM: simple online purchase and activation, no risk of loss

Note: Make sure your smartphone is eSIM-compatible to use eSIM for Vancouver.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card for Vancouver?

Here are 03 ways to purchase a Vancouver SIM card:

1. Buy Online Before Departure (Vancouver SIM & eSIM)

It is a great option to order a SIM card for Vancouver online before departure
Ordering a SIM card for Vancouver online before departure is an excellent choice

The first option is to order an international SIM card online before the trip and the provider will ship it to your house. Another option is to get an eSIM and activate it online (in a few minutes) before boarding. This will help you access the Internet right when you arrive in Vancouver.

Where to buy: via websites of reliable third-party providers (no verification needed) or from major operators in Vancouver (verification needed).

Price: reasonable, depending on carrier and package

What to prepare: email, delivery address, delivery fees, cash/ credit card 

2. Buy SIM card at Vancouver airport (YVR)

Vancouver International Airport Map
Vancouver International Airport Map

Buying a prepaid SIM card at Vancouver airport (YVR) is always one of the most convenient ways for international tourists who want immediate Internet upon arrival. However, the available SIM card plans at this airport are extremely limited and the prices are much higher than ordering online or buying in phone stores in the city.

The only store at Vancouver airport selling SIM card for tourist is 7-Eleven (level 1 – domestic terminal). After completing customs and immigration procedures, you can walk to 7-Eleven store through the international terminal.

The Canada SIM card available here is the SpeakOut SIM card.

  • Carrier: SpeakOut, owned by the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, uses Rogers Wireless network in Canada.
  • Plans: Pay-As-You-Go – No commitment, just pay for what you use.
  • Data: 1GB of high-speed LTE data for $15. Additional data can be purchased separately as required.
  • Validity: 30 days from activation. Data must be used within the validity period.
  • Calls & Texts: Unlimited nationwide talk and text included during validity.

Price: High, limited choices

What to prepare: CAD cash, credit card, passport

3. Buy in Vancouver City Center

Tourists can buy a SIM card at official store of Rogers
Official store of Rogers

If you want to get Vancouver SIM cards at the best prices, you may get to the city ceter. SIM card stores in the Vancouver center always have better deals for tourists compared to those at Vancouver International Airport. There is a wide selection of data plans and the rates are also affordable. 

Where to buy: Official stores of major carriers (Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility, Bell Mobility, etc.), convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Target store, or Walmart Supercentre.

What to prepare: your passport for verification, cash/ credit card, hotel address for registration

III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Vancouver Airport – Registration Process

To buy a SIM Card at Vancouver Airport successfully, tourists need to know the registration process. Here is how:

  • After completing customs and immigration procedures, get to the stores that sell Canadian SIM cards for tourists.
  • Compare features and rates of different Vancouver SIM cards to select the one that best fits your needs
  • Show your passport for identification and verification. English-speaking staff will collect your contact details.
  • Buy your SIM card and plan. Pay with cash or credit cash. 

SIM card activation: The staff will support you to install and activate your SIM card immediately upon purchase. Insert the SIM into your unlocked smartphones and wait for registration with the network (just around 1-2 minutes). Then you can begin using the cellular data, phone calls, and text messages included in your plan.

Note: If you have any inquiries, ask the staff or provider’s representatives for support.

AdviceConsider a travel adapter if needed. Canadian cell phones use the same cell towers and technology as US cell phones. But confirm your phone is dual voltage in case you need a travel adapter to charge it.

► Our recommendation:

If you have limited time and want immediate Internet, you may purchase a prepaid SIM card at Vancouver International Airport. Normally, airport SIM card rates might be expensive and the data plan options are also very limited. Furthermore, not every SIM card store at Vancouver airport is open 24/7.

For a wider range of plans and better deals, you should consider better options like buying an eSIM online, purchasing an international SIM card before departure, or getting a SIM card in the Vancouver center.

IV. Best Tourist Vancouver Airport SIM Card Options and Price

There are four major telco providers in Vancouver, Canada
Four major telco providers in Vancouver, Canada

Good to know: $1 CAD = $0.73 USD, $1 USD = $1.37 CAD (as of November 2023)

7-Eleven store is the only one shop selling prepaid SIM cards for tourists at Vancouver International. The SpeakOut SIM prices are extremely expensive. 

It is advisable to commute to the Vancouver center and visit stores of telco operators like Rogers, Telus, Bell, or Freedom. Here we delve into several attractive SIM card options (4G & 5G networks) from these operators in Canada:

OperatorData/ ValidityPrice (CAD/USD)
Rogers Wireless4.5GB/ 30 days(Unlimited Canada-wide calls + local/ international SMS)$45/$33.38
Rogers Wireless8GB/ 30 days(Unlimited Canada-wide calls + local/ international SMS)$55/$40.85
Telus Mobility5GB/ 30 days(Unlimited Canada-wide calls + local/ international SMS)$45/$33.38
Telus Mobility10GB/ 30 days(Unlimited Canada-wide calls + local/ international SMS)$55/$40.85
Bell Mobility4.5GB/ 30 days(Unlimited Canada-wide calls + local/ international SMS)$45/$33.38
Bell Mobility8GB/ 30 days(Unlimited Canada-wide calls + local/ international SMS)$55/$40.85
Freedom Mobile20GB/ 30 days(unlimited Canada-wide talk & text)$34/ $24.82
Freedom Mobile30GB/ 30 days(unlimited Canada-wide talk & text)$40/$29.20

Note:  The details and rates of plans are subject to change over time. You had better contact the mobile network carrier to get the latest information.

V. Best Mobile Network in Vancouver – Coverage & Speed

Let’s explore the coverage and speed of the four main telco carriers in Vancouver, Canada to find the best mobile network for your trip.

1. Coverage in Vancouver

all of the main carriers have extensive coverage in Vancouver
Coverage maps of the four main telco carriers

In general, all of the main carriers work well in Vancouver, Canada so you can choose to buy a tourist SIM card from any of them. To be specific, Telus has near-complete 4G/LTE coverage across metropolitan Vancouver as well as surrounding suburbs and towns. Bell and Rogers also have extensive 4G networks covering most of the populated areas. Rogers and Telus have the largest 5G network across the city. 

2. Data speed Vancouver

Bell offers the most rapid download speed
Data speeds of Bell, Rogers, and Telus

Bell offers the most rapid download speed, while Telus has the second highest, with 75.2Mbps and 73.9Mbps, respectively. Rogers’ upload speed is 11.6 Mbps, which is 0.9-1.2 Mbps better than Telus and Bell. 

► Our Recommendation: 

All these carriers have extensive 4G/ LTE/ 5G coverage across Metro Vancouver as well as nearby suburbs and towns so you can purchase a tourist SIM card from any of them. You can also choose eSIM options from either Telus or Bell for the best coverage, fast speed, and convenience.

VI. Canada eSIM for Vancouver – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card Vancouver

Gigago eSIM by Gigago - buy SIM card at Vancouver airport

When traveling to Vancouver, buying an eSIM rather than a physical SIM card might be a wise decision. You may buy and activate it online from your eSIM-compatible smartphone.

Gigago is a reputable travel eSIM provider for many countries and territories around the world, including Canada. So why should you choose to buy Gigago’s eSIM?

Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Canada, starting from a 5-day plan with 1GB per day for $14 with $14.00 . They also have 7-day, 15-day, and 30-day plans ranging from 1GB to 20GB of total data, or 1GB to 2GB per day, with prices from $14 up to $141.50.

If choosing Gigago, you can reap the following benefits:

  • Gigago’s Canada eSIM operates on the networks of Canada’s leading carriers, such as Telus, Bell,… with wide coverage, strong and stable signal, and fast speed.
  • Gigago offers diverse packages (data-only/ data + voice + text), various options for validity, data volume, addressing all client demands.
  • Gigago provides 24/7 customer service in a variety of languages, including English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish, etc.


Where can I buy a SIM card for Vancouver?

You can buy a Vancouver SIM card at the airport or in the city. It is advisable to purchase a SIM card in the city or get an eSIM online for the best deals and value. 

What do I need to provide to activate a SIM card when buying at the airport?

You need to bring your passport for ID verification and cash/ credit card for payment.

Should I purchase a SIM card before flying to Vancouver?

Yes! Getting a SIM card before flying to Vancouver help you have immediate access to the Internet upon arrival. You can opt for:
Prepaid SIM card: Buy it online, have it shipped to your house. No verification needed.
eSIM: Get and activate it online by scanning a QR code. eSIM-compatible device needed.

Can I use my existing phone with a Canadian SIM?

Yes, as long as your phone is unlocked or supports the network bands used here. Check with your home carrier before traveling if needed.

VIII. Conclusion

In conclusion, purchasing a prepaid SIM card at Vancouver airport allows you to connect to the Internet instantly upon arrival. For a wider selection of plans and better deals, buy a SIM card for Vancouver from a major telecom provider like Telus, Bell, or Rogers in the city center. Getting an eSIM from reliable providers is also a great option.