Canada – known for its scenery, love for ice hockey & moose that do not mind messing up your car.
Being the second-largest country behind Russia, Canada has a lot to offer.
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park (Alberta) is just stunning – especially if you canoe through it.
If you plan on visiting Vancouver (British Columbia), you better have a slow walk through Stanley Park.
Of course, you have to go to the CN Town if you go to Toronto (Ontario).
And the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City is a must-see.
And this is just a short list of recommendations – there are whole sites out there that have even more suggestions – Canada is just that cool (literally).
But the country is not one of your budget-friendly travel destinations, like countries in Southeast Asia, for example.
In fact, it can be an expensive country – especially domestic flights.
What else, mobile data rates for prepaid customers are close to criminal in Canada – they are one of the highest in the world.
You think mobile data was expensive in the United States? The US is cheap compared to Canada.
But before you share your colorful Canada experiences online, be aware that international roaming can be expensive.
Travel eSIMs can be a much more affordable way to stay connected, especially in Canada.
How much will a travel eSIM for Canada cost?
You can get a travel eSIM for Canada for as little as 6 USD, with 1 GB for 7 days, up to 54 USD, for 6 GB, from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad.
While this may sound a bit pricey but mobile data rates in Canada are criminal.
So yeah, these travel eSIMs will be worth it.
In this guide, I will go over the travel eSIM options offered by Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's go.
Original publication: 23rd of September 2022. Last updated: 29th of November 2022.
Table of Contents
About Travel eSIMs for Canada
Okay, this is not a section I add to most eSIM guides, but Canada is a special case.
You should know that the cost of mobile data is prohibitively expensive in Canada.
And that is something all Canadians can agree with… and those visiting Canada.
What is worse is that most Caribbean countries, which are island nations for that matter, have (much) lower mobile data rates than Canada.
Even worse (yes, really), many mobile operators throttle prepaid speeds – especially the flanker brands and MVNOs.
And when I say throttled speeds, I am talking about max. 3 Mbps – even embargoed Cuba offers faster speeds – and it did not even have 4G/LTE until 2019
And this applies to travel eSIM providers like Airalo, Holafly & Nomad (which I will introduce in the next section).
Let me give you an example: you have to spend at least 29 CAD (22.30 USD/21.30 EUR/18.30 GBP) for 1.5 GB of data – and that is excluding the 10 CAD SIM card cost (and 20 CAD for two others).
While this is outrageous on its own, you can get 5 GB for 25 USD with the Tuque Mobile eSIM (Airalo), 10 GB for 34 USD from the Canada Holafly eSIM & 5 GB for 24 USD from the Canada Nomad eSIM.
You have to spend 45 CAD (34.70 USD/33 EUR/28.40 GBP) to get 4.5 GB of data from Roger, Telus & Bell – and you may also have to deal with 3G speeds.
Therefore, if your phone supports eSIM, I recommend going with one of the travel eSIMs mentioned below.
You will be saving a lot of money when doing so.
With that out of the way, let's see what eSIMs are available for Canada.
eSIMs offered by the Canadian Mobile Operators
Suppose you want to get the best service and reception available in Canada.
In that case, it is better to get a SIM card or travel eSIM from the local mobile operators, which in this case would be the Canadian ones.
Not only will you not have to deal with latency, but you also get a higher priority on the network because you are a direct customer of the mobile operator instead of a roamer.
And with most travel eSIMs, you are roaming on the network(s) of the local mobile operator(s).
But that is not always the case – the slow speeds part, that is.
Some mobile operators throttle the speeds of prepaid customers because they want more people to get a postpaid plan.
Unfortunately, travelers cannot get postpaid plans – so one way to avoid throttling is by using a travel eSIM.
Yes – travel eSIMs sometimes have faster speeds than native prepaid customers because of throttling.
So, which Canadian mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Telus, Bell Canada, Koodo & Virgin Plus offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.
Besides Telus, Bell Canada, Koodo & Virgin Plus, you can also get eSIMs from Airalo (Tuque Mobile eSIM), Holafly & Nomad.
One of the main advantages of getting a travel eSIM for Canada is that you can set up the eSIM before arriving in Canada and activate it upon landing.
I have to mention that travel eSIMs will be more expensive than local eSIMs and SIM cards, but they are more convenient.
Moreover, I have plenty of experience with the eSIMs from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad, so I can vouch for them – so can many Phone Travel Wiz readers!
So let's go over what the travel eSIMs offer for Canada!
Airalo eSIMs for Canada (Tuque Mobile)
If you have read any of my eSIM or SIM card buying guides before, then you know I am a big fan of Airalo.
Not only does Airalo have eSIMs for most countries (around 190 countries) of any eSIM platform, but they are also often one of the cheapest while offering fantastic service in terms of speeds and reception.
That is because Airalo usually partners up with the mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, both, or even multiple operators.
That way, you get the best bang for your buck, I have to say.
In the case of Canada, the Tuque Mobile uses the Rogers Canada network, which has the best general availability.
So, which Canada Tuque Mobile eSIMs are available? You have these five options:
- Canada/Tuque Mobile 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 6 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Canada/Tuque Mobile 2 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 11 USD
- Canada/Tuque Mobile 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 15 USD
- Canada/Tuque Mobile 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 18 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Canada/Tuque Mobile 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 35 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Airalo Tuque Mobile eSIM Pros
Are there any (more) reasons why you should get the Tuque Mobile eSIM? Yes, there are:
- You can activate your Tuque Mobile eSIM as soon as you land in Canada
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Canada's best mobile operator – Rogers Canada
- Tuque Mobile eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming) and have generous data allowances
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration with the Tuque Mobile eSIM, saving you time
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Airalo website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
I could list many more pros, but these are the major ones.
Unfortunately, there are some cons to be aware of.
Airalo Tuque Mobile eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Tuque Mobile eSIM?
- The Canadian mobile operators, including Tuque Mobile itself, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to Rogers Canada network, the best in Canada, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Rogers Canada itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Tuque Mobile eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Tuque Mobile eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Tuque Mobile eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Tuque Mobile eSIM is fantastic.
The plans offered with Tuque Mobile eSIMs are generous and affordable.
You get fast speeds and access to Canada's best network, Rogers Canada, without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.
And everything, purchasing and topping up, can be done online on the Airalo website or Airalo app (downloading the app is recommended).
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Tuque Mobile eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you do wish to make actual calls, so not through apps like Whatsapp, consider a Telus, Bell Canada, Koodo & Virgin Plus eSIM or a Canadian SIM card (but you will have to deal with the SIM card registration laws).
Nomad eSIMs for Canada
Nomad is one of the eSIM players on the market that managed to grow quickly.
That is because it is one of the few premium eSIM players out there, often using multiple partners to bring you the best coverage and speeds out there.
As a result, Nomad is often (slightly) more expensive than Airalo.
But good people run the company.
For example, upon my recommendation, it started offering the Nordics regional eSIM – an eSIM that can be used in Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Norway.
And many more regional eSIMs are coming – I can promise you that!
In Canada, Nomad uses the Rogers Canada network.
You have the following six options with Nomad for Canada:
- Canada 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 7 USD/7.50 EUR/6 GBP/9.50 CAD
- Canada 1 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 9 USD/9.50 EUR/8 GBP/12 CAD
- Canada 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 16 USD/16.50 EUR/14 GBP/21 CAD
- Canada 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 24 USD/24.50 EUR/20.50 GBP/31.50 CAD
- Canada 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 36 USD/36.50 EUR/31 GBP/47 CAD
- Canada 10 GB eSIM for 60 days, costing 48 USD/48.50 EUR/41 GBP/62 CAD
Even though Nomad dropped its prices for Canada eSIMs, you can still get 3 USD off your first Nomad purchase by using code ADU123!
- Check out my Nomad reviews
Nomad Canada eSIM Pros
Are there any (more) reasons why you should get the Nomad Canada? Yes:
- SIM card registration and bureaucracy? Skip that with the Nomad Canada eSIM, saving you time
- You can activate your Nomad Canada eSIM as soon as you land in Canada
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Rogers Canada network, allowing you to always have the best coverage and speeds
- Nomad Canada eSIMs are affordable compared to roaming
- Nomad offers the most options (six) and longest validity (60 days) of any travel eSIM in this guide
- Multiple top-ups can be purchased when you are out of data or when your initial plan expires easily on the Nomad site or apps
But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.
Nomad Canada eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Nomad Canada eSIM?
- Canadian mobile operators have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to Rogers Canada network, your speeds may not be as fast as going with the Rogers Canada directly because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad Canada eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Nomad Canada eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Nomad Canada eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Nomad Canada eSIM is an excellent premium eSIM offering the most options and longest validity in this guide.
And because the Nomad Canada eSIM uses Rogers Canada network, which has the best general availability, you will always have the best reception when traveling around Canada.
And you cannot make calls and send SMS with the Nomad Canada eSIM because it is a data-only eSIM.
If 1 GB for 7 days is not enough and you do not want to pay 48 USD for 10 GB of data, then you have one more option…
Holafly eSIMs for Canada
My relationship with Holafly is quite funny.
I knew they existed when they offered travel SIM cards for the Spanish market only.
Then they pivoted to the global market, still offering travel SIM cards.
Eventually, they started offering travel eSIMs for the Spanish market only again before going global.
There are many travel eSIM providers nowadays – new ones pop up every week like mushrooms, so I did not bat an eye.
Until they did something revolutionary.
In 2022, Holafly started offering unlimited data plans for its eSIMs.
And these unlimited data eSIMs can be used in various Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.
Unfortunately, unlimited data eSIMs are not available in Canada… yet.
I say yet because Holafly's goal is to offer unlimited data plans for every country it covers: 100+ countries.
And I can tell you that I get positive emails multiple times a week from Phone Travel Wiz readers that have used the unlimited data plans in East- and Southeast Asia, Europe & North America; they love these eSIMs.
For now, you have only two Holafly Canada eSIM (which uses the Rogers Canada network (as well)- the mobile operator with the best general availability, by the way):
- Canada 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 34 USD/34 EUR/27 GBP/49 AUD/44 CAD
- Canada 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 44 USD/44 EUR/34 GBP/64 AUD/57 CAD
Even better, you can get 5% off each and any Holafly purchase (so it does not have to be the Canada eSIM) when you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – fantastic, right?
- Check out my Holafly reviews
Holafly Canada eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly Canada eSIM? Well, because of the following:
- Holafly Canada eSIMs are affordable compared to roaming
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Rogers Canada's network – the best in Canada
- Unlike going with Rogers Canada directly, you do not have to worry about SIM card registration because it is unnecessary
- You can activate your Holafly Canada eSIM as soon as you land in Canada
- The Holafly Canada eSIM offers the most data
Holafly Canada eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Holafly Canada eSIM?
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly Canada eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- Canadian mobile operators, including Rogers Canada, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get full (4G/LTE) access to Rogers Canada's network, your speeds may not be as fast as going with Rogers Canada directly because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- You cannot top up your Holafly Canada eSIM – you would have to buy another eSIM if you need more data
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly Canada eSIM (yet)
Holafly Canada eSIM Overall Thoughts
While you have only two options for the Holafly Canada eSIM, it is the most generous eSIM (in terms of data) in this guide.
And the price for the Holafly Canada eSIM is low compared to expensive Pay As You Go roaming rates for Canada.
But it still is not cheap.
Best eSIMs for in North America (not just Canada)
So what if you plan to visit neighboring Greenland? United States?
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Tuque Mobile, Holafly Canada, or Nomad Canada eSIMs in any country than Canada.
However, Holafly has an eSIM covering Canada and the United States as well.
I highly recommend going with the Holafly North America eSIM, as you will save a lot of money when you do so (especially in Canada – mobile data rates are criminal there).
Holafly North America eSIM
The Holafly North America can be used in Canada, Mexico & the United States.
And as many Phone Travel Wiz readers who visit Canada also visit the United States, it will be better to get the Holafly North America eSIM for your travels.
You only have one option for the Holafly North America eSIM: 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 54 USD/57 EUR/54 GBP.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for Canada (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. Nomad)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs Canada.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's Canada Tuque Mobile eSIM (cheapest)
- Holafly Canada eSIM (most generous data plan)
- Nomad Canada eSIM (most eSIM options)
- Holafly's Canada eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other North American countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in Canada
Do these eSIMs not sound appealing to you, or does your phone not support eSIMs (but still thought this guide was insightful enough that you read it until the end)?
Consider getting a Canadian SIM card instead – that linked guide is the most extensive SIM card buying guide for Canada on the web, packed with insightful information and tips.
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