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eSIM Cards for Canadians – 5 Best in (2024)

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5 Best Esims

When traveling to Canada or venturing abroad, maintaining seamless connectivity is crucial for various reasons such as navigating new places, staying in touch with loved ones, managing work remotely, and ensuring access to emergency services. The advent of eSIM technology offers travelers a more flexible and convenient way to stay connected without the physical limitations of traditional SIM cards. After extensive research and comparison, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to the 5 Best eSIM Cards for Canadians in search of reliable global connectivity.


Quick Access Links

  1. Best eSIM Overall – Airalo
  2. Best eSIM for customizable plans – Alosim 
  3. Best International eSIM – Worldsim
  4. Best Short-Term Trip eSIM – KnowRoaming
  5. Best Connectivity eSIM – oneSIM

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM, or Embedded Subscriber Identity Module, represents a significant leap forward in telecommunications technology, marking a departure from traditional physical SIM cards. Embedded directly into a device, an eSIM is a reprogrammable digital SIM that allows users to activate a cellular plan from a carrier without needing a physical SIM card. This innovation not only streamlines the process of switching between carriers but also supports multiple accounts, making it an ideal solution for international travelers and those who frequently switch between networks.

The versatility of eSIM technology lies in its ability to store multiple operator profiles simultaneously, which can be switched on the fly without the need for physical swapping. This feature is particularly beneficial for smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices, offering enhanced flexibility, improved security, and space-saving advantages. As eSIMs become increasingly prevalent, they pave the way for a new era of connectivity, enabling devices to be smaller and more connected than ever before, and providing users with unprecedented control over their mobile services.

What should you know about using eSIMs in Canada?

One of the best ways I’ve found to stay connected during my adventures in Canada is by using an eSIM. If you’ve never used an eSIM before, it might seem like a confusing concept, but it’s actually quite simple. eSIMs are virtual cards that work with most of the latest generation phones.

What I love about eSIMs is that you can easily switch networks, have more than one SIM at the same time, and there’s no need to get a new physical SIM card. However, there are a few requirements for using a virtual card.

  • Not all phones are compatible with eSIM because it’s a newer technology. So, before purchasing an eSIM, make sure your phone supports it.
  • You will need an email address to receive information on how to activate the eSIM.
  • An internet connection is required to download your eSIM plan.
  • Most eSIMs are activated by scanning QR codes.
  • For some online stores, you may need to download their phone app.

eSIM Cards for Canadians – 5 Best

1.Airalo

Airalo - 5 Best International Sim Cards for Canadians

Best Overall eSIM

With our personal experience with Airalo, it’s hard to deny the capability and convenience of this service. We have traveled to three continents and 15 countries with Airalo and never encountered a fault or issue. We can wholeheartedly recommend this company based on our experience. Airalo provides seamless eSIM solutions that make staying connected globally both easy and reliable.

Airalo is a company that offers eSIM solutions for travelers, allowing them to stay connected without the need for physical SIM cards. They provide a wide range of eSIM plans that can be downloaded and activated on compatible devices. Airalo’s eSIMs cover numerous countries and regions, making it convenient for users to switch networks and manage their data plans through a single platform. This service is especially useful for frequent travelers who need reliable and flexible mobile internet access globally. Here’s a summary of their programs:

  1. Local eSIMs: Country-specific plans ideal for travelers who are visiting one country.
  2. Regional eSIMs: Cover multiple countries within a region:
    • Africa: Hello Africa works in 26 countries.
    • Asia: Asialink works in 14 countries.
    • Caribbean Islands: Island Hopper works in 22 countries.
    • Europe: Eurolink works in 39 countries.
  3. Global eSIMs: Discover Global plan works in 87 countries, suitable for those traveling across multiple destinations.

Airalo offers both short-term (7, 15, 30 days) and long-term plans (60, 90, 180 days), with various data allowances (1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, etc.). Their prices are competitive, and the service is known for its reliability and ease of use. Most plans are data-only, meaning they don’t support traditional voice calls or SMS but work well with app-based communication services like WhatsApp and iMessage.

For more detailed information, you can visit their website.


2. Alosim

Alosim eSIM - 5 Best International Sim Cards for Canadians

Best eSIM for customizable plans

aloSIM offers eSIM solutions for travelers, providing instant access to mobile data across 170+ countries. This service allows users to download and activate eSIM plans on compatible devices without the need for physical SIM cards. aloSIM offers a variety of local, regional, and global data plans, making it a convenient option for travelers seeking reliable and flexible mobile internet access. Their plans are available for different durations and data allowances, ensuring there’s a suitable option for every traveler’s needs.

Based on our extensive travel experience, aloSIM provides a highly reliable and convenient eSIM service. Here’s a brief overview of aloSIM’s offerings:

Local eSIMs:

  • United States: 7 Days 1 GB for $4.50
  • Mexico: 7 Days 1 GB for $8
  • Germany: 7 Days 1 GB for $5
  • Italy: 7 Days 1 GB for $4.50
  • Portugal: 7 Days 1 GB for $4.50
  • United Kingdom: 7 Days 1 GB for $5

Regional and Global Plans:

  • Coverage in 170+ countries, with easy installation and activation through their website or mobile app.

For more information, visit their website.


3. WorldSim

WorldSim -

Best International eSIM

WorldSIM provides international SIM cards and eSIMs designed to keep travelers connected globally without incurring high roaming charges. They offer coverage in over 200 countries and regions, providing users with affordable data, voice, and SMS services. WorldSIM products come with both UK and USA phone numbers, making it easy for users to receive calls without additional costs in many destinations.

WorldSIM Plans:

  1. International SIM Cards:
    • Standard SIM: Voice, SMS, and data plans for global use.
    • Data SIM: Designed specifically for data usage.
  2. eSIMs:
    • eSIM Pro: Voice, SMS, and data.
    • eSIM Connect: Data-only plans.
  3. Portable WiFi:
    • Devices to provide internet access anywhere.

For more detailed information, visit WorldSIM.


4. KnowRoaming

KnowRoaming - 5 Best International SIM Cards

Best Short-Term Trip eSIM

KnowRoaming provides eSIM solutions for international travelers, offering coverage in over 200 destinations. Their eSIMs allow users to stay connected without the need for physical SIM cards, avoiding high roaming charges. They provide various data plans that can be easily activated through a QR code, making global connectivity straightforward and hassle-free.

KnowRoaming Plans and Pricing:

  1. Local Plans (for specific countries):
    • United States: From $4.50
    • Canada: From $6.00
    • Mexico: From $8.00
    • Germany: From $5.00
    • United Kingdom: From $5.00
  2. Regional Plans:
    • Africa: From $4.50
    • Asia: From $4.50
    • Caribbean: From $15.00
    • Europe: From $4.50
    • LATAM: From $4.50
    • Middle East: From $4.50
    • North America: From $4.50
    • Oceania: From $4.50
  3. Global Plans:
    • Global coverage: Starting from $14.50

For more detailed information, visit KnowRoaming.


5. Onesim

oneSIM - 5 Best International eSIM Cards for Canadians

Best Connectivity eSIM

OneSimCard provides international SIM card solutions tailored for travelers, allowing them to stay connected in numerous countries without changing SIM cards. Their SIM cards support voice calls, texts, and data, and come in a 3-in-1 format (Mini, Micro, Nano), making them compatible with various devices. Each SIM card includes both a European and an American/Canadian number, enhancing their usability across different regions.

Plans:

  1. Universal SIM Card:
    • Coverage: 50+ countries
    • Rates: Calls from $0.25/min, texts from $0.10, data from $0.10/MB
    • Price: $29.95 with $10 credit included
  2. Europe & More SIM:
    • Coverage: 70+ countries
    • Rates: Calls from $0.25/min, free incoming calls in the EU, data from $0.02/MB
    • Price: $29.95 with $10 credit included, currently on sale
  3. Expedition SIM:
    • Coverage: 175+ countries
    • Rates: Calls from $0.25/min, free incoming calls in 130 countries, data from $0.02/MB
    • Price: $34.95 with $10 credit included

For more detailed information, visit the OneSimCard website.


 

Each of these SIM cards offers unique benefits tailored to different types of travelers, from those needing extensive global coverage and data to those looking for cost-effective solutions for short-term trips. Whether you’re a frequent traveler requiring flexibility and wide coverage or a budget-conscious tourist aiming to avoid hefty roaming fees, the 5 Best eSIM cards cater to a broad spectrum of needs, ensuring you stay connected wherever your travels take you.

Why are eSIM Cards Important for Travel?

eSIM cards represent a significant advancement in connectivity for travelers, offering unparalleled convenience and flexibility that traditional physical SIM cards cannot match. For globetrotters, business travelers, and anyone moving across borders, eSIMs eliminate many of the logistical challenges associated with staying connected in foreign countries. Here are several reasons why eSIM cards are becoming indispensable for travel:

Seamless Connectivity: eSIMs allow travelers to switch between different network providers without the need to physically change SIM cards. This means you can land in a new country and immediately connect to a local network, ensuring continuous access to maps, travel information, and communication tools.

Cost-Effective: By enabling travelers to subscribe to local data plans, eSIMs avoid the exorbitant roaming charges traditionally associated with international travel. This makes managing travel budgets easier and allows for more predictable expenses.

Multiple Plans on One Device: eSIM technology supports storing multiple profiles simultaneously, allowing travelers to keep their home number active while using a local data plan. This dual functionality is perfect for those who need to stay reachable on their primary number while avoiding high roaming costs.

Enhanced Security: Losing a physical SIM card or having it stolen can be a significant security risk, especially when traveling. eSIMs are embedded into the device, reducing the risk of loss or theft and offering a safer alternative to maintain connectivity.

Space-Saving and Eco-Friendly: For device manufacturers, eSIMs free up valuable space within devices that can be used for other features or to make devices slimmer. Additionally, the shift towards digital SIMs reduces the need for plastic SIM card production, contributing to environmental conservation efforts.

Broad Device Compatibility: With an increasing number of devices supporting eSIM technology, from smartphones and tablets to smartwatches and laptops, travelers have the flexibility to stay connected across all their devices without the need for multiple physical SIM cards.

Can I Use Multiple eSIM Cards While Traveling?

One of the standout features of eSIM technology is its ability to support multiple eSIM profiles on a single device. This capability is particularly beneficial for travelers, as it allows them to switch between different carrier plans without needing to physically replace SIM cards. Here’s what you need to know about using multiple eSIM cards while traveling:

Simultaneous Profiles: Modern smartphones and devices equipped with eSIM technology can store several eSIM profiles at once. However, it’s important to note that while you can store multiple profiles, you can typically only use one profile at a time for cellular data. Switching between profiles can be done easily through the device’s settings, allowing for flexibility depending on your location or specific needs.

Local and International Plans: Travelers can benefit from having multiple eSIM profiles by keeping their home country’s profile active for calls and texts while using a local eSIM profile for data services in the country they are visiting. This approach ensures that they can enjoy lower data rates without missing important calls or messages on their primary number.

Managing Profiles: The process of adding, removing, and switching between eSIM profiles is managed through the device’s settings. For travelers, this means the convenience of pre-purchasing eSIM plans from different providers and activating them as needed throughout their journey. It’s a straightforward process that offers real-time adaptability to the best available networks.

Carrier Support and Compatibility: It’s crucial to ensure that your device supports eSIM technology and that the carriers or eSIM service providers you intend to use offer compatible plans. Compatibility and support can vary by device model and carrier, so checking in advance is advisable to avoid any inconvenience.

Practical Use: For practical use while traveling, managing multiple eSIM profiles enables travelers to stay connected in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. Whether it’s switching to a local data plan upon arrival, maintaining an eSIM profile for a frequently visited country, or juggling between business and personal profiles, the flexibility of eSIM technology caters to diverse connectivity needs.

How do I Know if My Device is Compatible?

Determining whether your device is compatible with an eSIM is an essential step before you can take advantage of the flexibility and convenience this technology offers. The compatibility largely depends on the make and model of your device, as eSIM technology is a relatively recent development and is not supported by all devices. Generally, most newer smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches from major manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Google, and others have built-in eSIM capability.

iPhone eSIM compatibility

Android eSIM compatibility

To check if your device is eSIM-compatible, you can start by consulting the user manual or the technical specifications listed on the manufacturer’s website. Look for mentions of eSIM or Embedded SIM alongside the device’s other features. Another reliable method is to visit the settings menu on your device. For example, on an iPhone, you can go to Settings > Cellular (or Mobile Data) > Add Cellular Plan; if this option is available, your device supports eSIM. Similarly, Android users can find eSIM settings under Network & Internet in the settings menu.

Additionally, contacting your mobile carrier or visiting their website can provide information on whether they support eSIM technology and if your device is eligible. It’s important to note that even if your device is eSIM-compatible, the feature must also be supported by your mobile network provider for you to utilize eSIM services effectively.

Which Devices Support eSIM

Smartphones

  • Apple iPhone: From iPhone XS, XS Max, XR (and later models including the iPhone 11 series, iPhone 12 series, iPhone 13 series, iPhone 14 series and iPhone SE 2020 onwards).
  • Google Pixel: Starting with Pixel 2 (limited support), fully supported from Pixel 3, 3a, 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 6, and later models.
  • Samsung Galaxy: S20 series, S21 series, S22 series, s23 series, s24 series Note 20 series, Z Fold series, Z Flip series, and newer models.
  • Motorola Razr: 2019 version and later.
  • Huawei: P40, P40 Pro, and Mate 40 Pro.

Tablets

  • Apple iPad: iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad (7th generation and later), and iPad Mini (5th generation and later).
  • Microsoft Surface: Surface Pro X and newer models.

Smartwatches

  • Apple Watch: Series 3 Cellular and later models.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch: Galaxy Watch (LTE version), Galaxy Watch Active2 (LTE version), Galaxy Watch 3 (LTE version), and newer models.
  • Huawei Watch 2 Pro.

Other Devices

  • Laptops: Certain models like the Microsoft Surface Pro X and some versions of the Lenovo Yoga and HP Spectre x360 have built-in eSIM support.

Other Options to Get Mobile Internet in Canada

Buying a Prepaid SIM Card

If you wish to stay connected during your travel adventures, there are other ways to get the internet. Canada has many prepaid SIM options, but they can be quite expensive. For example, 1 GB of data may cost up to $30. It’s important to do proper research to find the best deals.

Additionally, buying a prepaid SIM card requires either getting your SIM card delivered before your trip or visiting a local store upon arrival, which can sometimes be a hassle.

Overall, the best option is the Telus Mobility SIM card for Canada, offering excellent network coverage and great value data packages. For around $70, you can get 20 GB of data.

Relying on Public & Hotel Wi-Fi

Using public Wi-Fi networks is another alternative if you don’t want to spend on getting your own secure network and don’t handle sensitive data. However, this is the least recommended option.

In Canada, most hotels, bars, and shops offer public Wi-Fi networks. If you use public Wi-Fi, it’s always recommended to use a VPN.

To find public Wi-Fi networks in Canada, you can use the WiFi Map app.

Mobile Network Providers and Their Coverage in Canada

Despite Canada’s large size and relatively small population, it has numerous mobile internet providers. The biggest ones, offering the best coverage and network connectivity, are Telus Mobility, Virgin Mobile, Rogers, and Bell Canada.

In Canada’s cities, you will also find other local mobile internet providers like Videotron Mobile, WIND Mobile, and Freedom Mobile, although they don’t operate throughout the whole country.

4G/5G Network Coverage:

  • Telus Mobility: Best for West Canada travel.
  • Bell Mobility: Ideal for East Canada, including Toronto, Quebec, and Ottawa.

Bell Network Coverage

Bell’s coverage map is the largest in Canada, covering 99% of the population and focusing on major urban centers. Alberta and Saskatchewan are particularly well-represented. Bell also offers more than 4,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

Bell services several smaller carrier brands, including Virgin Mobile, Lucky Mobile, and PC Mobile, providing Canadians access to the same vast network at lower prices. While Bell has no national roaming options, it offers several international roaming plans.

TELUS Network Coverage

TELUS shares cell towers with Bell nationwide, covering all Canadian provinces, metropolitan areas, and nearly 100% of the population. TELUS is known for reliability and slightly faster networks compared to Bell, covering 29% of Canada by region. TELUS works with smaller mobile operators like Koodo and Public Mobile and offers some domestic roaming capabilities.

Rogers Network Coverage

The Rogers network covers less than 20% of Canada’s land area but reaches 98% of the population, focusing on major city centers. Its main weakness is limited coverage in less densely populated areas. Rogers has a robust nationwide LTE network, although some customers in less populated areas may still use 3G. The company is developing a new 5G network. Rogers offers international roaming options and shares coverage with smaller carriers like Fido, Chatr, and Cityfone, providing a wider range of pricing and planning options.