Do you have to go on a business trip or are planning a vacation to Canada soon? Check out these cell phones that can be used in Canada. We’re going to share some tips and tricks for getting across the border to our neighboring country up North, and still being able to use your phone just the same way you would back in the states.
Don’t make the same mistake I made on a short road trip to Thunder Bay. We crossed into Canada and looked down at our phones a few minutes later and realized “uh-oh”. It’s a good thing for the car GPS we had in order to get us back to the border!
We will acknowledge the best ways to get cell phone service in Canada without the large bills that come attached with data usage when you’re out of the country.
We are going to take a look at some of the best SIM cards and cell phone plans for usage in Canada.
Pack your things, camping gear, or business suits, and come along, we’re headed north to look at cell phones that can be used in Canada.
Table of Contents
1. TrueMove H
Now you’re probably wondering right off the bat, do US cell phones work in Canada. The answer is yes, there are basically two options for this to happen. One is a basic “burner” SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card.
The other option is an international calling plan that is put in place by your cell phone service provider.
TrueMove H is the first option, a burner SIM card. If you are thinking about whether or not US cell phones in Canada work, make sure to check out TrueMove H. This is one of the top options for temporary cell phone service in Canada.
They have one of the widest 4G LTE Networks and 3G roaming networks in Canada.
There is 6GB of data for 15 days packed into the pre-paid SIM card. Calls and text messages are not included, so either an international call plan would need to be set by the provider. If you are just going to be using the data for directions or email, this SIM card is a perfect option for you.
Grab one of the most powerful networks SIM cards through the T-Mobile website or by visiting your local retailer. One of the best signals throughout the United States is now available throughout Canada as well. You’re going to want to use this burner SIM card in Canada.
There is 5GB of data, along with unlimited texts and calls for 15 days.
Take the hassle out of having to worry about buying a new phone in Canada or trying to unlock your phone. A simple and easy SIM card replacement and poof you’re ready to explore Canada! See the reason why people choose T-Mobile for cell phone plans and cell phones that can be used in Canada.
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Are you wondering about your AT&T service in Canada? Well not to fear, because AT&T also covers a good portion of Canada as well! The prepaid SIM card is preloaded with 30GB of data with unlimited texts and calls for 30 days.
We can’t claim that AT&T is the fastest in the US, but it will provide you with fast and reliable networks in many parts of Canada. That is definitely something you’re going to want when exploring new territory.
Make sure to get World Nomads travel insurance for any new adventure, it’s one of the smartest and easiest ways to make sure you’re covered while being out of the country.
Pre-Paid Cell Phone Plans
4. Verizon Wireless
You are also probably wondering about another one of the top carriers in the US, Verizon. Does my Verizon Wireless service work in Canada? Let me answer that for you. Verizon has some of the best cell phones that can be used in Canada.
Verizon has its system set up a little bit differently than a SIM card. There are no SIM card options available through Verizon themselves. There have been reports of third parties selling Verizon SIM cards for use in Canada, but we don’t recommend going that route.
You’re probably still wondering, does Verizon service work in Canada? The answer is no. Your standard US plan is not going to work in Canada.
But wait, there’s more. The second answer is yes. With TravelPass, your US wireless plan travels anywhere you do. Use your phone just like you would anywhere back in the states with 4G LTE speeds. You will only be charged by each call or text you make. A TravelPass session lasts 24 hours depending on how much data you are using during the day. Other than that the standard rates apply as they would back in the United States.
Cost: $5 per day
Verizon Wireless also offers a prepaid cell phone plan. It offers 15GB at $45 per month. This makes things easy if you don’t want to stick around on Verizon for long, or are just using the phone for travel.
Always make sure to book a flight through Scotts Cheap Flights, especially when going up north!
See Related: 10 Best Travel Hangers for Business Trips
Many people are choosing to buy a cheaper phone on a plan with no contract or warranties or anything like that. Especially when traveling, this makes things much easier in some aspects.
When you buy a phone under a contract from a big network, most of these phones are going to be locked to that carrier. There are ways around this, including reading your carrier’s contract very carefully. If you do not want to void any of these specific requirements, it is much easier to get a prepaid phone on a no-contract plan. That way you can get your phone unlocked without voiding anything and receiving penalty payments.
There is a number of phone unlocking service companies. We will provide you with a list of companies with the best phone unlocking service.
- Official iPhone Unlock
- DoctorSIM Unlock Service
- iPhone IMEI
- Mobile Unlocked
- Cell Unblocker
- Unlock Base
This is one of the best-unlimited data prepaid plans that work on a 5G Verizon network. Get unlimited data, calls, and texts along with free mobile hotspots. Grab a cheap phone that can easily be unlocked and insert a Canadian-compatible SIM card and you’ll be good to go.
Cost: $40 per month
See Related: 16 Best Travel Backpacks
6. Mint Mobile
By far the most affordable option, Mint Mobile offers 10GB of data for the small price of $20 per month.
With unlimited talk and text, this network offers both 5G and 4G LTE networks. Grab a prepaid phone, unlock it, and be on your way up north without any hassles! Use a burner SIM Canada card to allow usage in a good range of Canada.
All cell phones are not going to work in Canada. Their processors will simply not be able to handle the different types of networks available to Canada. This is why unlocking a newer style phone, or having a Canada SIM card at the ready is going to be much easier for traveling purposes.
The biggest hurdle in getting your phone to work in Canada isn’t always the carrier. It sometimes can be the actual phone itself. If you’ve had your phone for a number of years, or many many years (I know some of us still have a flip phone out there), chances are your old phone is not going to work.
Technology has changed tenfold, even just over the past ten years, cell phone coverage and service have come such a long way. It is quite impressive how far we have come over the last thirty years as far as cell phones and cell phone coverage goes. Technology is ever-changing, especially in the US and Canada, so it is hard for older phones and earlier technology to keep up with the rapid pace and changes of the 4G LTE and 5G networks.
Make sure to check out Skyscanner for all the best deals on flights up north.
The biggest hurdle in getting your phone to work in Canada isn’t always the carrier. It sometimes can be the actual phone itself. If you’ve had your phone for a number of years, or many many years (I know some of us still have a flip phone out there), chances are your old phone is not going to work. Most 4G phones are now going to work in the Canadian provinces, but not all of them.
iPhones are good at keeping their phones up-to-date with the latest technology, security, and processors. This means up to a certain phone, your iPhone will absolutely work in Canada. As long as all of the above-mentioned circumstances are intact.
iPhone 6 through 12 should be ready to rock and roll if they are either unlocked, have an international cell plan, or have a Canadian SIM card ready to be inserted. Your carrier should provide you with a map of coverage throughout Canada, and it would be wise to check on the coverage. Make sure you will have enough coverage as to where you are headed in Canada. The further north you get, the less reception and carrier services are likely.
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8. Samsung Galaxy
Now, this article is not meant to be an iPhone versus Samsung piece by any means, but of course, these are going to be the top two contenders in this category. Samsung is making some of the highest technologically advanced phones, competing with, of course, the iPhone.
But none of this matters. No matter which phone company you choose as long as you can travel with it and it is Canada-friendly, that’s all that matters!
Samsung has a range of Galaxy models with the most recent being the Galaxy s21, with the s22 coming soon. Any ranges of Galaxy’s all the way back to the s7 and above are capable of roaming the networks in Canada. This gives you a huge range of options to choose from, on a ton of different carriers. Grab an unlocked Galaxy today and head to Canada with zero issues. (Just don’t forget your passport.)
The underdog of the tech world, Nokia, sneaks underneath the competition without making much of a sound, except in Canada. Apparently, there has been an overwhelming response for the Nokia brand of phones throughout Canada. With a fair price point for even their top options of phones, Nokia has branded five of their phones for customers that live in or are traveling to Canada.
Most Nokia phones already come unlocked, no matter who the carrier is. This is a huge perk because this means you don’t have to go through the hassle of trying to unlock it yourself!
Better yet, since these phones are geared towards Canada and the networks they use, you shouldn’t have any problems connecting to any of the numbers of networks that roam throughout Canada. The five phones that are available are the old-school Nokia 3310 3G, Nokia 1, 3, 5, and 6.1. Any of these are going to be Canada-ready!