So you’ve just stepped off a plane and taken your first steps on Canadian soil. What’s the first thing you do? Call your mum to let her know you arrived safely? Research the journey time to the mountains? Post an Instagram story to make everyone back home jealous? Whatever you choose to do, it will likely involve a mobile phone.

In this guide, we will discuss the basic concepts that are important to understand before shopping around for a Canadian mobile phone plan and highlight some good providers to take a look at.

How much will you pay for a mobile phone plan in Canada?

Let’s get one thing out the way: Canada is notorious for having some of the most expensive phone plans in the world, especially when you factor in data.

If you want the latest iPhone and enough data to download an entire Netflix series from the chair lift, then brace yourself. We will do our best to lay out a broad range of competitive options, but there is a good chance you will be paying more than wherever it is you are coming from.

The plan’s cost will vary greatly depending on the type of services you need. For example, if you want a simple phone plan that only allows you to make calls and texts, then you will be able to find some cheaper options.


It is the age of the interest, and you may want at least some data with your phone plan. Unfortunately, this is likely to significantly impact the price of your Sim only/Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) plan. For sim only/BYOP plans (i.e. phone not included!), the average price for 5 GB’s a month ranges from $30 to $40; if you are a data fiend and want more, the price will only grow.

There is, of course, Wi-Fi in the resort; however, as you might imagine, everyone logging on after a day on the slopes tends to slow it down considerably. We have found FaceTime audio is the best option for quality phone calls (sorry Android users) over services like WhatsApp, but this can vary on a case to case/day to day basis. We recommend using the resort internet as a luxury but not relying on it.

Bring your own phone plans with more than 20GB of data, calls & texts

These plans tend to be more expensive (>$80/month) but offer that extra data for those who need it.

  • Telus
  • Bell
  • Rodgers

Bring your own phone plans with less than 20GB of data, calls & texts

These plans are a lot nicer to the bank ($25-$70/month) and tend to offer enough data for most people.

  • Public Mobile
  • Lucky Mobile
  • Virgin Plus

Bring your own phone plans with calls & texts

Almost all companies that provide a mobile service offer a plan that just includes Calls & Texts. They can range in price (<$35/month), so do your research and make sure you are grabbing the best deal for you. Here are a few that offer the service:

  • Public Mobile
  • Telus
  • Bell

Other important things to consider

Make sure to shop within your region!

Sometimes plans are restricted by province, and if you purchase for the wrong region (i.e. Ontario when you will be living in British Columbia), the sim may not work.

Most of the time, the region can be selected in the menu bar and appears as an abbreviation of the province name.

Check the coverage map!

Most companies will have a coverage map on their site where you can check that their data works where you will be living. These maps are a great resource and are worth checking before committing to a plan, as coverage can vary depending on the provider.

Read the fine print!

I know, boringggggggg, but some providers add extra fees where they outsource the service provision in certain areas to other companies, so it’s always best to check you won’t be paying more than you thought to use the service.
It’s also worth checking out if you are committing to a certain period of time. For example, if you start on a 12-month plan but are only out in Canada for four, that’s a lot of money wasted!

Plan Bolt-on provisions

It’s good to check what bolt-ons are available per provider. They definitely won’t be as exciting as the bolt-ons we offer, but it’s still worth checking out what each provider can give you.

International calls can be handy to ensure you don’t pick up extra costs when calling back home; alternatively, use services like Facetime or Whatsapp over Wi-Fi or data.

Another good one is checking out how much it would be to top up your data in case you run out is also a good thing to be aware of as this can vary.

Do you want to keep your local number?

Adding an international bolt-on to your current home plan might be possible. These can be expensive, and not having a Canadian number can have its downsides. Depending on how long you stay, this method over a standard Canadian sim can be more cost-effective and save a lot of hassle on the way out and the way back.

Another option to keep your UK number is to pair your home plan with an e-sim…

Is an e-sim the right option for me?

E-sims offer a large amount of flexibility as they can often be used alongside other sims and can be very cost-effective; however, they tend to add an extra layer of complication and you will need to make sure your phone is compatible.

E-sims can be used alongside a physical sim; this means you can use your number from home as usual whilst also holding a Canadian number and avoiding roaming charges that would come with using your home plan abroad.
E-sims can also be used to save on data costs by getting a data only e-sim and using it alongside a calls & texts physical sim.

Most providers offer an e-sim option, and you can also find some good data only deals from international providers who provide travel plans.

Do your own research!

Have an explore of these providers and consider our advice but be conscious that people’s needs differ on a case to case basis.

There are plenty of options to choose from, and clients tend to find their own unique way of achieving exactly what they need at the correct price point.

Finally, sort it early!

You will be very busy leading up to your course, so we strongly suggest sorting the mobile plan early.

Tiredness, excitement, and butterflies do not blend well with trying to sort your phone out, especially when you also need your phone to contact your family back home to let them know all is well.

So rather than adding to the headache of things that need sorting, research providers now so you know what you are getting; we can help you pick up the physical sim within the first few days, either at the airport, in town or closer to resort but there isn’t time to still be working out what you need, alternatively feel free to have it shipped to resort.