Welcome to eSIM Canada 101!
So you say you’ve been curious about eSIM data, but haven’t known where to start? Maybe you’re still fuzzy on the details, but you’ve heard it’s pretty great?
If you live in Canada and you’ve been wanting to learn more about eSIM, this post is for you. We’re answering all of your burning eSIM Canada questions, starting with the most important one for beginners …
eSIM Canada 101: What is eSIM?
You’re probably familiar with how your cell phone has a SIM card inside, and that SIM card is what lets your phone connect to different networks (i.e. Rogers, Telus, Bell) to make calls, send texts, and connect to the internet.
Well, an eSIM is the digital equivalent of a physical SIM card, connecting your device to networks and powering it with the mobile data it needs to access websites, use online services, and stream content.
Unlike a physical SIM card, eSIM technology is built right into your device already, and can’t be removed. This means you can shop online for an eSIM for a particular country, install the eSIM on your device, and use it to access mobile data packages that allow you to connect to a local network in that country.
eSIM Canada 101: Why choose eSIM?
Canadians are choosing eSIM data because it’s affordable, flexible, and convenient. They love the ability to add small amounts of mobile data whenever they want it, without being tied down with contracts or monthly commitments.
When Canadians travel, an eSIM data package allows them to avoid roaming charges with their home carrier because they’re using a local eSIM for data – not their regular monthly plan. This can mean HUGE savings per trip, especially for frequent travelers.
eSIM Canada 101: How it works
If you’re brand-new to eSIM, you might be surprised to learn the technology has probably been hiding inside your phone this whole time, without you even realizing it!
That’s exactly what makes eSIM so powerful. Because it’s a part of your device, it’s a breeze to add data whenever you want – no need to go through a carrier, fiddle with any physical pieces of your phone, or sign on the dotted line of a contract.
How eSIM works:
* Use an app like aloSIM to shop for data packages in 120+ countries
* Choose the package that works best for you
* Install the eSIM on your device so you’re ready to connect
* Activate your data package and enjoy your new data connection!
* If you need more data, it’s easy to top up your eSIM
eSIM Canada 101: How to score deals
When you’re shopping for an eSIM data package, there are a few ways to spot a great deal (and identify a bad deal before you choose it).
Choose an eSIM plan without contracts: You don’t want to be tied to a long-term agreement, or pay a flat daily rate for data connectivity, no matter how you use. (Contracts don’t exist at aloSIM, since we believe people prefer a prepaid model.)
Look for a flexible eSIM provider: If you don’t want or need 10 GB, then don’t pick an eSIM provider (or a carrier) that’s going to insist it’s 10 GB or nothing. (In the aloSIM app, we have a variety of package sizes so people can choose the amount of data they want.)
Make sure the eSIM can be topped up: If you run out of data and want more, make sure the eSIM provider lets you top up your plan with additional data packages. (We make this easy in the aloSIM app.)
When you find an eSIM provider who can provide all of the above (like the aloSIM app), you’ll know you’re getting a great deal on your eSIM data plan.
eSIM Canada 101: Compatible devices
While eSIM technology is growing quickly, not every mobile device supports eSIM yet. (Although before long, you’ll probably see every new phone is strictly eSIM-only and physical SIM cards will be a thing of the past.)
Before purchasing an eSIM data package, it’s important to make sure your device supports eSIM technology. Otherwise, you won’t be able to install eSIMs and use data packages.
Not sure if your device supports eSIM? We’ve put together a complete list of devices that support eSIM technology. Be sure to check to see if your device is on the list.
eSIM Canada 101: Carriers in Canada
If you’re using eSIM within Canada, you’ll see that many Canadian carriers support eSIM technology.
Here’s a current list of eSIM carriers in Canada:
* Lucky Mobile
But not every eSIM provider supports every carrier, of course. Here at aloSIM, our Canadian eSIM data packages run on both the Bell and Telus networks.
Can I choose my Canada eSIM network?
While seven Canadian carriers currently support eSIM technology, that doesn’t mean every carrier is compatible with each Canadian eSIM provider. That’s why it’s important to leave your Network Selection on “automatic,” so your eSIM provider can connect you to a supported network.
Each eSIM provider in Canada has a small selection of partner carriers in a particular country, and their data packages are only available through those specific providers. If you manually try to connect to a specific network and it’s not supported by that eSIM carrier, you won’t be successful.
What eSIM networks does aloSIM use in Canada?
Our eSIM Canada plans are proudly running on the Bell and Telus networks.
Now, if you live in Canada, you already know that these two Canadian networks are in major competition with each other. Normally, if you’re a Bell customer, you can’t just hop onto a Telus network (and vice versa, if you’re a Telus customer, you won’t be getting data from Bell). It’s just not going to happen.
But the perk of being an aloSIM customer is that we’ll connect you to either of these solid Canadian eSIM networks! It’s all based on which one has the stronger signal in your particular area.
In some parts of Canada, Bell may have the best connection and that’s where aloSIM will automatically connect you. Bell is Canada’s largest telecommunications company, keeping Canadian consumers and businesses connected for more than 140 years now.
In other areas of Canada, Telus’s world-leading mobile network connection may be the winner. This is why we always recommend leaving your eSIM Network Selection on “automatic,” so your device automatically chooses between aloSIM-supported networks.
I’m Canadian, but I need travel data for another country
Traveling outside of Canada with eSIM data? We can definitely help with that. While we offer plenty of Canada eSIM data packages within the aloSIM app, we also offer eSIM data packages for 120+ countries and regions. Travel without paying roaming charges!
International eSIM options for Canadians
If you live in Canada, you probably have a regular cell phone plan with a Canadian phone carrier. You know the drill – you probably pay $40-$60 a month to be able to call, text, and use data within your coverage area.
When you travel outside of Canada, your regular carrier may try to sell you on a travel data plan for your trip. These plans mean you’ll pay extra on your next cell phone bill for the ability to call, text, and use data while you’re on vacation.
The downside to carrier travel data plans
While these plans are fairly easy to set up (usually involving a quick visit to your phone carrier’s local store or kiosk), they can be very expensive. Because your regular carrier will incur additional costs to keep you connected in another country, they need to charge high prices.
Carrier travel data packages also tend to be large, which means you’ll pay for a lot more data than you’ll probably use. The package might be a flat rate for each day of your trip, so even if you use your data for 10 seconds one day, you’ll still be paying the same amount as if you’d used it for five hours straight. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
The benefits of eSIM travel data plans
If you’d rather not pay for a travel data package through your primary carrier, you have the option to purchase an eSIM data package as long as you have an eSIM-compatible device.
Using an eSIM travel data plan from aloSIM has so many benefits, especially while you’re traveling.
* No in-store visits required: You can purchase aloSIM data packages while lounging in bed or standing in an airport line-up. All you need is a Wi-Fi or data connection to be able to purchase and install your new eSIM.
* No surprise fees or hidden charges: With aloSIM, every eSIM package is 100% prepaid. You pay the amount listed for a data package, and that’s it. Your card will never be charged for anything else, unless you choose to top up your package and get additional data.
* No paying for more than you need: We don’t believe in daily rates or one-size-fits-all data packages because everyone uses a different amount of data. Some aloSIM customers choose a large data package because they know they’ll go through it, but others purchase a small 1GB data package because they know they just need a little bit to tide them over when there isn’t Wi-Fi available. It’s your choice!
* No worries if you need more data: If you go over on a carrier travel data plan, your home carrier might charge you steep fees to stay connected (and you might need to wait on hold for a while to make the arrangements). With the aloSIM app, you can easily top up your package yourself if you’d like additional mobile data.
Top travel packages for Canada eSIM customers
As a Canadian communications company, we know firsthand that Canadians L-O-V-E to travel the world (especially if it means we get to skip the snow and ice, leave our toques at home, and relax somewhere warm).
Here are some of the most popular eSIM data packages purchased by our Canadian customers:
MEXICO: While Mexico has gorgeous beaches and magnificent sunsets, many areas are known to have weak Wi-Fi. So with eSIM data for Mexico starting at just $10, many Canada eSIM customers like knowing they have an affordable data connection while they’re vacationing in spots like Tulum, Cancún, or Puerto Vallarta.
UNITED STATES: Ah, our neighbour to the south! Canadians are always popping down to the United States to shop, eat, and explore. aloSIM data packages for the U.S. start at just $5, so it’s cheap to be able to stay connected in all 50 states.
UNITED KINGDOM: Many Canadians have relatives “across the pond,” so it’s no wonder we see so many U.K. data packages sold to our Canada eSIM customers. Our eSIM data starts at $4.50 for a seven-day package – perfect for checking social, looking up restaurants, and pulling up maps while you’re in Jolly Ol’ England.
ITALY: We can taste the homemade pasta already, mmm! Italy is a popular destination for Canadians, especially in May, June, September, and October. But while they’re hiking along the Sella-Herbetet Traverse or strolling through the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, they like knowing they have mobile data if they need to look something up or receive an important call. aloSIM data for Italy starts at just $4.50.
CANADA: Yes, you read that correctly! Canadians are buying Canada eSIM data packages to use right in their own backyard. Why? Well, some people prefer not to have monthly cell phone plans, but they like to add short-term Canada eSIM data (starting at $9) to their devices occasionally. The cheapest and easiest way to do that is by purchasing an eSIM data package. (This is also a popular option for parents of kids/tweens/teens who don’t want to pay for monthly packages, but want to be able to stay connected to their children during trips or special activities.)
How does eSIM help me avoid roaming charges?
When you’re traveling, roaming charges are the spooky monster lurking inside your suitcase. They’re unpredictable, they’re expensive, and they’re oh-so-frustrating (especially when you don’t fully understand when and how they’ll be charged).
You rack up roaming charges when you try to use your regular, at-home cell phone plan outside of your normal cellular coverage area.
So if you’re in Toronto and you have nationwide coverage, it’s no problem to use your phone in Vancouver. You won’t be charged roaming fees because even though you’re “away from home,” you’re still within your usual cellular network.
But the second you cross the border from Ontario into New York state, for example, your carrier is going to ding you for the privilege of keeping you connected in another country. Every second your phone is “roaming,” including apps in the background, your carrier is going to keep a close tally and add roaming charges to your next bill. Trust us, they can be frighteningly expensive!
Want to avoid roaming charges? It’s easy. Don’t rely on your regular cell plan for data when you’re outside your coverage instead. Instead, shut Data Roaming off on your primary plan, and use prepaid eSIM data to get a great price for local data. All you need is the aloSIM app. 😉
eSIM Canada 101: Getting started
Whether you’re looking for an eSIM for Canada, or for any of our other 120+ supported countries, your first stop should be the aloSIM app.
* Use the aloSIM app to shop eSIM plans
* Pick a data package (amount of data + number of days)
* Install the eSIM on a compatible device
* Activate your data and enjoy a local connection
* If you want more data, top up your eSIM easily!
We can’t wait for you to experience the magic of eSIM connectivity in True North, Strong and Free. And if you need help along the way, we’re always here for you.