Does Tello Mobile Work In Canada? No – Here’s What To Do Instead

Traveling to Canada with your Tello Mobile phone? It’s crucial to understand the limitations and alternatives for using your mobile service north of the border.

Tello Mobile, operating on the T-Mobile network in the US, currently does not offer roaming agreements with Canadian carriers.

Here’s what that means for you and how you can stay connected in Canada.

Tello Mobile Service Limitations in Canada

No Voice Calls or Text Messages:

Your Tello phone won’t connect to Canadian networks for calls or texts. This means you can’t make or receive voice calls or SMS messages while in Canada. But there’s a solution for this: to make or receive calls and send or receive messages you can rely on Wi-Fi calling.

No Data Usage as there is no roaming available yet. For the moment Tello does not provide international roaming, therefore data cannot be used while you’re outside the US.

Alternatives for Mobile Usage in Canada

Purchase a Local SIM Card 📲

The most straightforward solution is to buy a prepaid SIM card from Canadian carriers like Bell, Rogers, or Telus. This will give you access to data, calls, and texts at local rates, making it an affordable and reliable option.

Utilize Wi-Fi Calling and Texting 🌐

If you have access to Wi-Fi, you can easily enable you’re Wi-Fi calling from your device. This method lets you communicate with anyone, anywhere, without incurring additional charges. You will be able to make or receive calls and send or receive messages as long as you are connected to the Wi-Fi. If your device allows it, you can even use a local SIM card’s data as a hotspot for enabling Wi-Fi calling on your Tello service.

Leverage eSIM (If You’re Phone Supports It)

Does Tello Mobile Work In Canada? No – Here's What To Do InsteadPin

An eSIM, or Electronic Subscriber Identity Module, represents the evolution of traditional SIM cards into a digital format. Embedded directly into your phone, it allows you to activate and switch between cellular plans from different providers without the need for a physical SIM card.

The convenience of an eSIM is unmatched, especially for travelers. You can avoid the hassle of purchasing and swapping out physical SIM cards.

Instead, with just a few taps on your device, you can download and activate a SIM profile from a local Canadian carrier. This process not only saves time but also reduces the risk of losing or damaging a physical SIM card.

One of the standout benefits of using an eSIM while traveling is the potential for more favorable rates compared to traditional roaming charges. Many local carriers offer specific eSIM plans designed for travelers, which can be more cost-effective and provide better data packages than standard international roaming options.

Before you travel, it’s important to check if your phone is eSIM compatible. Many newer smartphone models support this technology, but it’s always wise to verify. If your device is compatible, the next step is to explore the available eSIM plans from Canadian providers.

Here’s an overview of some of the current prepaid eSIM plans offered by carriers in Canada:

CarrierPlan NameDataPriceCoverageFeatures
Freedom MobileCanada eSIM Pay-per-Use1GB$10/GBNationalTethering, Canada calling & texting (add-on)
Fido MobileeSIM Pay As You Go500MB$10ProvincialTethering, Canada calling & texting (add-on)
Koodo MobileData eSIM Top-Up1GB$10NationalPay-as-you-go data (additional $5/GB)
Virgin PlusPrepaid Canadian eSIM1GB$15NationalTethering, Canada calling & texting (add-on)
Lucky MobileLucky eSIM1GB$12NationalCanada calling & texting (add-on)
Chatr MobileeSIM for Every Need1GB$15NationalCanada calling & texting (add-on)

We got some deals to look at but which is going to be right for you? As always, it’ll depend on how long you’re staying in Canada.

Here’s some analysis of the deals, a breakdown of the PROS and CONS for each type of trip:

Short Stays

Freedom Mobile – Canada eSIM Pay-per-Use:

  • Why It’s Good: For a short stay, paying per GB ($10/GB) can be cost-effective if you’re not expecting to use much data. This plan’s flexibility is ideal for short-term visitors who need basic connectivity without a significant data requirement.
  • Features: Includes tethering and add-ons for calling and texting.

Fido Mobile – eSIM Pay As You Go:

  • Why It’s Good: With a flat rate of $10 for 500MB, this plan is great for travelers who plan to use moderate amounts of data for navigation, emails, and light browsing.
  • Coverage: Provincial, which may be sufficient for travelers staying within a specific region.

Long Stays

Virgin Plus – Prepaid Canadian eSIM:

  • Why It’s Good: For longer stays, you might require more consistent data usage. The $15 for 1GB with national coverage is reasonable, and the tethering feature is a bonus for connecting multiple devices.
  • Features: It also includes add-ons for calling and texting which can be useful for extended periods.

Lucky Mobile – Lucky eSIM:

  • Why It’s Good: Priced at $12 for 1GB with national coverage, this plan offers a balance between affordability and data allowance, making it suitable for longer stays where regular, but not heavy, data use is expected.
  • Features: Includes add-ons for calling and texting.

Business Trips

Chatr Mobile – eSIM for Every Need:

  • Why It’s Good: For business travelers, consistent access to communication is crucial. This plan provides 1GB for $15 with national coverage, which can be adequate for emails, online meetings, and regular business communication.
  • Features: The plan includes add-ons for Canada calling and texting, ensuring seamless local connectivity.

Koodo Mobile – Data eSIM Top-Up:

  • Why It’s Good: At $10 for 1GB and the option for additional data at $5/GB, this plan can be cost-effective for business travelers who might have varying data needs. The pay-as-you-go data model allows for flexibility depending on the trip’s demands.
  • Coverage: National coverage ensures connectivity across different regions.

Wrapping Up: eSIM For The Win

Does Tello Mobile Work In Canada? No – Here's What To Do InsteadPin

Choose the one that best fits your data and communication needs during your stay in Canada. The plan you go for will, of course, be subject to changes and will depend on how long you’re traveling for.

eSIM also offers the flexibility of maintaining your original Tello Mobile number and plan active – you can run up to 2 eSIM plans on a single phone. This means you can easily switch back to your Tello Mobile service once you return to the United States, without needing to handle multiple physical SIM cards.

In addition to these practical advantages, eSIMs are a more eco-friendly option. They reduce the need for producing, shipping, and disposing of plastic SIM cards, aligning with more sustainable technology practices.

If your phone supports it – and most modern phones do – going the eSIM route whilst traveling is often way less hassle than getting another SIM or even using roaming which can get really expensive really quickly if you’re not careful. Also, Tello doesn’t support roaming anyway, so if you’re with Tello my advice would be to get yourself setup with an Canadian eSIM.

T-Mobile Data & Coverage For Less
Tello Mobile Plans
With some of the lowest cost plans on the market, Tello is a great fit for the right type of user
  • Custom "Build Your Own" Plans, Very Affordable, Excellent Coverage, Fast Data Speeds, No Contracts
  • Data Throttling Over 35GB
Best For: Budget Conscious, Cost-Cutting
Data Types: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G
Runs On: T-Mobile Network
Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

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