This guide compares Bell eSIM and SIM cards for tourists visiting Canada. It recommends mobile plans from Bell and other carriers best suited for travelers’ connectivity needs without long-term commitments. Understanding Bell options helps visitors affordably enjoy reliable mobile access during their trips.


1. Quick facts about Bell

Bell Mobility is one of Canada’s largest mobile network operators, offering nationwide wireless service since 1986. Currently serving over 10 million subscribers, Bell operates extensive 4G LTE and 5G networks spanning most major metropolitan areas across the country.

  • Third-largest telecommunications company in Canada: Provides internet, mobile, TV, and home phone services to consumers and businesses.
  • Founded in 1986: One of the oldest telecommunications companies in the world.
  • Headquarters in Montreal, Quebec: Operates across all Canadian provinces and territories.
  • Part of BCE Inc.: A public company with Bell Canada as its main subsidiary.
  • Known for Canada’s fastest internet and Wi-Fi: Offers various internet plans with speeds reaching up to 1.5 Gbps.

Bell’s networks cover major population centers well but roaming partnerships help deliver service in smaller towns and rural regions too. In total, through its owned brands Bell Mobility has established itself as a leading full-service provider meeting the connectivity and pricing requirements of Canadian consumers.

bell logo
Bell Logo

2. Canada Bell Coverage and Speed in Canada

Bell coverage and speed in Canada are among the best in the country. Bell claims to have the most extensive 4G network in Canada, covering over 99% of the population. 

2.1. Bell coverage in Canada


Based on the February 2024 Canada Mobile Network Experience Report from Opensignal, here is an overview of Bell’s coverage:

  • Bell is joint winner of the Coverage Experience award alongside Telus, with both operators scoring 9.36 out of 10. A score above 9 indicates an excellent level of coverage.
  • Bell’s network is available 99.2% of the time on average. All three major operators – Bell, Rogers, and Telus – share the Availability award, indicating very high network uptime across Canada.
  • Bell performs particularly well for coverage in densely populated provinces like Ontario, where its network is widely available throughout urban and suburban areas. It leads to strong performance metrics for Bell users in online activities that require consistent coverage.
  • Rural coverage is also a priority for Bell. While challenges remain in remote regions, Bell has invested heavily in expanding LTE availability to more towns and communities across Canada.

In summary, Bell can claim to have one of the most extensively deployed and dependable wireless networks nationally according to Opensignal’s analysis. Its joint leading score for Coverage Experience underscores consistent and high-quality coverage delivery across both urban and rural population centers in Canada.

2.2. Bell speed


In Opensignal’s August 2023 report on mobile networks in Canada:

  • Bell shared the top spot for Games Experience with Rogers and Telus, as their users saw no significant difference.
  • Bell and Telus jointly won Download Speeds Experience at 75.2 Mbps, 13.7 Mbps faster than Rogers.

In Opensignal’s previous look at 5G networks in Canada:

  • Bell solo led in 5G Download Speeds at 173.8 Mbps. This was 12.3% or 19 Mbps faster than Rogers. And 17.6% or 26 Mbps ahead of Telus.
  • For key 5G categories across Canada’s regions: Bell, Rogers, and Telus are tied for first in at least three of six regions for Video, Live, Video Games, Voice Apps

So in summary – Bell has a strong network but tends to be pricier for consumers, while Rogers/Telus balances coverage with competitive plans. The choice depends on location/needs.

3. Bell Connectivity Options for Travelers to Canada

Here are a few connectivity options for travelers to Canada through Bell:

Option Description
Bell Prepaid SIM Card Pay-as-you-go SIM card with no contract. Plans start at $10 for 500MB of data. No data rollover.
Bell Travel Pass Bell Mobility plan, pay-per-use in Canada. Limited use option.
Bell eSIM eSIM downloaded to compatible phones. Easy setup without physical SIM but fewer plan options.

No matter which option you choose, be sure to unlock your phone before you travel to Canada. This will allow you to use a SIM card from any provider.

4. Best Bell SIM Cards for tourists & costs

Bell SIM cards/eSIMs provide wireless service in Canada but lack tourism-focused options. As a telecom not catering to tourists, Bell policies like monthly plans/contracts and Canadian account ID verification make it inconvenient and pricey for short-term tourist use. SIM cards cost ~ USD 7 with various monthly plans but require long-term commitment unlike pay-as-you-go options better suited for visitors.

Below is the list of Bell SIM card plans in Canada with monthly plans:

Bell SIM Plans Approx. Price (USD) Local Calls Data Messages Addition Approx. Total (USD)
Basic 35 $25 Unlimited - Unlimited - $25
Promo 60 $55 Unlimited 60 GB of non-shareable data. Unlimited SD video streaming $55
Essential 120 $63 Unlimited 120 GB of shareable data Unlimited 5G+ network accessSD video streaming; Hotspot capabilities $63
Ultimate 150 - Can/U.S/MEX $74 Unlimited calling in Canada/U.S./Mexico 150 GB of shareable dataUnlimited in Canada/U.S./Mexico Unlimited 5G+ network accessHD video streaming; Hotspot capabilities $74

While not optimized for tourists, Bell plans could still provide basic network access during visits. Options allow for light data tasks but other providers may offer more travel-friendly solutions worth comparing.

5. Does Bell Canada support eSIM?

Yes, Bell offers eSIM but plans require setting up recurring Canadian accounts with ID/address verification and credit checks. This doesn’t suit short-term visitors due to contracts and commitments. Prepaid options also overprice brief trips. Using Bell eSIM means leaving the account/number active after visiting. Establishing residency is needed to temporarily purchase an eSIM plan.

Here are the Bell eSIM Plans and prices for anyone wanting to use Bell eSIM:

Bell eSIM Plans Approx. Price (USD) Local Call Data Messages Addition Approx. Total (USD)
Basic 35 $25 Unlimited - Unlimited - $25
Promo 60 $55 Unlimited 60 GB of non-shareable data Unlimited SD video streaming $55
Essential 120 $63 Unlimited 120 GB of shareable data Unlimited 5G+ network access; SD video streaming; Hotspot capabilities $63
Ultimate 150 - Can/U.S/MEX $74 Unlimited calling in Canada/U.S./Mexico 150 GB of shareable dataUnlimited in Canada/U.S./Mexico Unlimited 5G+ network access; HD video streaming; Hotspot capabilities $74

So in summary, while Bell does support eSIM technology, their plan structures are not suitable for tourists, consider other eSIM providers for eSIM Canada.

6. Where To Buy a Bell SIM card & eSIM?

Whether you’re visiting or staying long-term in Canada, Bell is one of the major network providers you’ll want to consider. Here are some options for getting a Bell SIM card or eSIM for your trip:

6.1. Where to buy a Bell SIM for Canada

Here are some places where you can buy a Bell prepaid SIM card:

  • Bell stores – Bell has its corporate stores located across Canada. These stores will have prepaid SIM cards available for purchase. You can check the list of Bell stores here.
Bell store
Bell store
  • The Source by Bell – This is Bell’s electronics and accessories retail chain. Stores will carry Bell prepaid SIM card kits.
the source in canada
The Source in Canada
  • Authorized dealers – Bell has agreements with other major wireless carriers and big box retailers to sell their products. Places like Rogers, Telus, Walmart, Best Buy, and Shoppers Drug Mart often have Bell prepaid SIMs.
  • Online – You can purchase Bell prepaid SIM cards directly from the Bell website for delivery. Amazon also sells them.
  • Major retailers – national chains like 7-Eleven, Circle K, Mac’s stores, and Shell gas stations sell SIM cards as a side business.
Shell gas stations
Shell gas stations also sell Bell SIM Card
  • Mobile kiosks – Malls and public spaces sometimes have independent mobile accessory kiosks selling various carrier SIM cards.
  • Grey market – Sites like Kijiji, and eBay from private sellers (check for authenticity and activation support).

The best official retail options are Bell stores, The Source, and major national retailers/gas stations for availability, ease of purchase, and activation support.

6.2. Where to buy a Bell eSIM

Here are some options for buying a Bell eSIM:

  • Bell website: You can purchase an eSIM plan or package directly from This allows you to activate easily the eSIM profile online.
  • At Bell store: Visit a Bell retail location to purchase and activate an eSIM plan. It can be set up on a compatible eSIM device by staff.
  • eSIM providers: offers flexible short-term eSIM data plans on Bell networks. Plans start from a few days up to 30 days. Easy digital activation.
Canada eSIM plans

To sum up, the official website, MyBell app, and Bell stores are your best bets. It is necessary to first look at the Canada eSIM Compatible Devices List before switching your mobile plan. As long as the device you intend to use is eSIM compatible, that’s it.

Buying a prepaid eSIM card for Canada online before your trip may be a cheaper and more convenient option. Some travel eSIMs offer coverage in Canada with reasonable prices and data bundles. You can check out Canada eSIM from for the best deals:

Get Canada eSIM
Beat roaming fees and bypass airport SIM shops!

7. How to activate Bell Canada SIM/eSIM

Once you’ve procured a Bell SIM card or eSIM, activating and using it on your device is straightforward. Here are the basic steps to get connected to the Bell network in Canada:

7.1. How to use Bell Canada SIM Card

Here are the basic steps to use a Bell Canada SIM card:

  1. Step 1: Activate the SIM card. You can do this online at or by calling the activation number on the instruction sheet. You’ll need the SIM ID number.
  2. Step 2: Insert the SIM card into your unlocked phone. Make sure the gold contacts are facing down, and cut off any extra plastic tabs.
  3. Step 3: Power on your phone. After getting a new SIM from the Bell network, it might take you several minutes to register before you can make calls and use data.

Tips: Establish a Bell account online to monitor your plan, bills, usage, and value-added services such as voicemail. No accounts are needed for prepaid plans.

7.2. How to Use Bell Canada eSIM

Here are the basic steps to set up and activate a Bell Canada eSIM:

  1. Step 1: Go online to buy a Bell eSIM plan.
  2. Step 2: During signup, give ID, address, and credit check info.
  3. Step 3: Download the MyBell app.
  4. Step 4: Open the app and tap “Activate eSIM”.
  5. Step 5: Go ahead, and scan the QR code to set everything up. From now on, your Bell eSIM number will work for calls, texts, and data.

If you’d rather have a step-by-step guide for installing Canada eSIM plans on major devices, we can provide that too. Take a look at our easy guides and videos on how to add eSIM on iPhone, Samsung or Google Pixel. Our Canada eSIM installation guide will help you get set up and connected.

8. Canada Bell Call & SMS rates

Bell pay-per-use call/SMS rates vary by plan/usage and change over time. Rates here are approximate. Check back for current figures before using the pay-per-use service:

Call Data SMS MMS
0.56 USD/min 0.096 - 0.11 USD/MB 0.22 - 0.73 USD/SMS 0.37 CAD/MMS

9. Useful USSD Codes for Bell Canada SIM/eSIM

Here are the quick access codes to check your Bell balance:

Service Quick Access Code
Main balance checking *123
Account Information *128
Alternate Balance Check *100

One simple and convenient way to access your Bell balance is through the official mobile application MyBell, or by using the official Bell website. Here are the steps to launch and use the app:

  • Checking Balance via MyBell App: On your device, start the MyBell app → Balance is at the bottom of the screen → touch this to display your balance and account details → See How: Checking your account balance.
  • Via Bell Website: Click login to MyBell → Select Prepaid account → Your balance and account details are displayed.

10. How to top-up Bell Canada SIM/eSIM

There are several convenient methods for topping up your Bell SIM/eSIM, both online and in person. The options include:

Method How to do Lead Time
Online via MyBell account Log into Bell website → Log into MyBell → choose Recharge → select top-up amount → pay with credit/debit card. Instant
Bell mobile app Download the Bell app for iOS or Android. Tap 'Recharge' and select top-up. Pay within the app. Instant
Customer Service  Call 1 800 668-6878 and then follow the instructions. Instant
Purchase top-up cards Buy Bell reload cards at retailers → scratch off PIN. Within 5 mins
Add to bill If you have another Bell service like a home phone or Internet, you can add a top-up to that monthly bill amount. Instant

12. FAQs

How do I choose the right Bell SIM card plan for me?

When choosing a Bell SIM card plan, you need to consider your needs and budget. How much talk, text, and data do you use each month? Do you need international calling? Once you know your needs, you can compare different plans to find the best one for you.

How do I activate a Bell SIM card plan?

To activate a Bell SIM card plan, you can visit a Bell store, call Bell customer service, or activate it online. If you are activating a new line of service, you will need to provide your personal information and choose a plan. If you are porting your number from another carrier, you will need to provide your account information and transfer your phone number.

How do I activate a Bell eSIM?

To activate a Bell eSIM, you can visit the Bell website or use the MyBell app. You will need to create a Bell account if you do not already have one. Once you have created an account, you can follow the instructions on the website or in the app to activate your eSIM.

13. Final words

While convenient, Bell eSIM requires opening a Canadian account with ID verification and a credit check, making it unsuitable for short visits. Bell also lacks true pay-as-you-go plans, with the cheapest at $25/month. However, other eSIM providers’ prepaid plans have no contracts, lower rates, and suit travelers better. In summary, though Bell aims for digital convenience, other carriers and virtual SIM vendors offer better-prepaid options for short-term stays in Canada.