Does Tracfone work in Canada?

Are you a US resident planning to travel to Canada? Then you would want to know if your Tracfone phone or cell services will function in the country. So, does Tracfone work in Canada?

Tracfone doesn’t work in Canada. The prepaid service provider only works in the United States and its territories such as US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. However, you can still make international phone calls with Tracfone services and you might be able to use your Tracfone phone while in Canada.

Even though Tracfone cannot work outside of the US, it’s still pretty affordable for cell services. It also offers access to make international calls at the same basic cost to over 20 countries. Here, we examine whether Tracfone works in Canada.

What is Tracfone?

Tracfone is a prepaid cell phone and sim services, provider. It is a mobile virtual network operator, which means it doesn’t have a wireless network infrastructure structure. Instead, it relies on the infrastructure of partner networks such AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile to offer services to its customers.

When you’re using a Tracfone, you’ll be able to use any of these four services depending on your location and device.

Where Can You Use Tracfone?

Tracfone services are only available in the United States. This means that if you own a Tracfone phone or sim, you’ll only be able to use it in the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. However, users can make international calls without additional charges when using Tracfone basic international. Thus, every call must originate from the US.

There are 19 countries that you can call with Tracfone Basic International. Some of these countries have exceptions as to which parts you can call for free, but there are no exceptions for most. For example, Canada is one of the countries you can call directly from the US with your Tracfone without incurring any extra cost.

Can You Text Someone in Canada with Your Tracfone?

If you’re in the US and want to text someone in Canada, Tracfone isn’t the right choice to do it. The service does not support international texting, and attempting to do it might cause the network to disable your service.

Can Tracfone Work in Canada?

Given that Tracfone is exclusive to the US, your Tracfone cannot work in Canada. Furthermore, once you cross the border into Canada, it’ll show that there’s no signal. This is because Tracfone doesn’t support international roaming.

However, if your Tracfone phone is an unlocked GSM, you may use it with Canada. All you need is to buy a new sim from a network carrier in Canada and put it on the phone. This way, you’ll be able to use the same phone, but you’re definitely on a different service provider. So, your Tracfone service will still not work in Canada, but you’ll at least be able to use the physical phone.

Even though the Tracfone policy is that it’ll not work in Canada, there are Tracfone users who claim that they have been able to use their phone for international roaming while in Canada. In such cases, Tracfone piggybacks on the major service provider in Canada, Rogers, allowing users to make calls at the same rate as in the US. However, these are exceptions rather than the norm, and it hasn’t happened in a while. Whatever loophole that made it possible has since being rectified. Even when it happens, Tracfone might suspend your service after some time as it doesn’t support such practices.

How Can You Use Your Tracfone Phone in Canada?

Now that you know it’s impossible to use your Tracfone service while in Canada, you can consider finding a different way to remain connected while Canada. There are several options to try out, and here are the best.

1.   Buy a Local Sim

Your best option when travelling to Canada is to buy a prepaid local SIM card. This is cheaper than any international roaming option you might be considering. The cost of a local SIM card will depend mostly on the operator, but it’s mostly around $20. You can get the SIM card from the official stores of service providers such as Rogers, Bell, Freedom Mobile, Telus, Virgin Mobile Canada, Fido, etc.

If you don’t want to go to the official stores, retail partners online and third-party sellers are also available. However, when you order SIM cards online, the delivery address must be Canadian. It might also take up to 2-5 working days to deliver the SIM card if you live in the cities and up to several weeks for remote areas.

Another option is to buy the SIM card when you land in Canada. You’ll be able to do this in some Canadian international airports, but the options are always limited here, and the price might be much higher. If your Tracfone phone is the GSM type, you’ll be able to use it here by putting in a new SIM card. But if it’s CDMA, you won’t. CDMA networks aren’t available in Canada.

2.   Get an International SIM card.

If you’re a frequent traveller, an international SIM card might be the ideal choice for you. Unlike local SIM cards that you have to be in Canada to get, you can get this while in the US. Popular options include OneSim, WorldSIM, SimOptions, BNESIM, SimCorner, and Surfroman.

What to do if your Tracfone is locked CDMA Phone

However, the options of getting SIM cards will only apply if you’re using an unlocked GSM Tracfone. If you’re using a CDMA phone, you’ll not be able to use a sim with it, which means you can’t use it in Canada. Even if your CDMA Tracfone has a SIM card, it’s usually locked, which means you can’t use another network. Thus, if your Tracfone is a locked CDMA phone, you might have to get a new phone when you travel to Canada.

In Conclusion

You can’t use Tracfone while in Canada. This is because the roaming services are limited to the US, and attempting to use them outside of the US is against public policy. But you might still be able to use the physical Tracfone phone as long as it’s unlocked gsm. All you need to do is get a SIM card from a service provider in Canada.

Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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