Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm.

Data Roaming Report: Virgin Mobile Canada

I’ve traveled extensively over the past 1.5 years with unlocked iPhones — first an Apple-unlocked 4S, and now a Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 — buying local prepaid SIM cards along the way. I’ve meant to start reporting my data roaming successes and failures, which I’ll do from now on. Here’s the first in this series.

Carrier: Virgin Mobile Canada, which operates on its owner Bell’s network. Purchased in Montreal at its 1221 Sainte-Catherine store. Helpful, friendly, English-speaking staff. Everything took less than 15 minutes in the store, and about an hour for service for activate.

Price: $25 for 500 MB of data. Free SIM card. I bought another $5 in credit for random calls/texts. Another ~$4.50 in taxes. Credit cards accepted.

Performance: Bell’s LTE network apparently uses a band that my Verizon iPhone 5 doesn’t support, so I could only access its 3G network. But that’s all I needed, and data service was reliable and fast throughout Montreal. (In future reports, I’ll include specific speeds.) Tethering was supposedly included in my plan, but I didn’t try it. (I was ostensibly on vacation.)

Value: At $5 per 100 MB, this was 80% cheaper than Verizon’s current international data roaming package. Considering how easy it was to buy and use the SIM card, I’d highly recommend Virgin Mobile for data roaming in Canada.

This information is current as of July 17, 2013. Evaluate your needs, consult carrier websites, and explore other options before purchasing.