November 12, 2021

TextNow in Canada: Why isn't wireless service available?

Written by nick


As a company founded and headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, some of the most frequent questions we receive from customers are, “Hey, why isn’t your free cellular service available in Canada?” or “Why won’t your website let me buy a SIM card in Canada?” or “When are you bringing free calling and texting – with no bills, ever – on a nationwide wireless network north of the border?”

The short answer is, we would love to. We think our free ad-supported service would fill an important gap in a country that pays among the highest rates in the world for wireless service and leaves too many people behind.The slightly longer answer is, we can’t do it on our own. We need a partner.

You can use TextNow in Canada. Our free app with a local phone number and unlimited calling and texting is available in Canada (and a lot of other countries!) when connected to WiFi. But to deliver wireless service, we need to work with with a company who owns and operates a wireless network.


In the US, we operate as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (or MVNO for short). Basically, we work with a partner who owns cellular towers to provide wireless service to customers. We don’t own or operate our own cellular network; we pay for access to one and use our leading-edge technology to deliver Free Nationwide Talk & Text service.

In Canada, the incumbent wireless companies have historically not been open to renting the excess capacity on their networks. Earlier this year, Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the CRTC, declined to mandate access for MVNOs. Instead, they opted for “facilities based competition” – which means that we would have to eventually build our own network.

As a small company, we can’t afford to build and maintain a wireless network across the entire country. We need to partner with an incumbent with a wireless network to bring free, unlimited calling and texting to Canada.

TextNow in Canada

We believe that cellular phone service is a basic need these days. Unfortunately, it's a service that is out of reach for too many Canadians.

If you would like to see more competition and choice in the Canadian wireless market, you can (politely!) reach out to your local representative to voice your concerns. You can find your local MP here.

In the meantime, anyone who can’t afford cellular service can download our free app. Get a 10-digit phone number and unlimited calling and texting using the WiFi at home, at work, at the library, or your local coffee shop.