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Looking up the prepaid SIM card market in Canada it seems that the reasonably priced options for my needs (2GB of data) are only available in the "tablet" plans. However it's not clear if those SIM cards still allow one to make calls and receive/send text messages if you insert them into a regular phone. The official websites (e.g. Bell's) make no mention about it.

Could anyone confirm it's actually possible or impossible? I know I can use Skype to make calls but it's convenient to have a regular local number you can give you to people. There is a blog post from 2014 that mentions that it does work, but things might have changed over the years.

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All the threads I've looked at say "Yes" but if you are using the phone or sms apps to make calls or send messages you will be paying way too much. If you use the Data to make phone calls using a software phone, or another messaging app, then its all fine.

http://forums.redflagdeals.com/solved-possible-use-bell-tablet-plan-smartphone-yes-1454606/

https://forum.telus.com/t5/Mobility-Services/Why-don-t-you-allow-Cell-Phones-to-have-Data-Only-Plans/td-p/74317

https://publicmobile.ca/en/on/plans

http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1848736-Will-a-tablet-sim-work-on-a-cellphone

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/199-rogers-fido-chatr-wireless/258689-using-tablet-sim-card-phone-what-am-i-missing.html

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  • I expect to receive maybe 1 call per month. Otherwise I will use VoIP and incoming text messages. Since Canadian plans are outrageously expensive it should pay off.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 13:16
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Nope, a Bell tablet SIM does not let you send or receive SMSes.

They also block incoming and outgoing calls.

Even though there is a number given to the tablet SIM.

There is a way to unlock incoming SMSes but you will get charged incoming SMS rates.

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