Lake Superior East Shore Cellular/internet service

John Gilling - May 4, 2017

Does anyone have recent experience cruising the East Shore of Lake Superior from the Soo to Wawa regarding cell/internet coverage? I'm potentially planning a cruise there this summer, but will need to remain "connected" to accomodate some of the crew. Would purchasing a Canadian phone with a "hotspot" help in this manner. Last time I was in the North Channel, my cellphone bill was more than any other expense.


Thanks in advance for your response.


John Gilling


actigner's picture

I have had great success using Verizon's Canadian plans during 10 seasons we have been boating mostly in the NC and Georgian Bay area. I assume AT&T would work in a similar fashion. Verizon has a monthly plan (by phone) with a fixed voice and text limit and a small amount of data which I don't use. They also have a $2.50 a day plan that basically gives you the same access and limits you have in the states. It's a single line (not family plan) charge so if you can live with using one phone that would be the most cost effective. I believe you could also use it as a hot spot. For data I have used a mobile hot spot from Telus (a Canadian carrier) for the past eight years and have had good luck with it. My bill when I'm using it is around $70/month for 9GB of data which I use up as I am always connected and $8/month when I'm not using it. Unfortunately, you just can't walk into a Telus store and pick one up for a few months. You might look into going to a Walmart in the Canadian Soo and getting a pay as you SIM card that you can put in your phone to make it Canadian.

As far as the east shore of Superior is concerned, I have not boated there but did drive around it at the end of last season and can tell you that the stretch of road between SSM and Wawa is pretty desolate. Because it's the Trans-Canada I assume that they have some cell coverage for public safety reasons. When looking at a map of the east shore it appears that the highway is relatively close to shore in most places all the way to Wawa. If you are planning to go as far north as Marathon you would probably be out of luck as the highway is a long way from the water.

I hope this helps