Free Phone Number With Calling Apps in Canada



Canada has some of the highest phone plan prices in the world, which can surprise visitors, new residents and first-time mobile phone owners.

How to get a free phone number in Canada

If you’re looking for:

  • the cheapest way to stay in touch with loved ones,
  • a second number to protect your identity – such as verifying an online account or app
  • a second number for your small business without having to get another physical device or SIM card,
  • or are simply trying to avoid using Rogers, Bell and Telus,

the best way to get a free phone number with a Canadian area code is through a WiFi calling/VoIP phone service in Canada that will provide you with a virtual phone number to use for phone calls and texting.

Using these services, you can make calls and send messages using your internet-connected tablet or computer to any phone number, anywhere, just as you would with your phone and unlike making calls on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facetime, Google Chat, the recipient does not have to have the app.

All you need is a mobile phone, tablet or computer and a WiFi internet connection:

  1. Sign up for one of the VoIP/WiFi calling providers below.
  2. Log in to their website or app on your phone.
  3. Select a virtual phone number from the ones they have available.
  4. Make a call or send a text using the virtual phone number you chose.

What is VoIP?

Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is the method of transmitting voice calls and multimedia (photos and text messages) over the internet, rather than via the cell towers and landlines of telephone networks operated by traditional telecommunication companies such as Bell, Rogers and Telus.

VoIP phone services allow you to make or receive telephone calls over the internet to or from the public switched telephone network. They are much quicker and easier to setup than traditional phone plans, taking only a few minutes. They are also much cheaper, costing as little as free (ad-supported) to a few dollars a month for unlimited use.

The following VoIP services are free, provide you with a free phone number with a Canadian area code and have Android and iOS apps:


TextNow is a Canadian company that provides a free local number and unlimited calling and texting over WiFi. Calls within Canada and international calls to US, Mexico and UK are free, but it costs $2/min to China and $0.017/min to India and $0.186/min to the Philippines.

Founded in 2009 and based in Waterloo, ON, TextNow has 8 million monthly active users in Canada and the US and has $100 million USD in annual revenue. They make money by serving in-app ads and selling add-ons.

You enter an area code and they give you 4 numbers to choose from. I confirmed they had the following area codes:

  • 418 (Quebec)
  • 289 (Toronto/Hamilton)
  • 778 (British Columbia)
  • 437 (Toronto)
  • 613 (Ottawa)
Free phone numbers local to British Columbia from TextNow

You can also bring your existing number for free.

The catch is that if you do not use your phone number to text and call on a regular basis (varies by usage pattern – but at least every week), they will send you a warning message, and eventually revoke the number, forcing you to pick a new one. It costs $6.99 per year to keep your number through periods of inactivity.

Ads on TextNow


  • Keep number active: $6.99 per year
  • Ad Free Lite: $2.49 per month
    • Only bottom banner ad is displayed
  • Ad Free+: $12.99 per month
    • Removes all ads
    • Voicemail transcription
    • Unlimited photo and video history
    • Keeps number active


  • Free local area codes from across Canada
  • Unlimited calling and texting over WiFi or internet connection
  • Free texting to over 100 countries from a Canadian IP address
  • Free texts to Canada and US when outside Canada or US
  • Supports short-code (eg. two-factor authentication)
  • Account creation only requires and email address (confirmation is not required to start calling)
  • Reasonable sound quality
  • Supports WiFi/Cell Data handover


  • Bottom banner ads
  • No voicemail transcription
  • Limited photo and video history
  • Lose your number if you’re inactive
  • e911 only available from Canadian IP addresses

Fongo 🍁

Founded in 2012, Fongo is a Canadian telecom company based in Waterloo, ON. They offer numbers in 31 area codes from across Canada, primarily in urban areas and in every province except New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland.

They make money by serving banner ads, selling plans for texting, and fees for long distance calls. While calls to most cities in Canada are free, some are not. International calls to US are generally free, but their long distance rates cost $0.02/min to China and India and $0.11/min to the Philippines.

Ads on Fongo
Free phone numbers local to Calgary, AB from Fongo
  • 418 (Quebec)
  • 289 (Hamilton)
  • 778 (British Columbia)
  • 343 (Ottawa)
  • 782 (Nova Scotia)

You can send and receive unlimited messages between Fongo users and receive unlimited text messages from any number, but receiving photo messages and sending texts to non-Fongo numbers in Canada costs $2.79 per month or $9.99 for 6 months and $3.99 per month or $14.99 for 6 months for global numbers

Account creation requires contact information for 911 emergency purposes as required by the CRTC. You must confirm your email address before you can start using the app.

  • Fongo Plus: $9.99 per month for unlimited US calling, unlimited US & Canadian texting, ad-reduction
  • Ad removal: $1.49 per month or $11.99 per year
  • Canadian texting: $2.79 per month or $17.99 per year


  • Ads in free version are much less intrusive than TextNow
  • Free phone numbers from 31 area codes
  • Free unlimited Canada-wide calling to any province
  • Free calls to any province in Canada from anywhere in the world
  • View and listen to your voicemails in app and email yourself a recording
  • Caller ID, call forwarding, transferring and call waiting
  • Receive faxes (converted to PDF)


  • Sending text messages to non-Fongo users requires an add-on
  • Receiving verification (short-code) text messages requires an add-on
  • Calls are dropped when you switch between WiFi/Cell Data
  • Unlimited calling doesn’t include territories and some towns and cities
  • Call quality varies, but is generally fine


OpenPhone is a US-based VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) number provider that provides offers US, Canadian and 1-800 numbers and unlimited calls and messages over the internet. I actually use them here on Cansumer’s as our business phone provider.

They offer a 7 day free trial, after which it is $17 USD per month per user and each user gets their own phone number. Additional phone numbers are $5 per month. International calling outside of the US and Canada is not available during the trial.

Calls to Canada and the US are included, but international calls and texts are charged according to their rates – $0.04-0.11 USD/min to China and $0.07 to $0.09 USD/min to India and $0.32 to $0.36 USD/min to the Philippines.

You can enter a specific city, area code or numbers and they give you many Canadian numbers to choose from:

You can also add additional phone numbers or port in an existing number at any time.

The service includes transcribed speech-to-text visual voicemail, custom call flow management (see below) as well as team collaboration and relationship management features. It integrates with HubSpot, Salesforce, Gong, Slack and Zapier and webhooks.


FreeTone is a US-based app with over 10 million downloads that provides a free local number, unlimited free outbound calls and messages to all phone numbers in the US and Canada as well as voicemail. The first 500 minutes of inbound calls are free.

Launched in 2014, FreeTone was the first app on both iOS and Android to offer completely free SMS and voice calls to any number in the US and Canada. A service by TextMe Inc. which was founded in March 2011 in San Francisco, CA.

You can select a Canadian phone number by entering an area code and they give you several phone numbers to choose from:

They make money by displaying ads (including full-page overlays), selling features such as call forwarding, no ads and credits to go towards international calls. International calls to US are generally free, but their long distance rates cost 15 credits (~$0.37)/min to China, 2 credits ($0.05)/min to India and 8 credits ($0.20)/min to the Philippines. A credit costs just over 2.5 cents.


TextPlus is a US-based app with over 100 million downloads that provides unlimited free text messaging to the US and Canada and voicemail.

They provide a free phone number with a Canadian area code which you can change once for free.

They make money by displaying ads (including full-page overlays), selling credits which can be used toward calls, removing adds and keeping your phone number active.

Incoming calls are free, but they make money by charging for outgoing phone calls, but their rates are pretty reasonable – $0.02/min to Canada, UK, Mexico and $0.022/min to China. They require a Google, Apple, Microsoft or Yahoo account to sign up (no email). Unlimited US and Canada calling for 1 year costs $22.


Dingtone is a US-based app launched in 2012 with over 10 million downloads that provides unlimited local calls and text messages in Canada.

You can choose from many real phone numbers for Canada (including the 416 area code), Australia, US, UK, etc by searching an area code or city. The phone number costs 1200 credits per year, which you can earn over time by playing completing tasks in the app such as mobile games, daily check-in, watching ads, creating accounts and completing surveys.

They make money by serving banner ads and selling credits that can be used towards international calls and text messages and removing ads.

International calls and texts are charged according to their rates – $0.009 USD/min to US, $0.01 USD/min to UK, $0.012 USD/min to China and $0.02 USD/min to India.

Google Voice

Their free plan for individual use is not yet available in Canada. The service is only available to use through Google Workspace.

It costs $20 USD per Licensed user/device per month and includes calls to Canada and the US, automatic voicemail transcription, multilevel auto-attendant, ring groups and hunt groups, intelligent spam call protection and integration with Google Meet and Google Calendar. In Canada it only allows you to make calls, not send text messages.

International rates include $0.02 USD/min to China and India, $0.01 USD/min to UK and $0.12 USD/min to Philippines.


Talkatone does not currently provide phone numbers with Canadian area codes.

Talkatone is a US-based app owned by Ooma Inc. with over 10 million downloads that lets you to choose a free US number (you can’t port in an existing one) which you can change at any time, and make unlimited free outbound calls and messages too most US and Canada phone numbers, including landlines, though they do have fair use limits. They also provide voicemail.

You must make a call or text every 30 days or your account will be charged 30 credits. If you do not have any credits available, then you will be notified before your account is deactivated and your number is lost.

Some of their international rates are $0.01 USD/min to China and $0.015 USD/min to India and $0.12 USD/min to the Philippines.

Frequently asked questions

Is WiFi calling with VoIP services reliable?

WiFi calling reliability depends on your access to a WiFi network that supports VoIP, which most do, and the quality and reliability of its internet connection.

While not as omnipresent as cell service, we spend most of our time within range of a WiFi network at home, work, school, a friend’s house, a local business (coffee shop), etc. WiFi calling can be more reliable than a traditional phone services in places where cellular reception is poor, such as in basements, condos and tall buildings.

To ensure good quality call audio, providers recommend a minimum internet speed (upload and download) of at least at 1 to 2 Mbps to make or receive a call.

VoIP reliability can be affected by power, network, or Internet outages (including congestion). Major VoIP providers Fongo and OpenPhone have status pages that report outages and service interruptions. On average, it seems these services experience a service interruption for about an hour every few months.

While traditional wireless services may seem more reliable, events such as the 2022 Rogers Communications outage that affected 12 million wireless and internet users across Canada are a reminder that those networks aren’t immune to downtime either.

Do VoIP providers support calling 911?

Mobile phones

In Canada, you can still dial 9-1-1 in an emergency and receive basic wireless 9-1-1 service, even if you are not subscribed to any service or with or without a SIM card. Every phone in North America is required to be able to dial 911.

Other devices

Traditional phone lines and VoIP providers handle 911 service differently:

  • Traditional phone services send your call directly to the nearest emergency response centre based on your location as determined by your phone’s GPS.
  • VoIP services forward your 911 call to a central dispatch – typically a third-party operator – who will route your call to the appropriate local emergency response centre, known as the public safety answering point (PSAP) based on the location information available on your account. Even if you have your emergency contact location updated in the app, you won’t necessarily be in that location when you call 911. The operator may not have your name, location or contact information and you may need to provide it to them during the call.

In Canada, local VoIP providers are required to provide Basic or Enhanced 911 service to their customers, while in the US, interconnected VoIP telephone services using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) must provide Enhanced 911 (E911) , which automatically provides the caller’s call-back number and, in most cases, location information.

  • Basic 911 connects the call to the call centre that services the area where the cell tower is located that the call is connected to.
  • Enhanced 911 uses GPS and trilateration to determine the callers location more accurately, which is important in emergencies where the caller is unable to speak or can’t describe their location.

Fongo forwards your call to a third-party service provider that will automatically or manually route your call to the emergency response centre.

TextNow (FreeTone) will forward your call to a third-party specialized call centre that handles emergency calls.

However, not all providers seem to offer this service.

Dingtone states that their services cannot be used for 911 or emergency calling in their Terms of Service.

Talkatone‘s 911 disclaimer states: You expressly agree and understand that the Service is not intended to support or carry emergency or time-critical calls or communications to any type of hospital, law enforcement agency, medical care unit or any other kind of emergency or time-critical service (“Emergency Services”)

If you’re using a VoIP service or app as your primary phone number, be sure to verify that it provides access to dialing 911 and fill out your emergency address in your phone’s settings to the most likely location you’d be calling from ahead of time, to help ensure proper routing of the call.

What is a virtual phone number?

A virtual phone number, also known as an online or digital number, is a number that is not tied to a specific device or location such as a smartphone, landline or office phone. They can be programmed to be greet callers with an auto attendant, give the caller menu options to choose from, route phone calls to a call queue or multiple phone numbers (ring group) or forward calls to other phone numbers or locations.

Over to you

We’re interested to know – what province/country do you live in and where are the people you’d like to call or text? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

About the author

Alex Wideman
Alex Wideman is a consumer rights advocate, serial entrepreneur and the editor-in-chief of Cansumer. He has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Queen's University. He is passionate about helping others save time and money and has been creating consumer-focused online resources for over 10 years. More about Cansumer Read more

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