Move to Saskatchewan for the third-fastest LTE in the world

Daniel Bader

February 4, 2016 2:12pm

Want the third-fastest LTE speeds in the world? Head to snowy Saskatchewan and hitch a ride on SaskTel, which, according to independent research company OpenSignal, enjoys average LTE speeds of 35 megabits per second.

For the sixth year, OpenSignal has released its State of LTE report, detailing the average speeds and coverage areas of major networks in hundreds of countries around the world.

This year, Canada ranks 15th and 17th for speed and coverage, respectively, well behind leaders Singapore and South Korea but, at 19Mbps, nearly double that of the United States for average performance.

Canadian networks improved by 1Mbps over last quarter, though that number is bolstered by the addition of SaskTel to the calculations; Bell’s average speeds increased two megabits to 20Mbps; Videotron rose 1Mbps to 25Mbps; Rogers stayed flat at 18Mbps; and Telus dropped 1Mbps to 17Mbps.

SaskTel’s 35Mbps average was third behind two Singaporean network operators, SingTel and StarHub, and shows that the Regina-based provider’s commitment to regional connectivity has paid dividends for its subscribers.

At 76 percent coverage, an increase of five percent over last quarter, LTE signals now reach three quarters of Canadians. The numbers, which are calculated by actual users engaging with OpenSignal’s free network testing app, don’t quite corroborate national carriers’ claims that their LTE networks now reach over 95 percent of its active users. Indeed, theoretical coverage claims rely on ideal circumstances, especially in rural areas where oversubscribed towers don’t always reach their intended targets.

What OpenSignal doesn’t take into account is cost per subscriber. While Canadians enjoy some of the fastest LTE signals in the world, and three quarters can usually connect at high speeds, prices have soared in recent years, with consolidation appearing to have negative consequences for customers looking to save money on their wireless bills.

  • Humbre

    Sasktel may be fast, but the report states that they only have 54% LTE coverage. Worst of all the telcos tested in Canada. Bell is at 72%, Rogers at 81%.

    • Yeria

      Sasktel probably only cost 54% of what you would have to pay for the equivalent plans in Ontario though.

    • southerndinner

      Population wise they’re probably a lot higher. There’s a lot of trash towns and rural areas in SK.

    • Pokpok

      How much of the province is actually populated, and needs coverage… The places with no coverage probably don’t need it, and aren’t worth living in…

    • nonenone22


  • power_pizza

    I wish there was a provincial carrier in BC to keep the Big 3 Cartel honest.

  • OptimusOBrien

    Plans are very well priced as well. I still have my 5GB $55 plan from koodo here in ON. To get that same plan here Im looking at $95 minimum.

    • Tim

      I have that same plan, but it’s $48 now. shame no other carrier in SK has the unlimited data option like SaskTel offers

    • Nahuel1988

      In QC they still sell it but for 60, still not bad!

  • Nahuel1988

    I hit 109 Mbps with Rogers on LTE (band 2600) using a Oppo R5s in Montreal.

    • MassDeduction

      This is the average. Not all devices support band 7. If you’re on Rogers and you have an older device that only supports band 17, you’ll get half the speed of a handset that supports band 12 when your phone drops to 700MHz (since rogers has rolled out MFBI so that half of their 700MHz spectrum looks like band 17 to devices that support that, but all of their 700MHz spectrum looks like band 12 if your device has support for that band). Telus has recently refarmed band V HSPA to band 5 LTE, but it’s a pretty small sliver of spectrum and if your phone drops to it it’ll be some of the slowest LTE available on any of the big 3.

    • Nahuel1988

      Well to be honest with you, my LTE never dropped in Montreal, I am not aware if Rogers has the 700MHz frequency here tho. My phone is European (LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 7(2600), 8(900), 17(700), 20(800), 28(700) and 40(2300)), so if my band 7 fails here in my hometown (hasn’t happened yet), I’m pretty much screwed LOL. So it’s pretty much fast LTE or no LTE at all. I wasn’t sure it connected to LTE because it shows 4G, but the speedtest shows 109, sometimes even reaching up to 119. Thanks for clarifying anyways!

  • WhoCares1000

    Is SaskTel Saskatoon-based or Regina-based?

    • Tim


    • WhoCares1000

      That’s what I thought, Daniel thinks otherwise.

  • nonenone22

    I would rather have dial-up than live in Saskatchewan.

    • jsebean

      lol that’s a little harsh..

    • nonenone22

      Not as harsh as living in Saskatchewan

    • crazicanuck

      The key point is you don’t have to live in Saskatchewan to have a public provider, you just have the political will.

    • kcus kcid


    • Felix

      Agreed. I gate living in Saskatchewan with my well paying, secure job. It sucks.

    • nonenone22

      I hate living somewhere that isn’t Saskatchewan with my well paying, secure job. Oh wait, that doesn’t suck.

  • SuperDSpamalot

    It’s almost as if competition is a good thing. Who woulda thunk it.

  • Ted Shekeler

    It’s pretty cool paying $116 a month to Sasktel for “Highspeed” internet for my home @ 10mpbs down and 1.5up yet these phones can do serious speed and they are all data capped.