Increasing data use is straining network performance in Canada, says study

According to a new study from J.D. Power, your morning game of Words with Friends is stressing out wireless networks more than you’d think.

The international market research firm says overall network problems have risen due to the increased use of data-heavy apps by Canadians. Overall, wireless subscribers now experience 10 issues per 100 network connections, compared to nine in the 2015 study.

“The storage capacity and processing power of new devices provides consumers with an abundance of available apps prompting a rapidly rising consumption of data,” says Adrian Chung, director at J.D. Power, in a release sent to MobileSyrup, “This is placing a great deal of stress on network performance.”

Network strained by heavy data demands

The study examines performance in calling, messaging and data through 10 main criteria, including dropped calls, web connection errors, slow downloads and text message transmission failures. 

Problems with apps and features that use data saw the biggest increase, from 14 to 15 percent, while calling and messaging errors remained stable at 13 and five percent respectively.

J.D. Power links this increase to another insight it turned up: the incidence of people who use apps on smartphones has risen 86 percent from 84 percent in 2015.

Telus ranks high in every region

The study’s data is based on survey results from three geographical areas, drawing in approximately 2,300 respondents from the eastern region, 2,300 respondents from Ontario and 2,700 respondents from the western region. 

The regional studies provide a snapshot of the carriers with the least reported network issues, with Telus ranking high in every area.

In the east, Telus is tied with Bell and Videotron for best network quality, while in the west it’s tied with SaskTel, and in Ontario it takes the top spot alone. All of the high-ranking carriers had nine issues per 100.

Device-based performance

The study also gleaned an interesting insight based on devices, revealing that LG users seem to be the most pleased with their data speeds. According to J.D. Power, 12 percent of those who own an LG device indicate their data speeds are faster than expected, compared with 10 percent of HTC owners and 9 percent of Apple iPhone owners, Blackberry owners, and Samsung owners who indicate the same.

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