Telus leads Rogers and Bell in network speeds, according to OpenSignal

OpenSignal, the company behind the popular mobile speed testing app of the same name, has released its January 2017 Canadian State of Mobile Networks report, showing a neck-in-neck race for speed dominance between the Big Three, with Telus edging out the competition across a majority of metrics.

The company bases its results off of crowd-sourced testing from its app, compiling both user-initiated tests and tests that run in the background, which the company says provides less user bias. Its data sample size is a robust 289,240,795 tests in total, sourced from 15,272 app between October 1st and December 31st, 2016.

Carriers in a wireless Canada

OpenSignal’s results show that when it comes to LTE downloads, Bell and Telus “share the speed crown.”

The average LTE download speed measured for Telus’ network is 30.5Mbps, while Bell’s network measured 28.4Mbps. Due to “overlapping statistical margins,” however, OpenSignal ultimately counted this as a draw for the two competitors, which have a long-held infrastructure sharing agreement.

The tie between Bell and Telus was closer when it came to 3G speeds, with 6.3Mbps for Bell and 6.2Mbps for Telus.

Meanwhile, Rogers came in third (though not by an overwhelming margin) with an average 27.32 4G download speed and 4.91Mbps 3G download speed.

In an overall download speed average, combining both 3G and 4G speeds, the Big Three remained close but Telus came out the winner with a 24.11Mbps speed, Bell second with 22.09Mbps and Rogers third with 21.25Mbps.

When it came to network reaction time, commonly known as latency, there was a clear winner between Bell and Telus. Winning both 3G and 4G latency match-ups, Telus scored 73.2ms and 43.6ms respectively.

Bell scored 90.76ms for 3G latency and 47.13ms for 4G latency, coming in second. In third, Rogers averaged 101.80ms on 3G and 51.22 on 4G.

In addition to these standard benchmarks for wireless network performance, OpenSignal adds another metric: availability.

Through constantly tracking networks in the background of its users’ smartphones, the company is able to reveal the percentage of time LTE subscribers have a 4G LTE connection available. In this, Rogers and Telus tied, with both networks offering customers an LTE connection 80 percent of the time, while Bell was not far off at 78 percent.

Freedom Mobile’s new LTE network and the networks of other smaller or regional carriers were not included in the results, presumably because OpenSignal aimed to paint a simplified picture of the three largest LTE networks in Canada.

For those who are interested in Freedom Mobile’s LTE network, however, MobileSyrup put together a (much smaller scale) network test of Freedom’s new LTE network in Toronto and will shortly do the same in Vancouver.

Canada in the wireless world

Canada’s Big Three networks all delivered average speeds significantly higher than last year’s measurements with the highest 4G download speeds reaching 30.5 Mbps on Telus’ network. Bell, however, is not far behind with download speeds of 28.4 Mbps. As the average 4G availability among Canada’s Big Three is approximately 80 percent, Canadians don’t have a problem getting a 4G signal the majority of the time.

While Canadians enjoy one of the most advanced and accessible line-ups of mobile networks in the world, they’re also known to pay some of the highest wireless subscriber fees in the world as well.

A report released by the CRTC last summer revealed that Canadians rank in the top three among the countries surveyed for the prices they pay on its wireless services, especially in comparison to the monthly fees paid by United States-based wireless customers.

It’s easiest to compare the country to its southern neighbour, whose residents pay notably less in monthly mobile and wireless fees to access a network that falls slightly below what Canadians have gotten used to.

While the United States’ carriers slightly outdo the likes of Rogers, Bell and Telus in terms of comprehensive coverage, Canada’s networks are still among the world’s most reliable when it comes to providing a consistent 4G or LTE signal.

In the last OpenSignal report issued in November, 2016, Canada narrowly made the top 20 for countries with the highest network availability at 95.71 percent compared to 75.42 percent availability nationwide. In comparison, the United States falls far below this rate at 78 percent.

Overall however, despite lagging slightly behind American networks in terms of areal coverage, Rogers, Bell and Telus make up for it in performance, as the typical 4G connection in Canada is 26.6 Mbps, which is almost double the United States average.

Last year’s report suggested the possibility that Canadian carriers have such impressive — and evenly matched — networks due to their network sharing agreements. Telus and Bell share towers, while Rogers has gone a similar route with regional carriers such as Videotron in Quebec and MTS in Manitoba.

In addition, despite the fact that this report didn’t cover them in detail, it’s important not to discount Canada’s regional carriers. Competition in the Canadian telecom sector has often been criticized, as the Rogers, Bell and Telus tend to monopolize the marketplace.

All in all, Canada’s wireless networks continue to be competitive both with each other and on the global stage. The coming years could very likely usher in the development of 5G networks in Canada, which could enable the mass commercialization of technologies like virtual reality, the Internet of Things, machine learning and others.

Source: OpenSignal


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  • neo905

    I don’t believe this at all. My signal strength on 4G is green like 20% of the time on Telus. It is mostly yellow and red and I am in the GTA most of the time.

    • TP

      It could be that Telus has more towers at the spots of the testing, or it could be your specific location with poor Telus signal.
      Some people report Rogers is better for them, yet I find Telus is much better at my frequent locations.

    • neo905

      My wife and I have the exact same phones. She is on Rogers and I am on Telus. Her reception and speed are consistently better than mine and it is not close. This is across the GTA

    • Omis

      The people I see using Rogers usually have problems with it. The ones at work barely get any signal at all.

    • neo905

      Ok. We both provided anecdotal information. Both can be true for our situations.

    • TP

      It might be the phone, then? I have exactly opposite experience, so I can’t agree or disagree, all I am saying is, people may experience different things, but the huge data sample base of almost 3 million tests from more than 15K apps is more credible than our two stories, right? I would take the result with some grain of salt, but I wouldn’t say ‘I don’t believe this at all’.

    • neo905

      Yes. From MY personal experience I don’t believe this. I can only speak to my experience. Lawd have mercy. Do you have a job to get back to? Or is it Rogers and that’s why you want to brow beat me over this.

    • Andrew

      The GTA is not all of Canada

    • neo905

      Uh huh and 80% of the country lives 100 kilometres away from the U.S. border. Who cares what the reception is like in Nunavut. It is completely valid to expect a densely populated area with 6 million people to have great reception.

    • GottaLoveCapitalism

      Personal experience does not trump the facts.

    • neo905

      First of all. Don’t use Trump and facts in the same sentence (: Second, I am just using my personal experience. It is a fact for me. I know others with differ but that doesn’t really matter to me because this report would not end up being my experience.

    • GottaLoveCapitalism

      Your experience is an anecdote in this discussion, not a fact. Funny that you’re drawing the parallel to Trump because that’s exactly the kind of logic he uses.

      This report is objective fact and reports on average speeds, you unfortunately fall below the average, that doesn’t change the facts. Your original comment should have said ‘I don’t experience this at all’ vs. ‘believe’, what you believe is irrelevant.

    • neo905

      I never said it was fact. I said it was MY personal experience or anecdote. The fact is if I believed this report I would end up with an inferior service based on MY experience and what good is that to ME. If it’s different for you great. That doesn’t help my situation.

    • mysteriousanon

      Usually LTE has lower signal strength, but even with the lowest signal strength it is way faster.

    • Sunny Lee

      –“I never said it was fact”

      -“It is a fact for me.”

      -“a fact for me”

      -“a fact for”

      -“a fact”


      But the bigger issue here is that you don’t seem to understand a world outside of your own, and that’s what people are peeving you about. What you’re saying is equivalent to saying “Oh, I had a great time at a Syrian resort! I don’t believe the news that it’s dangerous in Syria, I felt completely safe there!”. It’s ironic that you bring up Trump, considering that’s exactly his supporters’ views. Ignore the facts that immigration is almost universally good for a country, and instead go off personal opinion and experience.

  • MoYeung

    OpenSignal’s report was conducted between October and December of last year, with a sample size of 15,272 users across Canada. The company collected almost 290 million measurements.

    The data was crowdsourced from users of the company’s Android and iPhone apps, which perform network measurement tests.

    Among the report’s key takeaways:

    In a measure of 4G download speeds, Telus and Bell tied, with 30.5 Mbps (megabits per second) and 28.4 Mbps respectively. Why the tie if the numbers are different? According to OpenSignal, “overlapping statistical margins resulted in a draw.”

    OpenSignal doesn’t track network coverage but rather availability — defined as the amount of time a 4G connection is available. For this test, Rogers and Telus tied with just under 81 per cent availability, while Bell came in at 78 per cent.

    In terms of latency, or “the delay data experiences as it travels between points in the network,” Telus was the clear winner with an average of 43.6 milliseconds of latency on its 4G network, followed by 47.1 ms for Bell and 51.2 ms for Rogers. (Because we’re talking about delay, the smaller the number, the better.)

    In a metric looking at overall download speed — one that combined speeds for both 4G and 3G networks, as well as availability — Telus again came out on top, with an average of 24.1 Mbps. This was followed by Bell with 22.1 Mbps and Rogers with 21.3 Mbps.

    “In many of our metrics, we found no clear winners given how evenly matched the operators were in our measurements,” the report reads.

    (from Cbc)

    • Cool, our story is better.

    • Rose

      Hey Mo. I felt I wanted to address this comment because usually I really enjoy your contributions to the community and find them helpful and substantive. This comment, however, I found disheartening. Jessica and I spent time and effort working on this report yesterday. We aim for every article to be well-thought out, considered and comprehensive. I appreciate comments with insight, corrections, debate — I love to hear your opinions. To undermine our work by posting another news outlet’s article without any personal commentary, however, is not productive unless your goal is to make us feel that our work is redundant. Please feel free to engage with me further if you have any other comments or concerns.

    • MoYeung

      Thank you for your feedback, Rose.

      When I find out the same story is on cbc and they seem to have a different opinion???, I just wanted to share it for discussion purpose.

      I didn’t mean to undermine your coverage on the story or anything. The source is the same, from Opensignal, but you can have slightly different interpretation and/or different opinion.

      I will keep to my personal opinion from now on, no problem.

    • Rose

      I misunderstood the intention of your comment Mo, thanks so much for clarifying & your awesome response to feedback.

  • gommer strike

    Yawn let us know when our country’s mobile data network speeds match that of South Korea.

  • demigod79

    Speed comparisons are so pointless among the big three. What is the point of having fast network speeds when you’re limited to a handful of gigabytes a month? I mean, a faster network only means you’ll be able to drain your limited data plan that much faster!

    If I had a choice between a network that was a hundred times faster and a network that offered a hundred times more data I would gladly take the latter. It’s pathetic how we Canadians are so starved of mobile data, and yet the big three only talks about faster speeds.

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