Mobile Network Experience Report Canada February 2019

Canada

Mobile Network Experience Report
February 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in Canada
Total Devices
161,672
Total Measurements
1,159,919,011
Data Collection Period
Oct 01 Dec 29, 2018

Opensignal is the independent global standard for analyzing consumer mobile experience. Our industry reports are the definitive guide to understanding the true experience consumers receive on wireless networks.

Author
Kevin Fitchard Lead Analyst

Key findings

Bell and Telus shine in Video Experience

Bell and Telus tied for our Video Experience award, but most notable were their scores, which exceeded the 65 points that define a Very Good quality experience in our measurements. That's a difficult milestone for any operator to reach and generally indicates video consistently begins playback quickly with only occasional interruptions in the video stream, even at higher resolutions.

Rogers challenges Telus in upload speed

Telus has long been king of our speed metrics, and true to form it took our Download Speed Experience Award with an impressive average connection of 49 Mbps. But in our Upload Speed Experience category, Telus faced a new challenger. Rogers and Telus tied for that award, both with an average overall upload speed just under 10 Mbps in our measurements.

Telus grabs the lead in 4G Availability

Throughout 2018 Bell and Telus were tied in our 4G Availability rankings, which should come as little surprise given their long-standing infrastructure-sharing deal. But in our latest test period, Telus gained the upper hand, pushing past Bell with a 4G Availability score of 89.3% compared to Bell's 88.1%. We're still waiting, however, for the first Canadian operator to cross the 90% 4G Availability threshold nationally.

Overall download speeds exceed 60 Mbps in several cities

In Edmonton, we found two operators surpassing 68 Mbps in our Download Speed Experience metric. What's more, in seven cities, our analysis shows that at least one operator averaged download connection speeds greater than 60 Mbps.

Introduction

As the 5G era approaches, Canada has become a standard bearer for the power of 4G networking — and it continues to impress in our metrics. Bell, Rogers and Telus all averaged download speeds greater than 35 Mbps across their mobile broadband networks in our analysis, and in some cities those operators were pushing the speed envelope well beyond 60 Mbps. Upload speeds are also high, and Canada has achieved an impressive level of 4G reach. Finally Canada excels in a key measure of the consumer mobile experience: video quality. All three national operators had high marks in our new Video Experience metric, but Bell and Telus elevated themselves into an elite category of operator.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Canada
February 2019, Canada Report
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
February 2019, Canada
4G Availability
Download Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
February 2019, Canada
Video Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Download Image

Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
4G Availability
% of time
Bell
88.1
Rogers
86.8
Telus
89.3
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

National Analysis

4G Availability

For the first time in a year we have a clear winner in our 4G Availability category. After drawing with Bell for the award in our last report, Telus inched ahead of Bell in our latest test period with a 4G Availability score of 89.3%. We would expect the two operators to be very close in this metric as they have a nationwide infrastructure and spectrum agreement that effectively gives them the same LTE footprint. But we wouldn't expect their scores to be exact as their customer bases are distributed in different ways in Canada.

4G Availability
% of time
Bell
88.1
Rogers
86.8
Telus
89.3
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

All three national operators had excellent 4G Availability scores above 86%, but they've yet to hit the next big milestone in LTE reach: a national 4G Availability score of 90%. We've been expecting the first Canadian operator to cross that threshold for the last year, but growth in 4G Availability has been slow. It hasn't quite stopped, but we have only been seeing incremental increases from the three operators every six months.

Video Experience

All of Canada's nationwide operators scored highly in our Video Experience metric, but Bell and Telus were clearly a step above Rogers in our rankings. Both Bell and Telus had Video Experience scores greater than 65, which marks a Very Good rating in our 0-100 scale. Our Video Experience metric measures the quality of mobile video streamed to devices, taking into account factors such as video loading time, stalling during playback and the level of resolution supported. A Very Good score (65-75) indicates consistently good quality video streams with little lag before video begins playing and few interruptions during playback — even at higher resolutions.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Bell
66.9
Rogers
61.8
Telus
67.6
Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
70.4 (± 0.71) 67.1 (± 0.96) 70.9 (± 0.74)
3G Video Experience
44.8 (± 2.15) 34.4 (± 2.77) 43.2 (± 3.11)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
70 (± 0.71)
67 (± 0.96)
71 (± 0.74)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
45 (± 2.15)
34 (± 2.77)
43 (± 3.11)
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

A Very Good score is a hard target to hit. In OpenSignal's recent report on overall Video Experience on a country level, Very Good was the highest rating awarded in our 69-country analysis, and only 11 countries were able to hit that mark. Canada's impressive Download Speed Experience scores were likely a contributor to its superior Video Experience, but speed alone isn't the determining factor in video quality. Especially in countries where speeds are already high, factors like latency, 4G Availability and consistency of speed have a big bearing on Video Experience scores.

Download Speed Experience

Telus won our Download Speed Experience award with an average score of 49 Mbps in our measurements. But Canada's other two nationwide operators suffered from no lack of raw speed. Our analysis shows that even third-placed operator Rogers averaged downloads of 36.3 Mbps, an impressive score by global standards.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Bell
43.9
Rogers
36.3
Telus
49.0
0 12.5 25 37.5 50
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
50.0 (± 1.12) 42.6 (± 0.87) 54.9 (± 1.25)
3G Download Speed
5.5 (± 0.28) 4.2 (± 0.18) 5.8 (± 0.33)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
50 (± 1.12)
43 (± 0.87)
55 (± 1.25)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
5 (± 0.28)
4 (± 0.18)
6 (± 0.33)
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Upload Speed Experience

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Bell
8.9
Rogers
9.6
Telus
9.9
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
10.1 (± 0.27) 11.3 (± 0.27) 11.1 (± 0.29)
3G Upload Speed
1.1 (± 0.09) 0.9 (± 0.07) 1.1 (± 0.11)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
10 (± 0.27)
11 (± 0.27)
11 (± 0.29)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.09)
1 (± 0.07)
1 (± 0.11)
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Latency Experience

In our Latency Experience category we found another clear win for Telus. Latency is an often overlooked metric as the benefits of a low latency connection aren't as obvious as fast speeds or wide-ranging availability. But latency affects the consumer mobile experience in many subtle ways. The lower the latency score on a network, the better the experience on a host of mobile applications and services, from web browsing to voice-over-IP to real-time multiplayer gaming.

Latency Experience
in ms The lower the figure the better the latency
Bell
45.3
Rogers
51.8
Telus
43.4
0 13.75 27.5 41.25 55
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
41.7 (± 0.34) 45.0 (± 0.41) 40.5 (± 0.34)
3G Latency
68.3 (± 2.81) 86.2 (± 2.45) 65.1 (± 2.47)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Latency in ms
42 (± 0.34)
45 (± 0.41)
40 (± 0.34)
3G Latency in ms
68 (± 2.81)
86 (± 2.45)
65 (± 2.47)
Mobile Network Experience Report | February 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Telus had a Latency Experience score of 43.4 milliseconds, giving it the fastest response time across 3G and 4G networks in our tests. But Bell was a close second with a Latency Experience score of 45.3ms.

Regional Analysis

For our regional analysis, we examined our award metrics in eight of Canada's largest cities, including not only the big three national operators but also Freedom Mobile and Videotron in the relevant areas. It's clear that the big cities are major focal points for network investment. In every city except Ottawa we recorded Download Speed Experience scores above 60 Mbps from at least one operator. 4G Availability was above 90% for nearly every nationwide operator in most of these cities, while in Calgary and Edmonton, some of those 4G Availability scores rose above 95%. We also broadly saw large improvements in Video Experience and Latency Experience in urban areas compared to national averages.

Freedom Mobile has been going head-to-head with the big three in many metro areas for several years, but our analysis shows it's still behind its competitors in many key areas. Its Download Speed Experience scores were barely half its larger rivals' scores in the cities it offered service. It also wasn't able to match the big three's impressive 4G reach in these markets, with the exception of Edmonton where Freedom's 4G Availability fell just short of 90%. Videotron, on the other hand, made a stronger showing against the nationwide providers in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City. Videotron was tied for both Video Experience and Upload Speed Experience awards in all three cities, but, like Freedom, Videotron had a difficult time matching the extremely high Download Speed Experience scores of its larger competitors.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Calgary

4G Availability
in Calgary
in %
Bell
96.0
Freedom Mobile
84.9
Rogers
94.6
Telus
94.6
Download Image
Video Experience
in Calgary
in 0-100 points
Bell
73.0
Freedom Mobile
60.2
Rogers
67.8
Telus
74.9
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Calgary
in Mbps
Bell
73.2
Freedom Mobile
21.1
Rogers
44.6
Telus
68.7
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Calgary
in Mbps
Bell
14.9
Freedom Mobile
6.5
Rogers
12.2
Telus
14.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Calgary
in ms
Bell
33.9
Freedom Mobile
63.5
Rogers
56.0
Telus
33.8
Download Image

Edmonton

4G Availability
in Edmonton
in %
Bell
97.1
Freedom Mobile
89.3
Rogers
92.9
Telus
94.7
Download Image
Video Experience
in Edmonton
in 0-100 points
Bell
70.9
Freedom Mobile
53.2
Rogers
58.8
Telus
70.9
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Edmonton
in Mbps
Bell
63.3
Freedom Mobile
20.9
Rogers
51.6
Telus
58.4
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Edmonton
in Mbps
Bell
12.1
Freedom Mobile
5.9
Rogers
13.0
Telus
11.7
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Edmonton
in ms
Bell
40.7
Freedom Mobile
68.9
Rogers
55.3
Telus
39.4
Download Image

Montreal

4G Availability
in Montreal
in %
Bell
91.9
Rogers
91.7
Telus
93.3
Videotron
90.5
Download Image
Video Experience
in Montreal
in 0-100 points
Bell
72.8
Rogers
65.3
Telus
72.5
Videotron
71.3
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Montreal
in Mbps
Bell
59.8
Rogers
46.1
Telus
66.3
Videotron
32.3
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Montreal
in Mbps
Bell
12.2
Rogers
12.7
Telus
13.1
Videotron
12.9
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Montreal
in ms
Bell
36.8
Rogers
46.0
Telus
35.6
Videotron
37.3
Download Image

Ottawa

4G Availability
in Ottawa
in %
Bell
91.6
Freedom Mobile
82.3
Rogers
89.7
Telus
90.7
Videotron
88.6
Download Image
Video Experience
in Ottawa
in 0-100 points
Bell
70.1
Freedom Mobile
47.3
Rogers
59.3
Telus
69.0
Videotron
66.9
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Ottawa
in Mbps
Bell
46.0
Freedom Mobile
6.7
Rogers
36.7
Telus
55.4
Videotron
26.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Ottawa
in Mbps
Bell
10.2
Freedom Mobile
3.4
Rogers
10.5
Telus
11.5
Videotron
11.5
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Ottawa
in ms
Bell
39.5
Freedom Mobile
60.5
Rogers
48.6
Telus
38.3
Videotron
46.0
Download Image

Quebec City

4G Availability
in Quebec City
in %
Bell
93.3
Rogers
88.3
Telus
94.3
Videotron
90.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Quebec City
in 0-100 points
Bell
69.2
Rogers
68.4
Telus
70.8
Videotron
73.3
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Quebec City
in Mbps
Bell
61.1
Rogers
37.0
Telus
68.5
Videotron
30.0
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Quebec City
in Mbps
Bell
10.4
Rogers
9.8
Telus
9.3
Videotron
11.0
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Quebec City
in ms
Bell
39.0
Rogers
49.7
Telus
37.1
Videotron
38.9
Download Image

Toronto

4G Availability
in Toronto
in %
Bell
90.0
Freedom Mobile
79.3
Rogers
90.6
Telus
91.7
Download Image
Video Experience
in Toronto
in 0-100 points
Bell
71.1
Freedom Mobile
60.3
Rogers
66.6
Telus
72.0
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Toronto
in Mbps
Bell
55.3
Freedom Mobile
19.7
Rogers
43.6
Telus
61.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Toronto
in Mbps
Bell
11.7
Freedom Mobile
7.1
Rogers
12.2
Telus
13.9
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Toronto
in ms
Bell
36.0
Freedom Mobile
55.0
Rogers
37.3
Telus
35.8
Download Image

Vancouver

4G Availability
in Vancouver
in %
Bell
92.8
Freedom Mobile
77.7
Rogers
89.5
Telus
94.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in Vancouver
in 0-100 points
Bell
73.6
Freedom Mobile
60.8
Rogers
61.1
Telus
71.4
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Vancouver
in Mbps
Bell
62.3
Freedom Mobile
21.5
Rogers
38.7
Telus
60.7
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Vancouver
in Mbps
Bell
12.1
Freedom Mobile
6.1
Rogers
11.4
Telus
13.5
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Vancouver
in ms
Bell
35.7
Freedom Mobile
47.6
Rogers
46.9
Telus
33.5
Download Image

Winnipeg

4G Availability
in Winnipeg
in %
Bell
90.1
Rogers
88.6
Telus
93.0
Download Image
Video Experience
in Winnipeg
in 0-100 points
Bell
66.2
Rogers
59.7
Telus
70.9
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Winnipeg
in Mbps
Bell
35.4
Rogers
36.2
Telus
61.3
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Winnipeg
in Mbps
Bell
8.6
Rogers
8.9
Telus
12.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Winnipeg
in ms
Bell
62.9
Rogers
72.4
Telus
49.7
Download Image
Learn more

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks in the places they live, work and travel.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the true experience of smartphone users. Therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars. In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

More about Methodology

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our latest reports and analyses delivered right to your inbox every 2 weeks. We will not share your email address with third parties.

Journalists, please retain the Opensignal logo and copyright
(© Opensignal Limited) information when using this image.

This image may not be used for any commercial purpose, including use in advertisements or other promotional content, without prior written consent.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars.

In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

Why confidence intervals are vital in analyzing mobile network experience

Subscribe to our Newsletter

and receive Opensignal reports in your email

About our Newsletter