Canada

Mobile Network Experience Report
August 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in Canada
Total Devices
173,628
Total Measurements
438,085,487
Data Collection Period
Apr 01 Jun 29, 2019

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 Principal Analyst

Key findings

Bell and Telus break the 50 Mbps barrier in Download Speed Experience

Opensignal recorded big surges in download speeds for all of Canada's major operators. Telus and Bell both boosted their Download Speed Experience scores beyond 50 Mbps, and all three operators now provide our users with 4G Download Speeds faster than 50 Mbps. And these rapid increases in speed show few signs of abating, meaning we'll likely see the 60 Mbps barrier in Download Speed Experience broken in the next year.

Telus becomes the first Canadian operator to hit 90% 4G Availability

One of Canada's operators has surpassed the elusive 90% milestone in 4G Availability. Telus just inched over the line in this report, providing a 4G signal to our users 90.1% of the time, allowing it to hold on to our 4G Availability award. Both Bell and Rogers were close to the leader in this metric, with 4G Availability scores above 87%.

The consumer Video Experience is improving in Canada

Video Experience scores for all three major operators improved in the last six months. Bell and Telus both had Very Good ratings in our Video Experience scale, meaning video streamed to our users exhibited short load times and few interruptions even at higher resolutions. Meanwhile Rogers was just shy of a Very Good rating.

Telus has become entrenched as the operator to beat in our metrics

In this report, Telus won four of our five awards outright and tied for the fifth, improving on the already dominant position it established last year. Telus added Video Experience to its list of wins after drawing with Bell in that category in our last report. That's not to say the other operators aren't improving. Telus, however, has managed to either stay ahead of or outpace its competitors in nearly every metric in our analysis.

Introduction

The next generation of mobile broadband may be just around the corner, but for the Canadian mobile industry it's business as usual. While many global operators have taken their foot off the 4G gas pedal as they prepare for their 5G launches, Canadian operators have kept bearing down on the accelerator, as demonstrated by the impressive gains in Download Speed and Video Experience we recorded in this report. Canada is already among the fastest countries in the world (landing third in our global ranking of countries by overall download speed), with two operators having hit the 50 Mbps mark in Download Speed Experience. The mobile industry is now pushing the 60 Mbps envelope, with Telus already at 57 Mbps in our measurements. Meanwhile Canada's already impressive Video Experience is only improving.

Canada hasn't ignored 5G by any means. Operators have begun 5G tests and trials and are laying the groundwork for their future rollouts. Many of the same upgrades made to 4G networks will pull double duty in the first Canadian 5G networks to launch. The 600 MHz auction has just concluded, which will provide a solid foundation for Rogers’ and Telus's 5G launches. Meanwhile, growth in 4G Availability has nearly ground to a halt, a sign that Canadian operators feel they've achieved the necessary reach for their 4G services.

Opensignal Awards Table

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

Overview

Canada may not be as rushed to launch 5G as its larger neighbor to the south, but that 5G inflection point is coming, and it presents a big opportunity for a shake up in the Canadian mobile market and in our metrics. Telus has become the dominant operator in our metrics, outpacing its competitors in 4G Availability, Download Speed Experience, Latency Experience, and, most recently, Video Experience. With the 4G era coming to a close, Bell and Rogers may well be looking to the 5G epoch to provide the ammunition to unseat Telus in our metrics.

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
4G Availability
in %
Telus
90.1
Bell
88.6
Rogers
87.9
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

4G Availability

Canada has reached a major milestone in its 4G development. Telus has become the first operator to reach the 90% 4G Availability mark — and just barely. Our 4G users were able to access a Telus 4G connection 90.1% of the time, which secured the operator our 4G Availability award for the second report in a row. Though Telus may have the honor of being first to attain 90% in our measurements, its win in this metric wasn't a given. For the last few reports, Bell, Rogers and Telus have come within a few percentage points of 90%, each making incremental gains every six months but never quite crossing the line.

4G Availability
in %
Telus
90.1
Bell
88.6
Rogers
87.9
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Incremental gains in 4G Availability are what we expect in Canada from now on. The biggest growth in 4G Availability since our last report was only 1.1 percentage points, recorded on Rogers’ networks. The era of big growth in 4G access appears to be over as operators are now turning their attention to 5G, and we're already seeing evidence that's exactly where their attention is now focused. Canada recently completed its 600 MHz auction, releasing new mobile broadband airwaves to Rogers, Telus and several regional providers. Those 600 MHz licenses would normally be ideal for boosting 4G Availability and coverage, but both Rogers and Telus have earmarked those frequencies for their future 5G rollouts.

Video Experience

Telus and Bell were battling it out for Opensignal's Video Experience award in our last report, but in this data collection period an outright leader has emerged. Telus won our Video Experience award with a score of 69.8 in our 100-point scale, putting it more than a point ahead of Bell. Telus and Bell maintained their Very Good ratings (65-75), which means that video exhibited short load times and few interruptions during playback, even at high resolutions. What's more, Video Experience is improving on all operators. Bell and Telus are now both closing in on a score of 70 in our measurements, while Rogers is less than a point shy of joining its rivals in Very-Good ratings territory.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Telus
69.8
Bell
68.6
Rogers
64.3
Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
72.3 (± 0.62) 72.5 (± 0.53) 69.0 (± 0.73)
3G Video Experience
46.9 (± 2.47) 41.1 (± 2.66) 37.9 (± 2.35)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
72 (± 0.62)
73 (± 0.53)
69 (± 0.73)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
47 (± 2.47)
41 (± 2.66)
38 (± 2.35)
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

As you might expect, Canada's powerful 4G connections are the driving force behind these high Video Experience scores. When we looked at 4G Video Experience alone, Bell and Telus were both less than 3 points shy of Excellent ratings (75-100), which is our highest possible measure of mobile Video Experience. But those two operators also did quite well in 3G Video Experience, earning Fair ratings (40-55) when we looked at video streamed over HSPA connections only.

Download Speed Experience

While growth in 4G Availability is stalling, the same can't be said for speed. Download speeds in Canada continue to ramp up and show no signs of slowing down even as the Canadian mobile industry takes its first steps toward 5G. Both Bell and Telus boosted their Download Speed Experience scores above 50 Mbps, and those gains were by no means small. Our Bell and Telus users' average overall download speeds both increased 8 Mbps in the last six months to reach 51.9 Mbps and 57 Mbps respectively. Rogers may have again come in last place, but its Download Speed Experience was nonetheless exceptional. Our Rogers users were able to access average downstream connection speeds of 41.7 Mbps, representing an increase of more than 5 Mbps since our last report.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telus
57.0
Bell
51.9
Rogers
41.7
0 15 30 45 60
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
62.7 (± 1.34) 58.6 (± 1.18) 48.5 (± 0.93)
3G Download Speed
5.2 (± 0.28) 5.3 (± 0.30) 4.4 (± 0.20)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
63 (± 1.34)
59 (± 1.18)
48 (± 0.93)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
5 (± 0.28)
5 (± 0.30)
4 (± 0.20)
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

These download speeds put Canadian operators among the top tier globally in this metric, but what's most intriguing is how Canada continues to improve its 4G Download Speeds, considering operators are already laying the groundwork for the 5G launches. Telus' average 4G Download Speed is now above 60 Mbps and Bell is about to meet the same milestone. In a recent analysis of 4G peak speeds in Canada, we found the peak 4G speeds our users experienced consistently surpassed 180 Mbps nationally, while in Montreal and Toronto, Telus users routinely encountered 4G peak speeds close to 300 Mbps.

At the same time, Bell, Telus, Rogers have all conducted 5G network trials and are now in the process of selecting vendors for their upcoming 5G rollouts. That said, Canadian operators aren't in as big of a hurry to launch 5G as many of their global peers. While the first commercial 5G services have already gone live in the U.S. and South Korea, Canada likely won't see commercial 5G service until 2021 — late 2020 at the earliest. However, Canada's operators seem committed to pushing 4G to the end of its evolutionary path.

Upload Speed Experience

While we recorded huge boosts in Download Speed Experience across the operators, we saw practically no change in their Upload Speed Experience scores. That's a good indication that any new LTE Advanced network upgrades are mainly affecting the downlink rather than the uplink portion of the network. Our users, however, had access to excellent upload speeds across all three operators' networks. Telus and Rogers drew for the award with Upload Speed Experience scores just below 10 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telus
9.8
Bell
8.9
Rogers
9.5
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
10.8 (± 0.25) 10.0 (± 0.25) 11.0 (± 0.25)
3G Upload Speed
1.0 (± 0.09) 1.0 (± 0.09) 0.9 (± 0.07)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
11 (± 0.25)
10 (± 0.25)
11 (± 0.25)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.09)
1 (± 0.09)
1 (± 0.07)
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

When we break down upload speed by technology we find that 4G connections are responsible for the high Upload Speed Experience scores we measured. None of our users on the three operators' networks averaged 3G Upload Speeds faster than 1 Mbps, but when connected to the 4G network, they consistently experienced upload speeds faster than 10 Mbps.

Latency Experience

Telus once again netted our Latency Experience award with an average overall response time of 41 milliseconds. Latency is an increasingly important metric as it impacts the customer experience in many subtle ways. Lower latency connections mean less lag time when using real-time communication apps, faster reaction speeds during multiplayer gaming sessions and generally faster loading videos and webpages.

Latency Experience
in ms The lower the figure the better the latency
Telus
41.0
Bell
43.3
Rogers
46.8
0 12.5 25 37.5 50
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
38.2 (± 0.27) 39.8 (± 0.30) 41.1 (± 0.39)
3G Latency
66.3 (± 2.55) 68.0 (± 2.71) 78.4 (± 1.87)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Latency in ms
38 (± 0.27)
40 (± 0.30)
41 (± 0.39)
3G Latency in ms
66 (± 2.55)
68 (± 2.71)
78 (± 1.87)
Mobile Network Experience Report | August 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Canadian operators in general had good Latency Experience scores, with their users’ latencies all below 50ms, and when we look at 4G Latency alone, we see both Telus and Bell's scores dropping below 40ms. No Canadian operator yet, however, is approaching the 30ms bar, which is where we typically see Latency Experience scores for the most responsive 4G networks. This is one area in which 5G will eventually provide a major boost as the technology's streamlined architecture promises to push latency levels down to the single digits.

Regional Analysis

In our analysis of seven Canadian cities, Download Speed Experience was the standout metric. Given Telus won our national Download Speed Experience award by a large margin, the fact that it won or shared all of our city-level awards in the category is hardly shocking. What is surprising, however, is the individual speeds we measured in many of those cities. In Calgary, our Telus users were able to find download connections averaging a very speedy 94 Mbps. In Montreal, Telus's Download Speed Experience score was 85 Mbps. In all but one of the seven cities, our users on at least one operator had average overall download speeds greater than 70 Mbps — in many cases multiple operators.

We also recorded some impressive Video Experience scores in Canada's largest cities from both Canada's national and regional operators. In Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver, at least one operator had Excellent Video Experience ratings, which is our highest possible rank for video quality, and in nearly every other case all of the major operators landed Very Good ratings. Videotron earned a Very Good rating in Montreal as well, while Freedom Mobile earned Good or better ratings in its markets in all but one case. Getting a fast download connection or high-quality Video Experience in Canada's largest cities is certainly not a problem.

In all of our other primary metrics, we found that operators improved on their national results at the urban level. In several cities our users were able to find 4G signals more than 95% of the time on either Telus or Bell's networks. We recorded sub-40ms Latency Experience scores in nearly every market. And in every city our users on at least one operator's network averaged Upload Speed Experience scores faster than 10 Mbps.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Calgary

4G Availability
in Calgary
in %
Telus
95.0
Freedom Mobile
90.7
Bell
94.9
Rogers
92.8
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Video Experience
in Calgary
in 0-100 points
Telus
77.4
Freedom Mobile
66.7
Bell
76.3
Rogers
70.6
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Download Speed Experience
in Calgary
in Mbps
Telus
94.0
Freedom Mobile
26.0
Bell
79.6
Rogers
61.4
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Calgary
in Mbps
Telus
15.0
Freedom Mobile
8.2
Bell
13.0
Rogers
14.6
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Latency Experience
in Calgary
in ms
Telus
31.2
Freedom Mobile
60.0
Bell
33.2
Rogers
48.4
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Edmonton

4G Availability
in Edmonton
in %
Telus
95.7
Freedom Mobile
86.3
Bell
95.8
Rogers
91.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in Edmonton
in 0-100 points
Telus
74.2
Freedom Mobile
62.7
Bell
73.9
Rogers
68.1
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Download Speed Experience
in Edmonton
in Mbps
Telus
79.9
Freedom Mobile
24.3
Bell
79.2
Rogers
51.0
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Upload Speed Experience
in Edmonton
in Mbps
Telus
12.3
Freedom Mobile
7.1
Bell
13.4
Rogers
9.6
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Latency Experience
in Edmonton
in ms
Telus
36.6
Freedom Mobile
60.2
Bell
42.5
Rogers
56.8
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Montreal

4G Availability
in Montreal
in %
Telus
93.3
Videotron
93.7
Bell
93.7
Rogers
92.3
Download Image
Video Experience
in Montreal
in 0-100 points
Telus
75.5
Videotron
72.2
Bell
74.8
Rogers
66.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Montreal
in Mbps
Telus
85.0
Videotron
35.4
Bell
72.8
Rogers
52.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Montreal
in Mbps
Telus
12.9
Videotron
12.2
Bell
13.2
Rogers
12.5
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Latency Experience
in Montreal
in ms
Telus
32.8
Videotron
36.3
Bell
34.1
Rogers
40.0
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Ottawa

4G Availability
in Ottawa
in %
Telus
92.6
Freedom Mobile
82.6
Bell
92.7
Rogers
90.5
Download Image
Video Experience
in Ottawa
in 0-100 points
Telus
72.5
Freedom Mobile
51.9
Bell
72.4
Rogers
65.7
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Ottawa
in Mbps
Telus
61.9
Freedom Mobile
6.9
Bell
56.7
Rogers
47.0
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Upload Speed Experience
in Ottawa
in Mbps
Telus
10.5
Freedom Mobile
3.4
Bell
8.7
Rogers
10.3
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Latency Experience
in Ottawa
in ms
Telus
36.3
Freedom Mobile
66.6
Bell
39.1
Rogers
44.9
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Toronto

4G Availability
in Toronto
in %
Telus
92.8
Freedom Mobile
84.3
Bell
92.8
Rogers
91.9
Download Image
Video Experience
in Toronto
in 0-100 points
Telus
72.1
Freedom Mobile
61.6
Bell
73.7
Rogers
69.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Toronto
in Mbps
Telus
79.5
Freedom Mobile
22.2
Bell
73.4
Rogers
48.7
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Upload Speed Experience
in Toronto
in Mbps
Telus
14.5
Freedom Mobile
7.2
Bell
12.7
Rogers
12.4
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Latency Experience
in Toronto
in ms
Telus
34.1
Freedom Mobile
45.3
Bell
34.1
Rogers
33.8
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Vancouver

4G Availability
in Vancouver
in %
Telus
95.5
Freedom Mobile
81.0
Bell
94.2
Rogers
92.3
Download Image
Video Experience
in Vancouver
in 0-100 points
Telus
75.6
Freedom Mobile
65.5
Bell
75.0
Rogers
68.8
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Vancouver
in Mbps
Telus
68.2
Freedom Mobile
25.7
Bell
68.5
Rogers
52.1
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Vancouver
in Mbps
Telus
11.9
Freedom Mobile
7.3
Bell
11.6
Rogers
11.7
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Latency Experience
in Vancouver
in ms
Telus
32.5
Freedom Mobile
42.7
Bell
33.4
Rogers
44.6
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Winnipeg

4G Availability
in Winnipeg
in %
Telus
91.5
Bell
90.2
Rogers
89.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in Winnipeg
in 0-100 points
Telus
73.2
Bell
70.2
Rogers
63.4
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Winnipeg
in Mbps
Telus
74.0
Bell
46.7
Rogers
42.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Winnipeg
in Mbps
Telus
10.8
Bell
9.0
Rogers
8.9
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Winnipeg
in ms
Telus
45.8
Bell
71.4
Rogers
67.9
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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

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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

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