Mobile Network Experience Report Canada February 2021

Canada

Mobile Network Experience Report
February 2021

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
Hardik Khatri Technical Analyst

Key findings

Telus remains the operator to beat in Canada

Once again, Telus has won the lion’s share of our awards. The mobile operator took first place in Video Experience, Voice App Experience, Download Speed Experience and Upload Speed Experience. It also jointly won the three remaining categories — 4G Availability with Rogers, 4G Coverage Experience with Bell and Games Experience where we saw a three-way split.

Telus users continue to enjoy the best Video Experience in Canada

Telus won the Video Experience Award with a score of 74.5 points on a 100-point scale, which represents a Very Good (65-75 points) rating and is just half a point shy of the Excellent rating (75 points and above). While Telus’s score did not change compared to our previous report, scores for Bell and Rogers both declined marginally by 0.9% to 72.1 points and 68.5 points, respectively. With these modest changes, our Bell and Rogers users continue to enjoy a Very Good Video Experience.

Mobile operators in Canada are closely matched in mobile Games Experience

We saw fierce competition for our Games Experience award, with no statistical difference between all three operators., Telus, Bell and Rogers became the joint winners on this measure and continued to place in the Fair Games Experience category (65-75 points). A Fair rating means most users deemed the experience average; it also indicates that the gameplay experience was generally controllable, with the majority of users noticing a delay between their actions and the outcomes in the game.

Bell and Rogers users saw their Download Speeds improve, but Telus is top

Our users in Canada reported the fastest average download speeds on Telus’ network. The operator achieved an impressive Download Speed Experience score of 72.8 Mbps. Our Rogers users saw the greatest improvement of 6 Mbps in their Download Speed Experience, while those on Bell saw an increase of 1.9 Mbps in Download Speed Experience, since the last report. As a result, Telus’ lead on its competitors reduced to 3.4 Mbps (4.9%) on Bell and 12.9 Mbps (21.6%) on Rogers. Meanwhile, Telus also beat both Bell and Rogers in a close-run race for Upload Speed Experience, with its users observing an average speed of 11.2 Mbps, 0.6-0.8 Mbps higher than their peers.

Telus holds on to our Voice App Experience award; its rating rises from Acceptable to Good

Telus continues to lead in our measure of the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger. The operator won our Voice App Experience award with a score of 80.3 points — an improvement of 0.9 points, which tipped Telus into the Good category (80-87 points). Our Bell and Rogers users also reported upswings of 1.4 points and 1.2 points, respectively, but missed a Good rating by a small margin and placed in the Acceptable Category. A Good Voice App Experience means that many users were satisfied, although some may have experienced minor quality impairments such as clicking sounds or distortion. And as we move down the ratings, the experience becomes less satisfying for users as they are likely to suffer from increased call quality impairments.

Telus draws level with Rogers in 4G Availability

In our previous report, Rogers won our 4G Availability award outright. But this time, Telus has eaten into its lead and forced a statistical tie. This was due to a 0.8 percentage points improvement in Telus’ score (93.9%), while Rogers’s score dipped slightly by 0.1 percentage points. Bell’s score also improved by 0.4 percentage points but remained more than 1.3 percentage points behind its peers.

Introduction

Canadian mobile operators are well into the 5G deployment cycle. Telus has reportedly expanded its 5G service to 19 more cities and towns in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, since June last year when the operator launched its 5G network initially in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Bell recently claimed to have 5G services currently available in around 150 locations across major urban areas and smaller communities across Canada, which it plans to double up by next year. At the end of last year, Rogers also announced it had expanded its 5G non-standalone (NSA) network to 26 new cities and towns in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec, now reaching 160 communities across the country.

While 5G may be the key area of focus for Canadian operators, 4G continues to play a vital role because that’s the network that consumers spend most of their time connected to.

In this report, we’ve analyzed the overall mobile network experience of all our users in Canada on each of the three nationwide operators, Telus, Bell and Rogers, over a 90-day period starting on October 1, 2020. Along with our national analysis, we've also examined our users’ mobile network experience across Canada's major provinces. We have used 5G measurements in addition to those from older generations of mobile network technology when determining the overall scores for each award category.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Canada
February 2021, Canada Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
February 2021, Canada
Video Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
February 2021, Canada
Games Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image

Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Telus
74.5
Bell
72.1
Rogers
68.5
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

National Analysis

Video Experience

Telus has won our Video Experience award for the fourth time in a row. Consistent with our last report, Telus scored 74.5 points (on a 100-point scale) to retain a Very Good rating — the operator was just 0.5 points shy of earning an Excellent rating, which is our highest possible rating for Video Experience. That said, a Very Good rating means that users generally experienced fast loading times and only occasional stalling.

Our Bell and Rogers users saw a slight decline of 0.6-0.7 points to score 72.1 and 68.5 points, respectively. Both operators’ scores place them in the Very Good category, alongside Telus.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Telus
74.5
Bell
72.1
Rogers
68.5
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

Looking at the Video Experience of users on 4G networks only, Telus once again garnered an Excellent rating, this time with a score of 75.8 points. An Excellent rating is an incredible feat; it means that all our users on Telus’ 4G network, on average, enjoyed a very consistent experience, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling across all video streaming providers and resolutions tested. Meanwhile, the 4G Video Experience of our users connected to Bell and Rogers garnered a Very Good rating with scores of 74.1 and 70.7, respectively.

Games Experience

Our users on all three networks perceived similar mobile Games Experience. All three operators were statistically tied for our Games Experience award and placed in the Fair category. This means that our Canadian users found multiplayer mobile gaming experience “average” and in most cases the game was responsive to the actions of the player with the majority of players noticing a delay between their actions and the outcomes in the game.

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Telus
73.2
Bell
72.3
Rogers
72.7
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

Opensignal’s Games Experience metric quantifies the experience when playing real-time multiplayer mobile games on mobile devices connected to servers located around the world. The approach is built on several years of research, quantifying the relationship between technical network parameters and the gaming experience as reported by real mobile users. These parameters include latency (round trip time), jitter (variability of latency) and packet loss (the proportion of data packets that never reach their destination). Additionally, it considers multiple genres of multiplayer mobile games to measure the average sensitivity to network conditions. The games tested include some of the most popular real-time multiplayer mobile games (such as Fortnite, Pro Evolution Soccer and Arena of Valor) played around the world.

Voice App Experience

Telus held on to our Voice App Experience award with a score of 80.3 points — an incremental change of 0.9 points in the past six months, which was good enough to upgrade its users’ Voice App Experience rating from Acceptable to Good. Bell and Rogers came close to challenging Telus with relatively greater improvements (1.4 points and 1.2 points). Still, both operators narrowly missed the Good rating bracket and continued to place in the Acceptable category.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Telus
80.3
Bell
79.9
Rogers
79.8
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

However, when we look at the 4G Voice App Experience of our users, all three operators achieved a Good rating. A Good Voice App Experience means that many users were satisfied, although some may have experienced minor quality impairments such as clicking sounds or distortion.

Opensignal's Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger — using a model derived from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based approach for quantifying overall voice call quality and a series of calibrated technical parameters. This model characterizes the exact relationship between the technical measurements and perceived call quality. Voice App Experience for each operator is calculated on a scale from 0 to 100.

Download Speed Experience

Our users have once again observed the highest average download speeds on Telus’ network, with an impressive Download Speed Experience of 72.8 Mbps. But, their counterparts on Bell and Rogers were the only ones who saw their download speeds improve significantly.

While our Bell users saw their average speeds grow by 1.9 Mbps to 69.3 Mbps, our Rogers users experienced a boost of 6 Mbps with speeds averaging 59.8 Mbps. Nonetheless, Telus still has a significant lead (3.4-12.9 Mbps) in Download Speed Experience, but if this trend continues, it could soon be challenged by one of its rivals.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telus
72.8
Bell
69.3
Rogers
59.8
0 18.75 37.5 56.25 75
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

When we look at Download Speed Experience by technology, the 4G Download Speed results reflected our overall scores; our Telus users saw the highest average download speeds of 77.7 Mbps, while Bell and Rogers followed behind with scores of 75.3 Mbps and 64.9 Mbps respectively.

Upload Speed Experience

We saw tight competition in Upload Speed Experience, with less than 0.8 Mbps separating all three operators. While Telus held on to our Upload Speed Experience award with a score of 11.2 Mbps, Bell and Rogers ended up in a statistical tie with a score of 10.5 Mbps and 10.4 Mbps respectively.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telus
11.2
Bell
10.5
Rogers
10.4
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

Upload speeds are becoming increasingly important in mobile services, with changing usage patterns and consumption habits. Mobile users now engage more on social media apps — creating and sharing high-resolution images and videos — and are moving away from content consumption to content creation, which gives operators with the fastest upload speeds a distinct advantage.

4G Availability

While six months ago Rogers won our 4G Availability award outright, this time Rogers shares the award with Telus. This change is due to a 0.8 percentage point rise reported by our Telus users and a 0.1 percentage point drop reported by their counterparts on Rogers since our last report. Meanwhile, Bell’s score increased by 0.4 points.

4G Availability
% of time
Telus
93.9
Bell
92.6
Rogers
94.0
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

Given the incredibly high 4G Availability scores we have seen in the past from Canadian operators and the limited headspace for improvement, these marginal improvements mark the significant efforts operators have been making to improve their networks’ availability.

4G Coverage Experience

Little has changed since our last report in terms of 4G Coverage Experience with Telus and Bell deadlocked as our joint winners in this category. Both the operators’ scores increased slightly — by 0.1 points — bringing Telus and Bell closer to a perfect score of 10. Meanwhile, Rogers’ score was 1.5 points off the same mark with our users on its network also reporting a small increase of 0.2 points since the previous report.

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
Telus
9.7
Bell
9.7
Rogers
8.5
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

Opensignal’s 4G Coverage Experience metric is a measure of how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator’s network. Measured on a scale of 0-10, it analyzes the locations where customers of a network operator received a 4G signal relative to the locations visited by users of all network operators.

Regional Analysis

In our regional analysis, we assessed how the mobile network experience varies across Canada's major provinces for the second time. Our results highlight how our users' experience on Canada's three national carriers – Bell, Rogers and Telus – compares with regional players that operate in some provinces, but not others, such as Quebec's Videotron or or Ontario’s Freedom Mobile.

In Video Experience, the national winner Telus won outright in Manitoba and Ontario, and further collected three joint wins with Bell in Alberta, Atlantic provinces and British Columbia. Meanwhile, Videotron bagged the award in Quebec, with a score of 77.5 points, which puts them in the Excellent category.

Like our national results, we saw a number of joint wins for Games Experience at the regional level in all provinces except for Quebec, where Videotron won the award outright. In our analysis of regional Voice App Experience, Telus won outright in British Columbia and collected three joint wins in a further three provinces that include Manitoba and Atlantic provinces — where we saw a three-way split between the national operators — and Ontario, where Freedom joined the national operators in a four-way split. Rogers won this category outright in Alberta.

Turning to our speed metrics, we saw something of a two-horse race between Telus and Bell. In regional Download Speed Experience Telus won outright in Ontario with a score of 74.5 Mbps, while Bell won outright in Alberta with 88 Mbps, and in the remaining regions both the operators ended up in a dead heat for first place. In Upload Speed Experience, Telus and Videotron won one award each in Ontario and Quebec, respectively, while Telus and Bell collected joint wins in the remaining regions, while also sharing the win with Rogers in Alberta.

Canadian operators also performed well in our regional analysis of 4G Availability. In Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Atlanta our 4G users connected to all national and regional operators were able to find 4G signals more than 90% of the time.

Select any region or city below to display individual breakdown

Alberta

Video Experience
in Alberta
in 0-100 points
Bell
75.7
Rogers
72.3
Telus
76.4
Freedom Mobile
73.8
Download Image
Games Experience
in Alberta
in 0-100 points
Bell
73.4
Rogers
74.0
Telus
70.7
Freedom Mobile
72.0
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Alberta
in 0-100 points
Bell
80.8
Rogers
81.9
Telus
80.7
Freedom Mobile
80.1
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Alberta
in Mbps
Bell
88.0
Rogers
79.1
Telus
77.6
Freedom Mobile
31.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Alberta
in Mbps
Bell
12.3
Rogers
12.8
Telus
12.3
Freedom Mobile
9.6
Download Image
4G Availability
in Alberta
in %
Bell
96.2
Rogers
95.7
Telus
96.3
Freedom Mobile
95.0
Download Image

Atlantic provinces

Video Experience
in Atlantic provinces
in 0-100 points
Bell
69.3
Rogers
64.4
Telus
68.4
Download Image
Games Experience
in Atlantic provinces
in 0-100 points
Bell
64.9
Rogers
60.1
Telus
66.3
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Atlantic provinces
in 0-100 points
Bell
78.1
Rogers
76.1
Telus
78.6
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Atlantic provinces
in Mbps
Bell
54.9
Rogers
42.6
Telus
60.2
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Atlantic provinces
in Mbps
Bell
9.5
Rogers
6.9
Telus
9.9
Download Image
4G Availability
in Atlantic provinces
in %
Bell
89.1
Rogers
95.0
Telus
89.4
Download Image

British Columbia

Video Experience
in British Columbia
in 0-100 points
Bell
74.6
Rogers
69.7
Telus
75.1
Freedom Mobile
72.6
Download Image
Games Experience
in British Columbia
in 0-100 points
Bell
71.9
Rogers
71.2
Telus
74.4
Freedom Mobile
71.8
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in British Columbia
in 0-100 points
Bell
79.7
Rogers
79.3
Telus
80.9
Freedom Mobile
78.6
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in British Columbia
in Mbps
Bell
74.8
Rogers
59.9
Telus
72.3
Freedom Mobile
28.1
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in British Columbia
in Mbps
Bell
10.9
Rogers
10.4
Telus
11.2
Freedom Mobile
8.0
Download Image
4G Availability
in British Columbia
in %
Bell
95.0
Rogers
94.4
Telus
95.0
Freedom Mobile
90.1
Download Image

Manitoba

Video Experience
in Manitoba
in 0-100 points
Bell
67.0
Rogers
62.0
Telus
71.9
Download Image
Games Experience
in Manitoba
in 0-100 points
Bell
66.2
Rogers
63.0
Telus
68.8
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Manitoba
in 0-100 points
Bell
80.1
Rogers
79.8
Telus
79.6
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Manitoba
in Mbps
Bell
68.3
Rogers
61.1
Telus
68.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Manitoba
in Mbps
Bell
10.7
Rogers
8.7
Telus
9.7
Download Image
4G Availability
in Manitoba
in %
Bell
84.5
Rogers
81.7
Telus
89.1
Download Image

Ontario

Video Experience
in Ontario
in 0-100 points
Bell
72.4
Rogers
69.3
Telus
74.5
Freedom Mobile
71.0
Download Image
Games Experience
in Ontario
in 0-100 points
Bell
74.1
Rogers
73.7
Telus
75.3
Freedom Mobile
74.3
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Ontario
in 0-100 points
Bell
80.2
Rogers
79.7
Telus
80.3
Freedom Mobile
80.0
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Ontario
in Mbps
Bell
68.3
Rogers
57.1
Telus
74.5
Freedom Mobile
29.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Ontario
in Mbps
Bell
10.2
Rogers
10.3
Telus
10.9
Freedom Mobile
9.1
Download Image
4G Availability
in Ontario
in %
Bell
92.7
Rogers
95.4
Telus
93.1
Freedom Mobile
90.7
Download Image

Quebec

Video Experience
in Quebec
in 0-100 points
Bell
70.9
Rogers
67.4
Telus
73.5
Videotron
77.5
Download Image
Games Experience
in Quebec
in 0-100 points
Bell
76.6
Rogers
77.3
Telus
75.9
Videotron
80.7
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Quebec
in 0-100 points
Bell
80.3
Rogers
80.5
Telus
80.2
Videotron
81.3
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Quebec
in Mbps
Bell
67.1
Rogers
61.9
Telus
69.2
Videotron
43.7
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Quebec
in Mbps
Bell
10.6
Rogers
11.3
Telus
11.0
Videotron
12.6
Download Image
4G Availability
in Quebec
in %
Bell
92.5
Rogers
92.3
Telus
92.1
Videotron
93.0
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