Canada

5G Experience Report
August 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

Rogers emerges as the early leader in Canadian 5G experience

In our first look at Canada’s 5G network experience, we saw joint winners across all categories. But our latest analysis shows that one operator has emerged as the early market leader. Rogers has pulled ahead of the pack in the 5G race and wins four out of seven 5G awards outright and is also part of a three-way joint win in 5G Upload Speed Experience.

Rogers breaks through the three-way statistical ties to win the 5G Availability and 5G Reach award

Out of the three national Canadian carriers, our users on Rogers saw greater 5G Availability and 5G Reach than in our last report in April. As a result, Rogers wins both the 5G Availability and 5G Reach awards. Opensignal's measure of 5G Availability reflects the proportion of time that 5G users have an active 5G connection, while 5G Reach represents the proportion of locations a 5G user visits that have a 5G signal.

Rogers wins 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience awards outright

In our last report, Rogers tied with Bell in the 5G Games Experience award and with Telus for the 5G Voice App Experience award. However, this time Rogers is the sole winner of both these awards and is now the only operator to place in the Excellent rating bracket for 5G Games Experience with a score of 86.2 points. An Excellent rating (85 or above) means that the vast majority of our users found the multiplayer mobile gaming experience acceptable on 5G connections, and nearly all respondents felt like they had control over the game and they received immediate feedback on their actions.

Bell and Telus users, on average, enjoy the fastest 5G Download Speeds in Canada

For the second time in a row, Bell and Telus jointly win Opensignal's award for 5G Download Speed Experience with statistically tied scores. Our users on Bell and Telus observed average 5G download speeds of 174.8 Mbps and 168.4 Mbps, respectively — 63.2-69.7 Mbps faster than those on Rogers. Our Bell and Telus users' average 5G Download Speed have increased by 8.6 Mbps and 2.8 Mbps, respectively, compared to our previous 5G report just three months ago.

Rogers wins a close run race for the 5G Voice App Experience award

All three carriers' scores were closely matched for Opensignal's 5G Voice App Experience, with the highest and the lowest scores separated by a narrow margin of just 1.5 points. Rogers secured an outright win in 5G Voice App Experience with a score of 84.1 points on our 100-point scale, followed by Telus and Bell with 82.9 points and 82.6 points, respectively. All three carriers earned a Good (80-87) rating for 5G Voice App Experience.

Bell and Telus hold on to the 5G Video Experience award with an Excellent rating

Once again, Bell and Telus win Opensignal's 5G Video Experience award in Canada with statistically tied scores of 78 points and 80 points (on the 100-point scale), respectively, placing them in the Excellent (75 or above) category. Rogers trailed behind with a score of 74.8 points, placing in the Very Good (65-75) category — down from Excellent. 5G Video Experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over carriers' 5G networks.

Introduction

Last month, Canada successfully completed a 5G spectrum auction in the much-coveted 3.5 GHz mid-band, which offered a total of 200 MHz of new spectrum capacity, including 50 MHz set aside for smaller players. The auction attracted a total of C$8.91 billion (∼$7.2 billion) in winning bids, with Bell, Rogers and Telus walking away with roughly 80% of the offering. Rogers was the biggest spender, with total bids of C$3.33 billion for 325 licenses which covers 169 out of 172 regions. Bell was the next highest bidder — 271 licenses for a total of C$2.07 billion. Telus spent C$1.95 billion for 142 licenses. Shaw opted out of this auction probably because it is in the process of merging with Rogers, while Videotron and Xplornet grabbed most of the remaining licenses.

ISED earlier stated that “the 3500 MHz auctions increased spectrum holdings of small and regional providers by over 50% across the country” The Government of Canada has taken this key step to encourage competition, improve rural connectivity and ensure the effective deployment of 5G technologies.

The use of 3.5 GHz spectrum band for 5G in Canada should help Canada’s carriers to accelerate the 5G experience. Previously Canadian carriers have been limited in the amount of new spectrum that is usable for 5G and often deployed 5G in lower bands. However, Canadians will likely need to wait a few months before operators start using the newly acquired spectrum.

In this latest 5G Experience report, we analyzed our users' overall 5G experience in Canada on each of the three nationwide carriers, Telus, Bell and Rogers, over 90 days starting on April 1, 2021, ending June 29, 2021. Unlike our previous report, when none of the award categories was won outright, Rogers claims four out of seven awards this time — 5G Availability, 5G Reach, 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience — and jointly wins 5G Upload Experience where we saw a three-way split.

Opensignal Awards Table

5G Mobile Experience Awards, Canada
August 2021, Canada Report
5G Availability
5G Reach
5G Video Experience
5G Games Experience
5G Voice App Experience
5G Download Speed
5G Upload Speed
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
August 2021, Canada
5G Availability
5G Reach
5G Games Experience
5G Voice App Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
August 2021, Canada
5G Video Experience
5G Download Speed
5G Upload Speed
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
5G Availability
in %
Bell
8.5
Rogers
11.1
Telus
7.2
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

5G Availability

Rogers is the first outright winner of Opensignal's 5G Availability award in Canada. Our Rogers users connected to 5G 11.1% of the time — a 2.8 percentage point increase from 8.3% since the last 5G Experience report when it was statistically tied with Bell and Telus. In contrast, Bell and Telus’ scores declined very slightly by 0.3 and 0.9 percentage points, respectively, with our users spending 8.5% to 7.2% of their time connected to 5G likely because of seasonality — availability measures in Canada normally dip in summers — or due to a small blip at this early stage in the 5G market.

Opensignal's 5G Availability compares the amount of time 5G users spend connected to 5G — the higher the percentage, the more time users on a network are actually connected to 5G.

5G Availability
in %
Bell
8.5
Rogers
11.1
Telus
7.2
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Reach

Rogers wins our 5G Reach award with a score of four points on a 10-point scale, resulting from an improvement of 0.9 points since our previous 5G report. Bell and Telus statistically tie for second place with two scores of 2.7 points.

5G Reach
in 0-10 points
Bell
2.7
Rogers
4.0
Telus
2.7
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Reach represents the proportion of locations where 5G users have connected to 5G out of all the locations those users have visited, on a scale of 0-10. This measure complements our existing 5G Availability metric, which represents the proportion of time 5G users spend connected to 5G.

5G Video Experience

Telus and Bell are the joint winners of the 5G Video Experience award, as both the operators are statistically tied with scores in the Excellent (75 or above) category. Our users on both networks reported a decline of 1.8-2.8 points, while those on Rogers reported a drop of 0.3 points since our last report. This change was enough to put the Video Experience of our Rogers' users in the Very Good (65-75) category — down from Excellent.

Opensignal measures 5G Video Experience using real video streaming tests to the typical content delivery networks used to host popular media services and websites. An Excellent rating represents a very consistent experience across all users on 5G connections, video streaming providers and resolutions tested, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling.

5G Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Bell
78.0
Rogers
74.8
Telus
80.0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Games Experience

Rogers wins the 5G Games Experience award with a score of 86.2 points on a 100-point scale, more than two points ahead of Bell and Telus' scores of 82.9 points and 84 points, respectively. While our Rogers users saw their average score dip by 0.8 points since our last 5G report, our Bell users experienced a greater decline of 2.5 points. As a result, Rogers broke its statistical tie with Bell from our previous report and is now the only operator with scores in the Excellent category. Bell's score now places it in the Good (75-85) category, alongside Telus.

5G Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Bell
82.9
Rogers
86.2
Telus
84.0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

5G Games Experience quantifies the experience when playing real-time multiplayer mobile games on mobile devices connected to a 5G network. An Excellent rating means that the vast majority of our users found the multiplayer mobile gaming experience acceptable, and nearly all respondents felt like they had control over the game and they received immediate feedback on their actions. There was not a noticeable delay in almost all cases.

5G Voice App Experience

Since our last 5G report on Canada, all three operators' 5G Voice App Experience scores have diminished slightly — between 0.5 points on Telus and 0.2 points on Bell. Consequently, Rogers is now the sole winner of our 5G Voice App Experience award, which it shared with Telus last time around, with a score of 84.1 points. Bell and Telus trail closely with statistically tied scores of 82.6 and 82.9, respectively.

Opensignal's 5G Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger etc. — when users are connected to a 5G network. All three mobile operators scored in the Good category (80-87 points), which means that many users were satisfied, although some experienced minor quality impairments, with clicking sounds or distortions, which were very occasionally present.

5G Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Bell
82.6
Rogers
84.1
Telus
82.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Download Speed

Bell and Telus are once again the joint winners of the 5G Download Speed Experience award. Our users on both the networks saw their average 5G download speeds improve — by 8.6 Mbps to 174.8 Mbps on Bell and by 2.8 Mbps on to 168.4 Mbps on Telus — since our previous report, while those observed by Rogers users fell by 1 Mbps to 105.1 Mbps.

5G Download Speed
in Mbps
Bell
174.8
Rogers
105.1
Telus
168.4
0 43.75 87.5 131.25 175
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Upload Speed

Once again, Bell, Telus and Rogers are joint winners of the 5G Upload Speed Experience award due to a three-way statistical tie. Since our last report in April, our users’ average 5G upload speeds on Bell and Rogers has grown fractionally — by 0.5 Mbps and 0.7 Mbps, respectively — while those on Telus’ network saw a dip of 0.4 points.

Upload speed is becoming an increasingly important aspect of mobile network experience, as it affects how quickly and conveniently mobile users can share large files, such as photos or videos, to social media services or as email attachments.

5G Upload Speed
in Mbps
Bell
19.6
Rogers
19.5
Telus
18.8
0 5 10 15 20
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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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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