Canadian networks shine for mobile internet experience

India State of Mobile Networks

April 9th 2020

Bell and Telus consistently offered the best mobile experience to customers using their service, when considering results from all nationwide mobile brands. This is according to Tutela’s 2020 State of Mobile Report for Canada, which found that both networks offered subscribers a network connection suitable for a range of higher-intensity common use cases such as 1080p video streaming, HD/group video calls or online mobile gaming more than 87% of the time. Meanwhile, Telus was the fastest nationwide network in Canada with a median download speed of 32.9 Mbps. 

Tutela has evaluated 3.9 billion records in Common Coverage Areas (areas where two of the three operators offered service) across Canada, including 44 million speed tests and 541 million latency tests, collected from over 900,000 smartphones between September 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020. 


Key findings from this report include:

  • Bell and Telus provided very similar results nationwide — unsurprising, given that the operators share much of their radio infrastructure with each other. The two operators were tied for the best Excellent Consistent Quality, just 0.2% apart on Core Consistent Quality (representative of a range of low intensity use-cases such as SD video streaming, social media usage or VoIP calling), and were within 0.5 Mbps of each other for median download speed.
  • Although Bell, Telus, and Rogers remain the only three networks to boast coast-to-coast coverage, the impact of regional carriers is apparent in urban areas. Both Freedom and Videotron are competitive with the “big three” in cities where their network is present. This is particularly apparent in the network experience – although not necessarily the raw speeds – offered by these providers
  • In the six cities tested, when including performance on flanker brands in the overall results, Telus shone in Calgary with its highest Excellent Consistent Quality result recorded here – and interestingly, this was also where Rogers had its best showing with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 72.7%. Bell delivered its individual highest Excellent Consistent Quality in Montreal, where it drew with Telus for the top spot – and also excelled in Toronto where it was the sole winner

The use of ‘flanker’ brands and virtual network operators (MVNOs) has been a topic of much discussion in Canada of late; to provide more insight, Tutela also analyzed performance of the networks for solely the core brands (Rogers, Bell, and Telus), and only for subscribers with the latest smartphones. When looking at this demographic, Rogers showed considerable improvement compared to its overall results, which were significantly lowered by the impact of its prepaid flanker brand chatr. Telus still led for Excellent Consistent Quality, although the results were extremely close between all three operators, and median download speed. It drew with Rogers for Core Consistent Quality, while Rogers had the best median upload speed and latency among these top-tier consumers.

Tom Luke, VP at Tutela, said: “All Canadian operators continue to impress us with their outstanding results. For any of the operators to pull away from its competition – particularly when premium users’ experience is so close between the big three – it will take a concerted effort on truly exceptionally ultra-reliable connections, likely supported by the latest technology available, like 5G . Similarly, it will be important to ensure this advantage is experienced throughout the subscriber base. Especially in these hard times a strong and reliable mobile connection is a must - which requires affordable mobile plans that provide the best performance to Canadians across the country.“

The full report is available online here.

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