Canada wants to be a leader in the wireless industry and the Government has pushed that agenda for the past few years, because they know that in order to attract businesses to Canada, they have to have a strong internet and wireless infrastructure. Despite their best efforts to foster competitiveness among the carriers by trying to encourage another large carrier to form, Canada has what is referred to as the ‘Big Three.’ The Big Three include Bell, Rogers and Telus and these are the companies that have the money and largest networks and are subsequently the normal competitors in comparison tests – much Like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are in the United States.
Canada represents a unique mobile market – while its land mass is huge, its population is relatively small at just 35.6 million and most of that population are nestled around large cities concentrated in the southern regions near the U.S. border. Because of Canada’s geographics with its rugged terrain, there are ten mobile operators servicing those tucked away areas and the Big Three nationwide providers have some of the most sophisticated 4G networks in the world while embracing LTE-Advance. However, even some of the regional carriers have some of the world’s fastest 4G networks. Although OpenSignal does point out that subscriber costs are quite high, they also point out that “Canada already has some of the highest performing networks in the world and they only seem to be improving.”
OpenSignal points out that while some of the regional operators produced outstanding results that this study focus primarily on the Big Three – Bell, Rogers and Telus – since they control 90-percent of all mobile communications in Canada. Even among the Big Three, the performance levels are quite similar, some of which could be attributed to Canada’s prevalence to network-sharing agreements. While Rogers has deals with regional carriers, Bell and Telus share towers and infrastructure with one another. All three are aggressively upgrading and rolling out LTE-Advance enhancements – well ahead of the U.S. carriers.
To summarize several of the items that were tested – When it comes to the length of time LTE subscribers on each network have access to 4G LTE coverage, Rogers wins with Telus slightly ahead of Bell. When it comes to 3G download speeds, Bell wins with Telus in second, edging out Rogers. When it comes to 4G download speeds, Bell wins with Rogers slightly edging out Telus. The 3G Latency award goes to Bell while Telus grabs the second spot and Rogers lands in third place. When we look at 4G Latency speeds, Bell and Rogers share the top spot and Telus takes second place. After adding up all of the wins (as the graph shows below), Bell grabs four wins, Rogers nabs three and Telus does not land even one win. This substantiates an earlier study this month by RootMetrics where they also chose Bell as the overall winner.