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Canada’s LTE wireless speeds ranked

Want to download something fast? A new report has released average LTE wireless speeds in Canada, and its results may come as a surprise.

U.K.-based Open Signal reports that regional carriers Videotron and SaskTel had the top average speeds in the country between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2015. Average speeds on those two high-speed LTE networks was greater than 27 megabits per second (Mbps), and Open Signal called the results “impressive” in its latest State of Mobile Networks report for Canada.

Open Signal makes an app that measures wireless download speeds to help smartphone users locate a better wireless signal or provide evidence for complaints about their wireless service. It generates data for its report by automatically measuring the download speeds of users who have installed its app several times a day. In Canada, that included 27 million data points from more than 15,600 users.

Telus, Bell and Rogers, the three carriers with 90 per cent of the Canadian market, were measured as being slower than SaskTel and Videotron. They all averaged more than 17 Mbps, according to the report. “Bell, however, edged out its rivals with an average speed of 19.9 Mbps.”

But it’s not fair to compare the speeds of those national carriers with smaller carriers likes SaskTel, which operates only in Saskatchewan, and Videotron, which operates only in Quebec, said Jasmin Schawalder, marketing and PR director, OpenSignal.

“They can focus on a much smaller area and be really strong there,” she said in a phone interview. “But if you’re a national operator, especially in a country like Canada where you need to cover very remote places, your overall score might not be that high. It’s kind of like comparing apples to pears.”

All average speeds measured by Open Signal are much slower than advertised speeds. Bell may have the fastest LTE speeds among the Big 3, but 19.9 Mbps is still much slower than the 4G speeds of up to 42 Mbps and LTE speeds of up to 150 Mbps it advertises on its website.

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