Our preliminary test findings demonstrate that the new 3500MHz 5G system is significantly increasing data speeds in Toronto, making Rogers a speed-competitive carrier for the first time in years.
We’re just getting started with a drive test across the whole of Canada to evaluate how well 3500MHz works there. Users of newer Samsung Galaxy S models or iPhones from Rogers, Bell, and Telus, as well as those with latest iPhones, can currently access the spectrum.
In Toronto, we conducted a day’s worth of initial testing, and we discovered that 3500MHz alters the dynamic. The system may more than double 5G performance, and the top Canadian 3500MHz speeds are faster than any US mid-band network.
Not precisely apples to apples, this graphic. Bell drove me to the finest test locations whereas Rogers simply provided me a coverage map and instructed me to explore on my own. But even without visiting the very best websites, Rogers’ performance in 2021 increased significantly. The two 2021 outcomes displayed are from the period of our drive-tests.
I encountered 3500MHz in a series of tests while strolling along Queen Street through Leslieville, but it appears that Rogers’ coverage map is mainly accurate.
When the new spectrum was turned on, we had 249Mbps down on Rogers in a heavily populated downtown area (near Front and York Streets); when it was turned off, speeds fell to about 70Mbps down.
Bell, meanwhile, has more mid-band spectrum than Rogers since it combines its 60 MHz with Telus’ 20 MHz for a total of 80 MHz. I performed a speed test on Bell’s network and saw an amazing 1,648Mbps, which is much faster than anything we observed during our statewide driving test of T-network Mobile’s in the US.
On Bell’s network, I saw latencies of 19–23ms with speeds of 785–957Mbps down and 77–82Mbps up at the intersection of Yonge and Lawrence.
Both sets of outcomes are superior than what we observed during our Toronto drive testing last year. Bell reached its maximum speed of 788Mbps and averaged 331Mbps down during the drive test last year. Rogers had a 165Mb average and a 459Mb maximum.
On the day of our testing, Bell’s coverage map wasn’t yet accessible, but we were still able to transition a device from 3500MHz to the previous version of 5G and subsequently to 4G in the same place.
Speeds dropped from 1648 Mbps down and 116 Mbps up with 3500 MHz 5G to 858 Mbps down and 82 Mbps up with “normal” 5G and 879 Mbps down and 54 Mbps up with 4G LTE after doing this.
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Fast 5G is Rapidly Expanding in Canada Image
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Yes, the “normal” 5G and 4G LTE speeds were about equivalent, demonstrating how revolutionary 3500MHz is. Bell’s previous strategy for 5G generally consisted of moving some existing 4G airwaves around and writing “5G” on them; this gave you the icon but not much additional performance. However, the performance is much better now.
The additional mid-band bandwidth of Verizon and T-Mobile in the US has caused a significant expansion of their wireless home ISP services. Bell and Rogers haven’t paid much attention to it up to this point, but I anticipate that Sasktel, Xplornet, and TBayTel, among others, will eventually use their 3500MHz to beam residential internet to new users.
Next week, we will begin a Fastest Mobile Networks Canada road trip where we will test the new technologies.