New 5G services boost carrier speeds, but haven’t cut costs yet

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Canada’s 5G network speeds are on the rise thanks to new 5G services, but the technology has yet to impact prices, says PCMag.

In his Fastest mobile networks in Canada 2022 report, PCMag ankle Bell as the big carrier network winner, attributing its lead to its extensive network development efforts in southern Ontario and its new 5G services using 3,500 MHz midband radio waves.

Bell is the big winner in PCMag’s 2022 Carrier Network Report. Source: PC Mag

According to the report, Bell beat out the other two major Canadian carriers, roger and Telus, in 22 of the 31 areas tested. And with a peak measured download speed of 1,373.7 Mbps and an average upload speed of 300.4 Mbps, it edges out runner-up Rogers by a wide margin.

Rogers has also rolled out standalone 5G services on the new band, which it calls 5G, 3,500 MHz to differentiate it from older-generation 5G services that relied on a 4G backhaul network. Like Bell, its speeds have been boosted by its faster 5G network. In PCMagIn Rogers’ tests, Rogers achieved an admirable peak of 944 Mbps and an average of 244.1 Mbps.

Rogers’ network speeds have increased significantly due to its new 5G version. Source: PC Mag

Telus, on the other hand, still has some issues to work out. The company has its new 5G network ready, but does not yet have enabling firmware updates for customers’ Android devices that will allow them to connect to the service. In addition, PCMag pointed out that it is the only major carrier to introduce a speed cap, set at 1 Gbps for its premium plans.

Related: Rogers launches its standalone 5G network, but it needs certified phones to work

Currently, the major carriers are slipping away in their deployment progress. Rogers is currently focusing on Montreal and British Columbia, while Bell has gone straight to the more populated areas of southern Ontario, including Toronto. Both operators have promised to expand their 5G services across Canada.

And it’s not just the urban provinces that are experiencing the fastest speeds. Less populated provinces like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia also showed big jumps in speed. Still, some rural areas may have to wait a bit longer to see these improvements, as spectrum licenses are released in phases, with urban centers taking priority.

5G is widening the speed gap between 4G-only carriers. Source: PC Mag

Finally, despite the benefits brought by 5G, operators have not yet lowered prices. Despite capacity increases, new 5G service is currently limited to premium plans, which are often more expensive than 4G plans. It is also excluded from spin-off brands from carriers like Fido, Virgin and Koodo, which primarily provide 4G services.

But 4G services in Canada still provide great experiences. While 5G service rollouts are in full swing in Canada, consumer use cases have yet to catch up. Higher speeds and lower latency enable smoother streaming and gaming experiences, but the promised future, filled with remote surgeries, drones and distance education, has yet to be realized.

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