TORONTO — Canada’s mobile data networks are notoriously pricey, but they’re faster than their North American peers’ and among the speediest in the world, suggests OpenSignal data released Wednesday.
The wireless monitoring firm pegged Canada as having the 12th fastest mobile data speeds in a ranking of 87 countries with an overall speed of 20.26 Mbps, making it the only country in the Americas to crack average speeds of 20 Mbps.
The report is based on 19 million data samples collected between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31 from more than 1 million users who tested speeds through OpenSignal’s app. OpenSignal averages all speeds regardless of whether a person is using a 3G connection in a rural area or an LTE-advanced connection in a metropolis.
“We feel that measurement paints a more holistic picture of the typical mobile data experience as it factors in not only the performance of different types of networks, but the amount of access customers have to each of them,” the report stated.
South Korea won top spot with average speeds of 37.54 Mbps, followed by Norway, Hungary, Singapore and Australia. The U.S. placed 36th with speeds of 12.48 Mbps.
The report is in line with PCMag data released last summer that found Canada’s networks were faster and more reliable than in the United States. OpenSignal, however, reported slower speeds than PCMag since its data comes from across the country, not just 20 major cities.
OpenSignal also noted that Canadians were among the most likely to connect to WiFi rather than use cellular data during the tests. Canada landed in fourth spot for time spent on WiFi as they were connected to it during 61 per cent of tests.
The report did not delve into why Canadians prefer WiFi, but recent reports indicate that Canadians pay steep prices for cellular data. In December, Swedish analytics firm Tefficient reported that a single gigabyte of data cost the most in Canada compared with 30 countries across Europe, North America and Asia.
Last summer, Canada’s telecom watchdog reported that residents pay more for wireless services than consumers in other G7 countries and Australia.
Wireless providers justify the high prices by citing network quality and the infrastructure investments needed to maintain faster speeds.