PC Mag Comes to Canada

PC Mag & Canadian Flag

If you missed this story in yesterday’s news round-up, PC Magazine visited thirteen cities across Canada to test our mobile networks for some reason. They did a similar road trip across the U.S. for the same purpose; maybe we’re the next round in a planned worldwide smack-down? At any rate, it’s an exhaustive and well-written piece that’s definitely worth checking out.

But since you’re already reading this, here are some highlights…

First, the fastest networks in the thirteen tested locales, with direct links back to the respective pages on PC Mag:

Obviously these are aggregated results, and may not apply to your specific neighbourhood. In my personal experience Rogers has provided the fastest data speeds in Toronto’s downtown core, but Bell’s LTE seems quicker in the parts of Scarborough that I frequent. And in Hamilton this past summer my lowly HSPA+ data speeds on Koodo proved better than Rogers LTE.

Lest you think that they’ve ignored the little guys, they haven’t. This page features a discussion of this country’s upstart carriers and regional players. There are some really good quotes here that highlight the mess we’re in when it comes to choice…

The lack of competition is felt most intensely in Canada’s largest metro area, Toronto. While WIND provided decently competitive service in our Calgary and Edmonton tests, for example, it delivered shaky results in the GTA, leaving Torontonians mostly at the mercy of the higher-rate providers.

Exactly right. I hated leaving WIND, but the awful upload speeds got to be too much.

Public Mobile, meanwhile, has spectrum so narrow and a technology so old that it’s practically unusable for data. Mobilicity is in a tailspin and is looking to toss its customers over to WIND.

Any Public Mobile customers care to comment on that claim?

The Big Three’s rates are close to AT&T’s and Verizon’s rates in the United States, but there’s no Canadian equivalent of Sprint and T-Mobile, value-focused national providers who help keep rates down and data caps up.

Nailed it.

Oh, and if you were wondering, Rogers got the nod as the overall national winner. It makes sense — switching to GSM-based service in 2002 and then buying up Fido in 2004 gave them a clear advantage over the other carriers. I write this as someone who’s been enjoying the benefits of a SIM card since the year 2000, and I’m grateful that the iPhone finally got all of our carriers using the same technology.

Kudos to PC Mag for doing Canada a great service with this article. I actually think that the best quote of all is in the byline to the piece:

We found that mobile data is blazing fast, but it could stand to be a little more affordable.

Bit of an understatement, that. 😉