Cell Phones

Bell versus Rogers network performance under high demand

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  • Dec 22nd, 2020 10:07 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 4, 2017
597 posts
279 upvotes

Bell versus Rogers network performance under high demand

Today's rush of holiday shopping traffic certainly is bringing out the differences in mobile networks. I have one phone on Bell (PC Mobility) and a backup on Rogers (Fido). I have switched that in the last few days just out of interest.

Can you guess which one is having many moments of slow performance lately? Yes, Rogers. Sometimes it just slowly paints a web page, one image at a time. But then it's passable within a minute or two, too quickly for me to get a speed test showing the bit rate. I have not noticed any such uneven performance on Bell. I'm sure that Bell is slowing somewhat in a non-visible way, but not to a few kilobits per second. It's like the old days of Rogers 3G rush-hour flakiness never really left.
5 replies
Sr. Member
Dec 6, 2020
679 posts
721 upvotes
I'm curious if you'd have different results if you were signed up with Rogers core brand (or a Rogers MVNO) rather than via Fido. There are indications that Rogers degrades service for Fido customers and your experiences may be reflective of that.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 4, 2017
597 posts
279 upvotes
middleofnowhere wrote: I'm curious if you'd have different results if you were signed up with Rogers core brand (or a Rogers MVNO) rather than via Fido. There are indications that Rogers degrades service for Fido customers and your experiences may be reflective of that.
I have seen that on occasion, including very recently. But each time, when it comes to displaying consistent objective evidence, every claim seems to come up short on both showing an effect and eliminating other causes.

The problem with intermittent and brief drops in performance is that you'd need a special app that will frequently sample performance in order to catch the drops and how severe they are. Manually running benchmarks is a challenging way to catch it in action.

In the early days of HSPA in Canada, it was a bit easier to spot because throughput would completely stall (not just slow down) on Rogers. I saw an article explaining why: in order to maintain compatibility with 2G GSM, Rogers continued using the older SMS control subchannel that was originally for call control. So, with the rise of SMS, it didn't take a lot of traffic for SMS to block call initiation. I don't remember how it affected data. But Bell/Telus started with 3G using fully dynamic protocols. I expect that there were more reasons behind the scenes, and I'm going from memory of someone else' technical explanation, but the net effect is that Rogers would become nearly useless with even moderate traffic while Bell/Telus would not bog down until things became severe. I'm seeing a parallel to that lately with LTE data speeds.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 2, 2010
680 posts
360 upvotes
Toronto
Well, Rogers LTE pipes are smaller compared to the Bell/TELUS network.

The best combination of bands in the Greater Toronto Area for Carrier Aggregation on Rogers I've seen on my Samsung Galaxy S9 is bands 2 (15 MHz) + 4 (15 MHz) + 7 (20 MHz) + 12 (10 MHz) for a total of 60 MHz of bandwidth.

When my Samsung Galaxy S9 was on Koodo and then TELUS, the best I saw was bands 2 (20 MHz) + 4 (15 MHz) + 7 2850 (20 MHz) + 7 3350 (20 MHz) for a total of 75 MHz.

A Bell cellular engineer in May this year confirmed those are the best combinations for the Big 3 in the GTA.
TELUS: Unlimited 25 $37.50/25GB x 2 (50 GB pooled data)
Koodo: Unlimited Canada Talk, World Text, 8+9 GB Data
AT&T Prepaid Unlimited Plus: Unlimited talk & text in and between the U.S., Canada, & Mexico, ?? GB data
Deal Addict
Apr 13, 2005
1511 posts
1496 upvotes
Markham, ON
There's a reason Rogers finishes consistently 3rd behind TELUS and Bell for their data speeds for the past 4-5 years.

TELUS and Bell networks are superior, thus you will get better speeds OVERALL. Obviously some spots Rogers will be great while TELUS and Bell will be shit.
Deal Addict
Jun 21, 2011
1124 posts
208 upvotes
YYZ
Bellus is the best for network/speed/connection (voice)

Rogers is 2nd

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