Cell Phones

Why is Telus more reliable than Bell even if they share the same towers?

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 3rd, 2020 5:57 am
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 31, 2020
6 posts
1 upvote

Why is Telus more reliable than Bell even if they share the same towers?

I read somewhere that the Telus/Koodo network is more reliable than Bell/Virgin? Why is this the case if they share the same towers? Is this the same case all over the country? I recently switched from Koodo to Virgin and hearing that the network and reception is more reliable scares me. What are your thoughts on this?
14 replies
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 2, 2010
576 posts
275 upvotes
Toronto
Mdn010 wrote: I read somewhere that the Telus/Koodo network is more reliable than Bell/Virgin? Why is this the case if they share the same towers? Is this the same case all over the country? I recently switched from Koodo to Virgin and hearing that the network and reception is more reliable scares me. What are your thoughts on this?
It is not reliability. The TELUS network is slightly faster because of their core network, i.e. what is below the antennas on a cellphone tower. This core network is separate between TELUS and Bell. The core network includes the cabling to the servers and connection to the Internet.

PCMag: Fastest Mobile Networks Canada 2019
Telus keeps winning because it shares a lot of its spectrum and towers with Bell, giving the two carriers a massive amount of shared resources. On top of that, Telus has a highly optimized core network for routing connections through the internet, which seems to have made the critical difference in some of our cities.
Koodo: Unlimited Canada Talk, World Text, 8+9 GB Data
AT&T: Unlimited talk & text in and between the U.S., Canada, & Mexico, 8+17 GB data
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
32889 posts
6501 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
Sharing the same tower gives you coverage. Reliability is due to capacity. Bell may have fewer antennas than Telus on the same tower.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 31, 2020
6 posts
1 upvote
TheNightOwl wrote: It is not reliability. The TELUS network is slightly faster because of their core network, i.e. what is below the antennas on a cellphone tower. This core network is separate between TELUS and Bell. The core network includes the cabling to the servers and connection to the Internet.

PCMag: Fastest Mobile Networks Canada 2019
Interesting. I didn't know there was a difference and didn't know it was faster. Well I'll try Virgin for a while and hope it's ok. I can always switch to Telus again in the future if they have good deals. But I do like the member benefits and the good deal of 50 bucks for 9gb of data with no activation fees with Virgin. So I'll stick with them for a while at least. It's a shame it's slower than Telus though, I didn't know that.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 2, 2010
576 posts
275 upvotes
Toronto
Gee wrote: Bell may have fewer antennas than Telus on the same tower.
Bell towers only have Bell antennas. TELUS towers only have TELUS antennas. Due to RAN sharing, TELUS, Bell, Koodo, Virgin, Public and Lucky customers have equal access to TELUS or Bell towers.
Koodo: Unlimited Canada Talk, World Text, 8+9 GB Data
AT&T: Unlimited talk & text in and between the U.S., Canada, & Mexico, 8+17 GB data
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 2, 2010
576 posts
275 upvotes
Toronto
Mdn010 wrote: Interesting. I didn't know there was a difference and didn't know it was faster. ... It's a shame it's slower than Telus though, I didn't know that.
As I said, TELUS is only slightly faster. Across Canada last year, TELUS' average download speed was 242.11 Mbps vs Bell at 227.81. Are you really going to notice a difference?
Koodo: Unlimited Canada Talk, World Text, 8+9 GB Data
AT&T: Unlimited talk & text in and between the U.S., Canada, & Mexico, 8+17 GB data
Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2011
984 posts
162 upvotes
YYZ
from what I heard from a Koodo technical senior agent in Calgary, Koodo/Virgin dont have priority access to the towers. They will connect and all but Bell/Telus will get priority first. This is why according to him you might get calls not connecting or dropped calls if there is a load on the tower you are connected too. I dont know if it is true or not
Jr. Member
Feb 29, 2020
130 posts
24 upvotes
Sorry but I don’t buy that...
TheNightOwl wrote: As I said, TELUS is only slightly faster. Across Canada last year, TELUS' average download speed was 242.11 Mbps vs Bell at 227.81. Are you really going to notice a difference?
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 2, 2010
576 posts
275 upvotes
Toronto
DeJesus wrote: Sorry but I don’t buy that...
Look at the link I posted. PCMag 'travelled Canada from coast to coast, testing mobile data speeds in 29 cities to determine the nation's fastest carrier.'
Koodo: Unlimited Canada Talk, World Text, 8+9 GB Data
AT&T: Unlimited talk & text in and between the U.S., Canada, & Mexico, 8+17 GB data
Deal Addict
Aug 15, 2009
1066 posts
760 upvotes
Montreal
bas00m wrote: from what I heard from a Koodo technical senior agent in Calgary, Koodo/Virgin dont have priority access to the towers. They will connect and all but Bell/Telus will get priority first. This is why according to him you might get calls not connecting or dropped calls if there is a load on the tower you are connected too. I dont know if it is true or not
The guy is full of s...

Telus or Koodo it's the same. They may restrict download speeds but they can't cut someone to call...
Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2011
984 posts
162 upvotes
YYZ
elpaso wrote: The guy is full of s...

Telus or Koodo it's the same. They may restrict download speeds but they can't cut someone to call...
When I told him something similar he said that the tower gives priority to telus customers and then 2nd tier.
Deal Addict
Aug 15, 2009
1066 posts
760 upvotes
Montreal
bas00m wrote: When I told him something similar he said that the tower gives priority to telus customers and then 2nd tier.
Well don't believe the guy.... Telus same for any carriers, monitoring network/stats are part of everyday analysis and if to much dropped calls, it's bad for the image of the company and internal performance review. It goes way up to why this is happening.

Take his word with a grain of salt. I can't believe an employee said that. He should be reprimanded.
Newbie
Feb 24, 2017
25 posts
10 upvotes
elpaso wrote: Well don't believe the guy.... Telus same for any carriers, monitoring network/stats are part of everyday analysis and if to much dropped calls, it's bad for the image of the company and internal performance review. It goes way up to why this is happening.

Take his word with a grain of salt. I can't believe an employee said that. He should be reprimanded.
The employee was likely correct. To those saying this kind of thing doesn't happen, it absolutely does. In Canada it's rare that it gets applied because we have relatively little network congestion, but in the U.S. this is a regular occurrence. Network priority is usually given in order to:

- branded postpaid customers (Rogers/Telus/Bell)
- branded prepaid customers
- premium flanker brand postpaid (Fido/Koodo/Virgin)
- premium flanker brand prepaid
- discount flanker brand postpaid (no such thing in Canada at this time)
- discount flanker brand prepaid (Chatr/PM/Lucky)
- wholesale customers (7-11 Speakout, Petro Canada mobile, etc.)

I had the experience of roaming in Las Vegas during CES (I was there to report on the event for Mobilesyrup) with a T-Mobile prepaid SIM, and a Roam Mobility SIM (which roamed on T-Mobile). Even when signal was very strong, I would run into situations where Roam Mobility didn't work well (or at all) for calls and data (but texts were usually fine). Roam Mobility was at the bottom of the network priority heap, as they were reselling wholesale service. T-Mobile prepaid, which is second in the priority queue, always worked flawlessly even when Roam didn't.

This doesn't come up much in Canada because we have a small number of carriers who are rich in spectrum. But if there were network congestion for some reason, do you really think Telus will give the same priority to a Telus postpaid subscriber paying $75 a month and a Public Mobile prepaid customers paying $25 a month?

So it's likely true that Telus subscribers have higher network priority than Koodo, who have higher network priority than PM. Ditto Rogers/Fido/Chatr. Ditto Bell/Virgin/Lucky. The people saying otherwise need to realize that they're suggesting that, for some reason, the Canadian carriers do not follow this common global industry-wide practice. I'm not prepared to believe that without evidence.
Newbie
Feb 24, 2017
25 posts
10 upvotes
elpaso wrote: The guy is full of s...

Telus or Koodo it's the same. They may restrict download speeds but they can't cut someone to call...
It's less about cutting someone's call, and more the call refusing to connect in the first place. This only matters when there's network congestion, and the network is having to triage. Different carriers take slightly different tacks (for example, T-Mobile gives higher priority to branded postpaid than it does branded prepaid, whereas last I checked AT&T gives equal priority to branded postpaid and prepaid), but there's always SOME kind of hierarchy.

Do you believe a Chatr customer is just as likely to have their data work when the network is congested as a Rogers postpaid customers? I believe the Rogers customer will not only get better speeds, but is more likely to have it work at all. Do you believe a Freedom Mobile customer roaming on Rogers has an equal chance of placing a call as a Rogers postpaid customers if there's network congestion? I don't. It's industry standard practice globally to play favourites depending on how valuable the customer is.

Top